I promised a while ago that I would give you an update on the progress of The Broken Eye. Then, I broke that promise—by giving you an update early! But, this is epic fantasy, a genre fraught with fan-angst about whether your author is working on the next magnum opus or just tooling around the Caribbean, spending your reading bucks and releasing action figures to fund his or her lavish lifestyle.
So. Here’s another update: I have finished the first, second, third, and fourth drafts of The Broken Eye. Content edits are done. The book is out of my hands and into production. (We still have copy edits and one last look to go, so if you see me posting on social media about “edits” that’s what I mean.) The Broken Eye is slated to release on the week of August 26th in US/UK/AUS. (US releases are on Tuesdays, and if I recall correctly, UK releases are on Thursdays.)
I believe (and my editors and agent agree!) that The Broken Eye is my best work yet. It is also my longest. By far. I promised Orbit—contractually—that this book would be 155-160,000 words. I like to think that I’m good at a fair number of the many skills necessary to be a successful novelist, but one thing I’m apparently not so hot at is “estimating the length of a story.”
Me, two years ago: “Oh yeah, this book’ll be about 150 thousand words. But I might go a little long, so let’s say 155 or 160.”
Actual length: 306,000 words, not counting glossary or appendices.
Orbit has been gracious to me in that they are not splitting this book into two books. The length may, however, cause some problems with translations—different languages can add up to 30% to the word count.
Now, we like big books. (And we cannot lie. You other readers can’t deny, a book flops open with an itty-bitty font, and a map that’s in your face, you get—sorry! Sorry!) We all love a big book, but we’ve also all probably read the big book that goes nowhere. I hope you’ll agree that The Broken Eye isn’t THAT book. Despite how long the manuscript already was, when she first read the book two drafts ago, my editor’s first comments were that I needed to add more about X, Y, and Z.
What’s next for me? I’ll take a few days off. (Yeah, only a few. I get depressed if I’m away from writing for long.) Then I’ll work on The Way of Shadows graphic novel for a few days.
And then I’ll dive into the next Lightbringer book. When will that one come out? I don’t know. I will note that in the last ten years, I’ve written a book every two years… and while the time between books has remained the same, I’ve doubled the length of my books. And, I think it fair to say, I’ve added a level of polish and skill I didn’t possess before.
And yet still, you must wait. I know waiting sucks, so I’m doing all I can (hiring an assistant, working six days weeks, working while on vacation) to minimize your wait as much as possible without compromising the finished product. And that last clause is important. I have to live with these books forever. A few years from now, no one will care that it was two years between books rather than 18 months. They—and I!—will care if it’s not as good as it could have been. This tension of wanting to please fans and wanting to get it right is something every author has to negotiate for himself or herself.
I will continue to let you know how things are going every so often with update posts like this for the next book (probably titled The Blood Mirror). I’ll write my next writing update in April.
p.s. Anyone want to buy a few pallets of action figures? Yacht maintenance is expensive!
p.p.s. No, Dinkheisel. There are no action figures.