I know how tracking so many of you are with the series, so I wanted to bring you up to speed on where book six stands now.
I’ll go on the record here and say definitively that two books are needed to finish telling this story properly. If you’ve been tracking with my writing progress in other updates, you’ll recall that I’m writing 15 different storylines now, which, when compared to the number of story threads in most other epic fantasies, is like writing 4 books at the same time.
I estimate the denouement of the story will require upwards of 650,000 words to complete. Possibly more like 800,000. (Most of my books are in the 350,000 word range.)
So, as to book six and what is obviously now book seven…
There’s just not an easy way to structurally complete the story if I try to think of it all linearly, telling things in real-time, one chapter flowing to the next, book six flowing into book seven. Each story thread is so interwoven—if not in terms of action then in terms of the things you learn upon one thread that affects your understanding of another one—that I can’t get more than one or two chapters along any character’s thread without needing to advance several other ones at the same time.
So, basically, what this means is that I am writing both book six and book seven at the same time.
I know you’re asking now what that means to you, i.e. when will you get to read it? If it happens that I get enough of the story completed that I can get book six out to you ahead of book seven being finished, I’ll set that into motion. Much depends on how I end up structuring the storytelling, as in, we may need to backtrack to pick up some action that happened out of our view in book five, and then work our way up the timeline back to present book time. But I really don’t have a handle on any of that yet, and I can’t even begin to think about sequencing until much more of the story is written.
Right now, I’m just trying to keep the story flowing forward one chapter at a time. I’m over 600 pages in (usually my books run about 800 pages in MS Word), and none of this is sequenced. It’s a bit of Trell and a bit of Tanis, and a couple of Ean and a lot with Felix (which may end up changing) and some Baelfeir and Vleydis and Shail among a smattering of others… None of these chapters form any kind of cohesive whole.
Every day I look at my page count and ask myself, “What the hell is written so far?” Because it feels like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what is yet to be told. I’ve been saying this for a while.
The story is inching forward. It’s a bit like dragging a galleon ship by its anchor. Or fifteen of them. Mired in sand. In the heat of the day. Only it’s pitch black and I have no idea where I’m going. 🤨
Another challenge of mine is to find a way to keep some of the mortal threads relevant to the larger story when their battles feel so much smaller compared to, say, Tanis’s thread. But microcosms like the king and queen of Dannym’s fight against Morwyk are essential to the allegory that forms the woof and warp of my series. So in addition to telling a lot of the epic backstory you’ve all been speculating about, I’m working to find ways to keep these other smaller conflicts relevant and meaningful.
All of this is to say that the onus is on me to make every story thread philosophically valuable as well as entertaining. If we don’t spend quite as much book time with some characters as I had perhaps been planning, I promise we will take each of their story threads to a satisfying conclusion. Every outstanding story thread will get its closure, from Creighton and Katerine to Lily and Korin and whatever the hell is Gwynnleth’s beef with Phaedor.
So that’s the latest, folks. My deepest thanks to all of you who write in and comment with your encouragement and support. I always appreciate knowing you’re excited (and impatient) for the next and final installment in this epic tale. Your interest fuels my motivation, so thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Thank you for the many ways you endeavor to stay connected to my world. And as always, thank you for reading.