No, I haven’t been watching the Muppet Movie again (if you’re wondering what I’m talking about, see the video at the end of this post). And no, this doesn’t have anything to do with the amount of fiber I have in my diet as it relates to my colon health. What is moving right along is Book Four of the Osteria Chronicles!
But wait, I hear you say, you haven’t even released the third book in the series. I know! I’m still a couple weeks out from the official Release Day for The Maze, but I’ve already charted the course for Book Four and am (as Kermit and Foozie Bear would say) movin’ right along on it.
This is not a normal situation for me. Sometimes I might have an outline of my next book before the previous book is released, but never a draft. So what’s different this time? As you may remember way back when I was struggling through my third draft of my renewed efforts with The Maze, my wonderful blog readers helped me realize that stepping back and evaluating both books three and four would allow me to understand what needed to happen in book three. It was probably the best advice I’ve ever bothered to listen to.
The result was a complete outline of the main stories in books three and four (and a thin outline of the rest of the series), an examination of every single characters’ story line and goals, which eventually became a more organized and more thorough draft of The Maze (book three) and a super rough draft of Book Four (which still has no title…one bridge at a time).
And by very rough, I mean absolutely horrible. The basic story lines are there but, as I discovered when I did a quick read through last week, there is a gob of stuff missing (gob in this case being roughly equivalent to the size of a herd of elephants). During the read through I made notes of what I needed to do to fill in and flesh out the book, as well as things that needed to change based on what has occurred in The Maze. As far as “work” goes, this was kind of fun because I had a few light bulb moments in which I was able to work in some unsavory characters from Book One (The Trials of Hercules) and give more of a role to some minor characters I like.
This isn’t to say things weren’t still a mess. Because I had tossed some stuff into Book Four that didn’t work in The Maze, chapters were out of order. The quick drafting meant some “chapters” weren’t even chapters, just a few paragraphs to get the ideas out. And, as mentioned above some chapters were non-existent. This meant plenty of notes and plenty of sorting. Which meant a few hours of arranging lots of little pieces of paper (with chapter ID numbers on them) on the floor and hoping no catnip-addled cats came in and decided tiny pieces of paper were the best toy ever invented.
So the chapters were mostly in order, but all my notes (taken as I was doing the read-though) were not. Rather than re-write all the notes in order, I decided it was time for a computerless version of cutting and pasting to organize them.
Now that I knew how many chapters (or semi-chapters) I had to work with, I pulled out my handy dandy calendar and plotted how much work I needed to do each day to turn this into a very-close-to-compete draft by mid-December. It’s going to be a mad pace, but I’m hoping to get the book out by the first week of May, so I’m putting a bit of pressure on myself to stick to it.
One issue that may crop up is, as you can see in that please-don’t-become-a-cat-toy photo, this book has a massive number of chapters, about twice as what I would normally have. Some of these may get meshed together, but this tome may just be too big and I may end up having to split the book. That decision will have to wait until the end of this rewrite.
The reason for so many chapters is that there is SOOOOO much going on in book four to set up events in the final two books in the series. Not only do I bring in some story lines that didn’t get finished up in The Maze, take one of the troubles (that began back in The Voyage) to a breaking point, and continue with the series-long struggle with the titans, but I’m also covering a couple of my favorite myths.
One of these is the legend of Medusa (who you will meet in The Maze) which also pulls in the lengthy legends of Perseus and some trouble with Poseidon.
Another story line (which stems from Medusa’s story) is the tale of Bellerophon and (every little girl’s favorite) Pegasus…
To sum up this long post, I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but I’ve got a really strong start and I’m actually looking forward to working on this book (something I rarely said when working on The Maze).
What about you? Are you looking forward to any projects – big or little? I’ll be back next Wednesday with more book news, and be sure to stop by Saturday to see how I survived being stranded at sea.
And now, as promised, “Moving’ Right Along”…
The Maze: Book Three of The Osteria Chronicles is now available for a special pre-order price of $2.99 for e-books and $10 for print books AND I’ve made it easy for you to jump into the series with discounts on the first book (The Trials of Hercules). For full details, please visit this post. You can also read a few sample chapters from The Maze (PDF)