Looking Back

Well, the new book is done, hopefully for good this time.  Now that I’ve had a few days to recover, here’s a look at where we are, and where things are likely to go!

This rewrite has taken me about four months – I scribbled down the first notes of what would eventually become the plan back in early February, which I wrote about here.  The rest of February and all of March was spent on planning, I started the new version in April, and now here we are.

Although I find rewrites to be hard work, the good news is that I’ve also found them to have a big impact.  Every time that I’ve rewritten one of my novels, the jump in quality has been noticeable – everyone who reads both versions invariably tells me that they like the new version more.  I think a lot of it has to do with coherence.  When I write something new, it’s still very fluid and unformed, and there’ll be all sorts of completely new stuff thrown in, ideas sprouting off in unpredictable directions.  This is fun to write, and hopefully fun to read, but does mean that the end result can feel a bit incoherent, like it’s trying to go in lots of directions at once.  When I go back for a rewrite, one of the things I do is rework those ideas, adjusting them to be consistent with each other and to call back or ahead to the other story elements that didn’t exist when I first put them in.  The result tends to be a much tighter story.

The trade-off of all this is of course how long it takes, but one nice surprise that has come out of this particular rewrite is how supportive all of my readers have been.  Having to tell your readership that you’ve decided that your new book isn’t good enough and that you’re going to be putting publication on hold while you spend the next 3 to 6 months rewriting it instead . . . well, it’s not exactly the kind of news you want to be giving.  But pretty much everyone who’s responded, whether online or in person, has told me some version of “that’s fine, focus on making it good, we’ll wait”.  So, thanks for the patience!

I’d like to be able to tell everyone that the book’s now in the queue and give you all an idea of how long you’ll have to wait for it to come out, but unfortunately, as I wrote about back here, we’ve now got to the stage in the process where I no longer have full control over the timing of things.  The book’s publication date is now up to my publishers, which will depend on two things:  the slot that the book gets assigned to, and how much they want changed.  I’m hoping that my publishers won’t ask for any extensive rewrites (given how long this last one took, it’d be pretty soul-crushing to have to do another), but even if my suspicions are correct and they like it, the final publication date is still up to them.  If I had to take a guess, I’d bet on this book coming out in the summer or autumn of 2023, but I don’t know exactly when.

At some point I’m also going to start putting up some online material for the new series, the equivalent of Alex Verus’s Encyclopaedia Arcana.  I haven’t decided whether to do this before or after the first book’s publication – I have a lot of material for the new setting, but one of the features of the first book is that the reader learns a lot of things as the protagonist does, and I don’t want to spoil the story.  I’ll have a think and decide closer to the time.

And that’s about it!  Again, thanks for everyone’s patience.  It’s been a long road getting here, but at this point I’m pretty sure that all of the hardest work is finished.  As usual, I’ll let you know as soon as I know more.

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2 Responses to Looking Back

  1. B. says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings here!

    I’m really looking forward to the new book (and the whole series, to be honest), and rather courious about the setting and the main characters. Waiting will definitly try my patience ;o)

    Your post sounds like you yourself are satisfied with the result of the rewrite, and that’s the most important thing. Hopefully, now that it’s done, you have the time for a break or vacation befor starting the next book/project, the last months must have been really demanding!

    Best, B.

  2. GregorV says:

    Sure, Mr. Jacka, we don’t want more stuff, we want BETTER stuff :).
    Thank you for being a creative perfectionist that you are!
    What actually blows my mind is how slow the publishing process works after you submit your book. It’s as if you are writing a script for a movie and then they have to go location scouting and auditioning actors for the cast 🙂

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