Sunday, August 24, 2008

Just An Update

Hi, folks. I've not been blogging a ton the last couple of weeks. Had a lot going on. Some of it was some family stuff that's taken a good deal of time and energy. I've also been preparing - mostly mentally, really - for beginning of the new academic year. I'll be teaching two classes, an undergrad Beginning Fiction Writing course and a Graduate Writing Workshop. Not a bad schedule, really, but it's a readjustment.

Oh, the third thing that's been taking up a lot of my time, of course, is The Other Lands. I was trying to get as much of it done before the school year began as I could. I didn't make it all the way to the end, but I'm pretty happy with where I ended up. Not done yet, but the end is in sight. I've got all the story before me. I know all the scenes that are yet to be written. I know exactly how each narrative thread ends. (Suspect cliffhangers. It is a middle volume, you know.)

It's one of the funny things about writing novels that the process often requires living with uncertainty for years. I've had that with this one, as I've had it with each of my longer books. For example, even up until a few days ago there were... um... "problems" ahead of me in this book. Spaces that were blank. Storylines that seemed to dead end. Plot moves that I knew I had to make but wasn't sure how I was going to make them. It's kinda crazy if you think about it too much. Like - "David, you've been working on this book for how long? How could you not know by now how you were going to handle what happens when $%^& finds out about *(&)%? That's crazy!"

But that's part of the process. Those plot elements and connections and character growth and the surprises can't all by mapped out ahead of time. Some of them have to be lived - by the author as well as by the characters.

What I'm saying, though, is a good thing. The end of The Other Lands is firmly in my sights. I have to work toward it while I'm also doing some other stuff, (You know - LIFE!) but I will be at the end soon. I will get this to my publisher and (barring something unforeseen - like my editor hating how I finished) I'm confident this book can make the pub date that we've had in mind for a while now, which essentially is a year from now. And, just so you know, I'll be at work on the third book immediately, no delay in getting the engine revving between two and three. This is mainly because the narrative really does flow right into the next book. I'd like to say I'm finished with The Other Lands one day and start work on &%^$# the next day. So that's my plan.

BTW, don't forget that Acacia: The War With the Mein hits in paperback form in two days! August 26th is the release date. It's mass market, you know, perfectly priced for these difficult economic times...

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18 Comments:

Blogger Mary Robinette Kowal said...

I'm glad to hear that you've been able to continue writing, with everything else that's going on. I'll admit that it's for purely selfish reasons as I've just finished Acacia and want to know what happens next.

12:28 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Thanks Mary. Yeah, it's not been easy, and I'd like the book to be done and dusted already. But slow and steady, and meandering, and delayed, but persistent, and ah... wins the race.

Thanks for reading Acacia. I'd be happy for you to be one of the first people to learn what happens next!

10:19 PM  
Blogger Mary Robinette Kowal said...

Ooo! Of course that means I'll have to wait even longer to find out what happens after that, but it's mighty tempting.

Fortunately, you aren't racing anyone except yourself. Go! Go! You can do it!

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Dave-Brendon de Burgh said...

Hey David, glad to hear that everything is on track. :-) Did you enjoy the camping trip? I also can't wait to see where you'll be taking us next - a certain C has created a weird fixation in me, and I want to see where she goes next! :-) And everyone else, the whole world - but her, in particular... I cannot wait! :-) But take your time! (And hurry up) :-)

7:14 AM  
Blogger The Real Deal said...

That's very encouraging to hear, David. In the story I'm writing, I've had some doubts/fears about having my characters perform actions - and not know why! Or they're going somewhere, but I don't exactly know where yet, etc. Thanks for the affirmation about the process.

Also, I find it a little amusing to imagine that your "&%#*@" are subsitutions for swearing. =)

10:43 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Dave,

Yes, the trip was very good. Much needed. Glad to hear about your weird fixation. I'll try to nurture it.

Real Deal,

Depending on which character I'm talking about, the "&%#*@" might well be swearing. ;)

10:54 AM  
Blogger Dirk said...

"Suspect cliffhangers. It is a middle volume, you know"

That's not a thunderstorm over the horizon you hear, it's the sound of my teeth gnashing.

Yes, I gnash with the force of thunder!

11:22 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Yes, but what's a guy like me to do? It's a big story. If I wasn't going to end it amidst the action I'd need another six hundred pages, which would make for one of those absurdly long books. And it would take me that much longer to get it wrapped up.

No, expect a novel's worth of action, adventure, character confusion, nobility, baseness, surprises, new landscapes, conflict... and then know that when it ends it's not over. Not quite yet.

I do promise not to take thirteen books to tell this story. Just give me a couple more. ;)

11:55 AM  
Blogger paranoyd said...

OK, you have two books left startinnnnnggggggg ... Now.

1:53 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Not sure what you mean by that...

2:41 PM  
Blogger paranoyd said...

heh, you said you needed a couple more books to finish up, so the fans, represented by myself as self-appointed proxy, to eliminate the George R.R. Martin-ity of any series of novels, are allowing you the two books past The Other Lands to finish the story.

But just two. ;)

3:22 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Okay. I see.

But what about prequels?

3:34 PM  
Blogger Meghan said...

"The end of The Other Lands is firmly in my sights"

Yay! Can't wait! I'm so used to waiting years for certain authors to finish their stories (George RR Martin I'm looking at YOU) so it's always exciting when one of my fave authors delivers the goods in good time. :D

3:59 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Thanks Meghan,

You've inadvertently upped the pressure on me, but that's not a bad thing.

-D

4:35 PM  
Blogger paranoyd said...

Prequels are OK, as long as the main story is done.

I think we've reached a fair accord.

To recap, The Other Lands and up to two (2) unnamed volumes to complete the main story of Acacia, and an unspecified number of Prequels to be decided at a later time after the main volumes are completed. Oh, and, as per Meghan, we are happy about the time frame for The Other Lands.

The paperwork is in the mail.

/entitlement
/sarcasm

In all honesty, I'm fairly certain we will just be happy to not have 13 novels spaced from 2 to 5 years apart - I'd like to finish the story while my daughter is still living at home. ;)

2:44 AM  
Anonymous Dave-Brendon de Burgh said...

Hehe, Paranoyd you are awesome. :-) I haven't seen this many comments about a post in a while! :-) And thanks for finding the time to reply, David, we all appreciate it. :-)

11:29 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

I'll accept those terms. ;)

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

This is nice to year. It's also somehow encuraging when I hear that everyone has to handle life as well as writing :-)
Sometime I fear that's impossible... but of course it isn't.

I'm still waiting for my copy of Acacia... I mean the first half the Italian publisher had allowed us to read so far. But at least this mean that next year we Italians will have more to read :-)

3:37 PM  

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