So, I mentioned at the end of my last post that many times when people find out I’ve been finished with All My Holy Mountain since ’06, they ask me what I’ve been doing since then. This post is an update on my writing-life from mid-’06 to the end of ’07 for those who are interested.
Let me start with finishing “The Binding of the Blade” in ’06. It was really weird. I’d first had the idea for the story that became BOTB in the summer of 1992. I resurrected the idea and began serious work on world-building and story-building in the summer of 2000. From that point on, I worked pretty steadily on developing and then writing the 5 novels that constitute the series. So, for 6 years straight, I’d lived with the characters, the story and the process of writing it. I sat down in the spring of ’06, when I’d finished the Epilogue of All My Holy Mountain and sent it off to my publisher, a little bit stunned by the thought of being finished.
Of course, at that point I wasn’t really finished. I still had the major editing work left to do for both Father of Dragons and All My Holy Mountain. Since Shadow in the Deep had only just been released, we’d decided to edit both of the last two books back to back, so we could ensure the highest degree of continuity in the story. So, I still had that process left to undertake. Even so, the “initial composition” portion of the writing process for BOTB was finished in the spring of ’06, and it was time to think about what was next.
I had thought about what would be next, of course. I generate story ideas that excite me faster than I can complete the book I’m working on, so during the 6 years I’d been working on BOTB, the list of book ideas to one day get to had been steadily growing. Of course, my wife, ever concerned for my well-being, wanted me to “take a break” now that BOTB was finished. I agreed to take a break, and off we went on vacation when school was out for the summer.
For a variety of reasons, we were away longer than usual, and by the time we got home, I was climbing up the proverbial wall with the desire to get started working on something. I had to face the (sad?) reality that writing had become, for me, a compulsion.
Of all the ideas I had for stories, the one I decided to work on next was one of the “newest” that I’d had. It was a contemporary fiction idea, more or less in the “murder mystery” genre. I love watching Mystery! on PBS and have for a long time, so I was excited to write a mystery. I started work on a novel I called Avalon Falls in August of ’06 and finished in the spring of ’07.
Now, fans of BOTB might be saddened or disappointed that I went on to something that wasn’t fantasy, but after 6 years of intensive work on BOTB, I wasn’t really ready to jump back into it. I’d had a new idea for another series some time ago, but when push came to shove, I wanted to work on something else. Avalon Falls was that something else, and I really enjoyed writing it. I loved it, in fact, and sitting here some 6 months after finishing it, I still really like the story.
In the summer of ’07 I started something else, but a series of events led me to lay it aside in the fall of ’07. During those fall months, a series of conversations with various people, alluded to in my post on “Dot.comification,” led me to the conclusion that trying to break into the “murder mystery” genre with Avalon Falls right now probably wasn’t the right business move for me. Instead, my agent and I agreed that I’d try to sell my fantasy series idea to someone, and in December of ’07, I began intensive work on developing that idea and building that world.
So what about Avalon Falls? The answer is that I don’t know. It may never see the light of day, and the half dozen people who have read it may be the only ones who ever know that story. It’s a sad thought, but it is a possibility. Was writing it a waste? Absolutely not. I loved writing it, and I wouldn’t go back and do things any differently. Besides, I really do believe that I couldn’t have gone right from BOTB directly into another massive fantasy project. I scratched my writing itch with Avalon Falls while still taking a break of sorts from the work I’d been doing previously and am already doing again now. After an 18 month break, I’ve returned to the work of world-building and story-building for my new series with a vengeance, and I am very, very excited about how it is going and what I’m working on. This new project, though, is a subject for another post on another day.