Okay, the first draft is written, though I’m going to go back and revise a little before I let anyone else see it.
It runs twenty chapters — well, nineteen and a half, really, because Chapter Twenty is just a couple of pages long. It’s 60,300 words. That means the final draft will probably be pretty close to the same length as the original Nightside City.
I’ll be sending donors who asked to receive the chapters as they’re written a single file of Chapters Sixteen through Twenty some time this week. I’ll also be sending them a small file of the notes I’ve written to myself about what needs to get done in rewrite, as a sort of extra glimpse into the project.
There are two obvious questions about where we go from here: What’s going to happen with the web serial? What’s the schedule for the finished book?
The web serial will continue as money continues to trickle in; I have some hope that it will be completed eventually. I’m about halfway to posting Chapter Thirteen. Chapter Twenty will be a freebie, included with Chapter Nineteen; it’s too short to require full price. That means my total take for the serial will be about $4,500 gross; since I need to pay for copies for donors out of that, the net will be much less. This is why serials are a relatively low priority for me; it’s just not a cost-effective use of my writing time.
If the serial is never completed, well, that’s just too bad.
As for turning the first draft into a finished book, it’s going to be a spare-time project for me, but I will get a final draft done some time in 2010. FoxAcre Press intends to publish it, though we don’t actually have a signed contract yet — we have a fairly detailed verbal agreement. I can’t speak for FoxAcre as to when the finished book will be available, but I can and do promise that it will be printed and mailed to donors before it’s offered to the general public, and that if I do put together an accompanying pamphlet about designing the Eta Cassiopeia system, it will only be available to donors to the serial.
It’s been suggested that FoxAcre might do a combined edition of Nightside City and Realms of Light in a single volume; the publisher has turned that idea down. However, donors who don’t already have a copy of Nightside City and want one should contact me by e-mail; we can arrange something, though it won’t be an omnibus volume.
Now, regarding future serials: I’ll start a new Ethshar story sometime in 2010. I don’t know when. It will probably be The Final Calling, but that’s not 100% certain — if I develop a sudden wild enthusiasm for The Sorcerer’s Widow or Azraya of Ethshar or A Feather from Her Wing or At the Sign of the Crimson Wolf, I’ll do that instead. (I don’t think there are any contenders other than those five.)
If it is The Final Calling, it will start with a short story, “The Warlock’s Refuge,” which will be posted as a teaser instead of Chapter One — the story will eventually be either a prologue or Chapter One, but it will also a complete story in its own right. No, I haven’t written it yet; it’s just an outline so far.
There may be other, non-Ethshar serials as well, depending how my career is going elsewhere and how productive my writing time is, but I’m not going to try doing any more sequels to twenty-year-old novels. This means The Exile and the Empire is not going to happen. Probably just as well, as the outline’s awfully skimpy and I’ve forgotten a lot of stuff I never bothered to write down. Silver Stars is right out, too.
I don’t expect to do much of anything on any serials for the last two months of 2009; I need to focus on more lucrative work for awhile, and of course the holidays are a big distraction.
So — there you go. Comments and questions are very welcome.