September first has come (well, and passed, by now) and I’m pleased to say that I met my goals. If you were reading the blog a few months back, you might remember when I explained that I needed to divert a lot of attention this summer achieving a couple of goals. The rewrite of THE WAY OF KINGS and the first draft of the fourth Alcatraz book. I not only had contracts to fulfill, but I needed a break.
Well, ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE SHATTERED LENS is finished as of August 31st. There’s some revising to do, but that can happen on the back-burner as focus shifts back to The Wheel of Time. The break has been good for me; doing something different, as I’ve often said, refreshes me and helps me get work done. Just like the first Alcatraz book was something I needed to do to distract me between Mistborn books, work on this one has helped me take a breath and step back from the Wheel of Time (which had been dominating my life for fifteen or sixteen months.)
It’s time to move onward, however. I’m still waiting for a few bits of material from Charleston that I asked for, but that’s all right since I think the thing I need to do now is re-read all of KNIFE OF DREAMS, and maybe spots of some previous books. I don’t have the three months to dedicate to re-reading the entire series again, though I’m going to take the audiobooks on tour for plane rides.
Anyway, I like to be very up-front with readers about what is going on. Waiting for novels can get frustrating because of how long the process takes, and because . . . well, it’s an artistic endeavor that relies on the creative output of (usually) a single person. We artists can be flakey.
Or, put more appropriately, the artistic and creative process can be erratic. I don’t think George R. R. Martin is flakey, for instance. An artist has to know their process, and work within its bounds. It takes him years to write a book; that’s just how it goes. That’s pretty good, considering the genius of his prose. If he wants quality, he has to have the freedom to work as he needs to. Writing books is not like building widgets. Forcing it doesn’t work.
Coaxing it, however, can be effective. For me, taking a break to do something different—like the Alcatraz books—has proven essential. I don’t think it slows down my other books; in fact, it speeds them up, as it keeps my creative process working. Other writers call me prolific. That’s only because my diversions (Like Warbreaker or Alcatraz) have so far been successful as publishable projects, where taking four months off to go golfing wouldn’t be. But, that’s a tangent.
Anyway, I don’t think forcing the process can work. However, I think being open about what is happening with readers—giving them transparency and a concrete view on what I’m doing—can be very helpful. When I take a diversion, you’ll know what I’m doing, and the progress bars (hopefully) will show you exactly what I’m doing an when.
For now, AMOL 2 (we’ll see what it ends up being named; I’ve chosen what I like for the title, but the final decision isn’t mine) stands at having about two hundred thousand words written. There is about 100k left to go. (A little over that.) My goal is to have that done by January 1st, to put us in the same place next year as we were this year for having a book ready by the fall.
The caveat for all of this, however, is what I mentioned above. It can’t be forced, only coaxed. I won’t release a WoT book just to be releasing a WoT book. This is the end of the greatest epic fantasy series of my generation. It needs to be treated very carefully. If I have to take more time on it, I will—regardless of the screaming from publisher or readers. But I don’t anticipate that happening. It looks good so far.
A few points of news. The Gathering Storm tour is up on Dragonmount; I’ll have it up here on my website soon. I didn’t choose the cities, but I’m trying hard to get to places I haven’t been before. I do plan to do a Canadian tour next year sometime, though I’m not certain about Europe. (I really want to get to Germany and the UK, at least, but my own books don’t launch in the UK until this fall.)
Also, if you’re waiting for news about THE WAY OF KINGS, you’ll have to sit tight for a little while. I’ll start posting and talking about that more come January. Right now, I think the focus needs to be on The Gathering Storm, and not on my own projects.
And now, back to doing a little editing.