Work in Progress: The Whispering Bandit/An Interrupted Betrothal

Progress report:

Last time looked at: 5/31/18

Last actual wordage added: 5/31/18

Pages added, 5/31/18: 2

Current page count: 17 or 16, depending.

Estimated final page count: 16 for “An Interrupted Betrothal,” don’t know for “The Whispering Bandit.”

Original Deadline: June 1.

Comments: So here’s what happened.

I looked at how “The Whispering Bandit” was going, and at the 9,000-word maximum for the anthology I was aiming at, and saw a pretty severe mismatch. Four thousand words in I hadn’t even gotten to the cat-and-mouse romance at the heart of the story — hadn’t even brought the male lead on stage, though he’d been mentioned. This was just not going to work. Oh, the story is still viable, but it apparently wants to be a novella, or possibly even a short novel, and I had a June 1 anthology deadline with a 9,000-word maximum.

So I re-thought the entire thing, and started over, compressing the plot, stripping it down to its core.

It was moved from the Bound Lands setting to a new, not very detailed one, allowing me to ignore pre-established geography and use magic that doesn’t fit the Bound Land rules. Lady Malzin became Riassa ter-Vallez. Errilsa became Lady Avinna. Two male characters were collapsed into one and brought on stage on page 1, instead of later. The ambush sequence was transformed, moved from a highway to an audience chamber and changed from an actual ambush to a staged confrontation, and it was made the new opening. The old opening scene was eliminated, its essential elements now either implied rather than explicit, or provided in flashback. Multiple subplots vanished. And since there were no longer any bandits in it, whispering or otherwise, I gave it the utterly generic working title “The Edge of the Blade.”

This simplified, compacted version actually worked just fine, arguably better than the original — Riassa doesn’t make some of Lady Malzin’s mistakes, for one thing; she has a much better endgame planned, though her plans go wrong and it doesn’t happen.

I was able to finish it by June 1, at about 4,200 words. I sent it off to the anthology last night, and the editor has acknowledged receipt. The present title (which may well change again before publication) is “An Interrupted Betrothal.”

And the thing is, it wound up so different that I can still finish “The Whispering Bandit” and pretend it’s an unrelated story. There are a few core elements that remain in both and may draw suspicion (spoiler, highlight if you want to know: a well-born female dresses up as a man to get her cousin out of an unwanted marriage) but pretty much everything else has changed.

But there’s no rush about finishing it; the deadline has been met.

Word-count for “The Whispering Bandit” is 4,327. Final word-count for “An Interrupted Betrothal” is 4,132.

Work in Progress: The Whispering Bandit

Progress report:

Last time looked at: 4/12/18

Last actual wordage added: 4/12/18

Pages added, 4/12/18: 2

Current page count: 17

Estimated final page count: 30? 40? I don’t know.

Deadline: June 1.

Comments: I skipped a progress report or two, in which I went back, reworked some stuff, and added a page.

Famiris has been renamed Errilsa. Lady Malzin is still named Malzin.

Errilsa is hiding. Malzin is listening to her father and uncle make somewhat alarming plans. (He wasn’t originally her uncle; that was part of the reworking.)

Don’t know if I can get this done within the anthology’s word limit. It may wind up going elsewhere and I’ll write something else for the antho.

(All character names are still subject to change.)

Word-count is 4,228.

Work in Progress: Stormchildren

Progress Report: Stormchildren

Last time looked at: 4/12/18

Last actual wordage added: 4/12/18

Pages added, 4/12/18: 1

Current page count: 13

Estimated final page count: I have no idea. I still don’t know for sure whether it’s a novella, a novel, or a series, or whether it’s YA.

Deadline: None. Purely speculative.

Word count: 2,951

Comments: Skipped some progress reports; sorry about that.

I’ve just moved the break between Chapter One and Chapter Two; I decided Chapter One was pretty short, and I didn’t have enough to make a complete chapter of Chapter Two at all, so I merged them. Chapter One went from nine pages to twelve. Chapter Two now starts a few days later, when Darris, Rell, Lesma, and Arrith are at the port preparing to book passage to the mainland.

Work in Progress: Elfshot

Progress report:

Last time looked at: 4/12/18

Last actual wordage added: 4/12/18

Pages added, 4/12/18: 2

Current page count: 17

Estimated final page count: 300? I don’t really have any idea.

Deadline: None. Purely speculative.

Word count: 3,951

Comments: I skipped a couple of updates, I’m afraid. Sorry about that.

Anyway, the body’s been taken to the Watch House and Hyacinth is rejoining Lily.

For those coming in late: This is a murder mystery in a vaguely Tolkienian setting. Our protagonist, Hyacinth Undercliff, is one of the Folk, small, delicate humanoids who live in a community called the Vale. To the north of the Vale is a riverside highway elves use; to the south are cliffs, and atop the cliffs is human territory. North of the highway is forest which has its own mysterious inhabitants, and under the cliffs to the west is the underground home of the delvers.

Hyacinth is granddaughter and heir to Poplar Forestedge, the town’s hereditary librarian and historian, but alas, Poplar is no longer able to carry out his duties, so Hyacinth does the job.

Linden Watchhouse is the Vale’s constable, aided by his wife Marigold.

The story opened with young Lily Riverbend finding the body of her murdered boyfriend Mulberry Thicket, and Hyacinth hearing her screams and coming to her aid.

And here we are.

Work in Progress: The Whispering Bandit

Progress report:

Last time looked at: 2/22/18

Last actual wordage added: 2/22/18

Pages added, 2/22/18: 1

Current page count: 14

Estimated final page count: 30? 40? I don’t know.

Deadline: June 1.

Comments: This is a short story/novelet for an anthology I’ve been invited to submit to. It’s set in the Cousins, east of the Walasian Empire, in the same world as A Young Man Without Magic and the other Bound Lands stories. I’m hoping to keep it down to about 8,000 words, but fear it may get away from me.

Anyway, Lady Malzin has realized her scheme was not very well thought out and is trying to improve upon it.

(All character names are subject to change, especially Lady Malzin and Famiris.)

Word-count is 3,378.

Work in Progress: Charming Sharra

Progress report:

Last time looked at: 1/30/18

Last actual wordage added: 1/30/18

Pages added, 1/30/18: 4

Current page count: 49

Estimated final page count: 300? I don’t really have any idea.

Deadline: None. Purely speculative.

Comments: I’ve skipped some progress reports again.

Finished Chapter Five, started Chapter Six. Sharra has sought advice and received it, and is about to follow it.

Word-count is 12,092.

Work in Progress: Tom Derringer and the Steam-Powered Saurians

Progress report: Tom Derringer & the Steam-Powered Saurians Tom Derringer & the Steam-Powered Saurians

Last time looked at: 12/31/17

Last actual wordage added: 12/31/17

Pages added, 12/31/17: 4

Current page count: 94

Estimated final page count: 250

Current word count: 23,470

Deadline: None. Will be self-published.

Comments: Finished Chapter Nine, started Chapter Ten. Tom has been forced to accept a change in plans.

Work in Progress: Tom Derringer and the Steam-Powered Saurians

Progress report: Tom Derringer & the Steam-Powered Saurians Tom Derringer & the Steam-Powered Saurians

Last time looked at: 12/29/17

Last actual wordage added: 12/29/17

Pages added, 12/29/17: 3

Current page count: 90

Estimated final page count: 250

Current word count: 22,742

Deadline: None. Will be self-published.

Comments: Skipped at least one progress report. I’m nearing the end of Chapter Nine. Teddy is explaining something to Betsy, Tom, and Peter.

Work in Progress: Charming Sharra

Progress report:

Last time looked at: 12/1/17

Last actual wordage added: 12/1/17

Pages added, 12/1/17: 2

Current page count: 43

Estimated final page count: 300? I don’t really have any idea.

Deadline: None. Purely speculative.

Comments: I’ve skipped some progress reports.

Sharra got her spell, but it isn’t turning out the way she thought it would. I’m halfway through Chapter Five.

Word-count is 10,564.

Work in Progress: Tom Derringer and the Steam-Powered Saurians

Progress Report: Tom Derringer & the Steam-Powered Saurians Tom Derringer & the Steam-Powered Saurians

Last time looked at: 11/7/17

Last actual wordage added: 11/7/17

Pages added, 11/7/17: 4

Current page count: 84

Estimated final page count: 250

Current word count: 21,088

Deadline: None. Will be self-published.

Comments: Finished Chapter Eight, started Chapter Nine. Betsy is doing some scouting because she’s the only one small enough to fit through an opening.