It feels like both as a writer, and in my actual life the key things I am trying to do is like the vaudeville act where someone would spin a bunch of plates on long poles and try to keep spinning new ones without letting the old ones stop. In its own right its harder than juggling, because you have to do all these things simultaneously.
Although at its heart The Fall of House Nemeni is a personal tale of a family who’s House is destroyed and their attempt to rise up and survive against all its assembled foes it’s also a sprawling epic. Many countries are involved, the basic myths of that universe tie into the events and characters from all over the lands get roped into the schemes of a few. Currently I am trying NOT to add too many POV characters regularly, but certain events that are very important cannot be currently witnessed by most of the survivors of House Nemeni (once you finish the first book, you would understand why).
This has led to secondary characters taking a more important role in the next book. On one hand as an author I love this, expanding the world and showing how more people live in it. It also helps flesh out earlier scenes once you know more of what a secondary character is actually like after you take a peek in their head. On the other hand the main characters people love are the ones they were really introduced to in the first book, so you can’t really ignore them or give them a short shrift either. My current way to help with this issue is to have multiple character POV’s in the same chapter. I took care beforehand not to do that, but with the current cast it would be insane to give them all separate POV’s without ballooning the size of the book or turning each chapter into a 3 page mini chapter.
I do a very small amount of that at the end of the first book (tying things in more either geographically or by theme) and I like the way it turned out. This is not my poll, but I am curious if anyone else has opinions if it’s better to have only one POV per chapter but tons of tiny little chapters, or group them by geography or theme so they are of similar size as the current book.
In real life, I feel like I am doing the spinning plate thing too. I am preparing for a cross country move before the year is done, wrapping up all the things we want to do before the move, writing the novel, overseeing the editing/release of an older novel, planning outside things having to do with the writing career (twitter, a podcast I was asked to be in, a writer’s event coming up etc) and then trying to write a few short stories for other publications to get my name out to other audiences. Kind of connected to all this will be my next blog post this week. For a teaser of what that is about go to http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/70802-genre-underground and join this group on goodreads. 🙂
Needless to say I feel some of those spinning plates are going to crash down soon and since some of those simply can’t be put on the back burner some of the newer things will have to be cut or everything will suffer. Originally I was planning on doing a few short stories for online magazines, as it felt like a good way to reach more people, and would not be too much of an investment of my time since most of the stories would only be about the size of two of my chapters.
In reality, I am finding the fact that my mind has to switch gears to the different worlds of the short stories causes them to take much longer, and I feel like they are draining away time and mental resources from the main story. At the same time, they do tend to give a decent amount of exposure for a minimal amount of effort overall.
What should I cut so all the Plates do not go crashing down:
1)The short stories. Save the time and effort for the current novel and rewrites needed from editing.
2)Cut down on twitter/blogs/interviews and other publicity stuff. Just write the novel and short stories.
3)Cut Both of the above. You are early in your career and do not need to worry about publicity or short stories at all.
In the Allmother’s church there are no sacred written texts. In modern times and with the modern focus on literature some people are writing them down, but the Church insists they can only be sung or chanted in worship services. This has led to most Priestesses being decently talented signers, except for a few poor churches who cannot be picky.
It also has led to some divisions, as certain islands are definite that some passages are worded different than others, for that is how they have always been taught. The Allmother’s Daughter and representative in this universe is always the one who gets to interpret what is the “accurate” songs of the day, and this has led to some bitter rivalries amongst island to see who gets to have the official version of the Allmother’s Songs spread to everyone.