So, as I approach the 25kword mark on the new novel (which first readers have christened Necrolaw and is saved on my computer as Deicide, which might tell you something), I’ve often felt that the work’s proceeded more slowly than my previous two projects – in spite of the relative speed with which I’m ratcheting up the word count.
Rereading my work this morning, though, I realized that the sense of slowness had little to do with the actual story. My last book was a kidnapping mystery cum historical thriller, set in Mongolia and China during 1937 and 200x; the book before that, an attempt at a serious, contemplative slice-of-life novel that ended up having far more kung fu in it than Hemmingway usually does. It’s been three books since I wrote fantasy/sf, and even then the book was more of a picaresque.
This time around, my main character is a first year associate in the necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht and Ao. She’s accompanying her boss on a business trip one of the few cities still ruled by a god after fifty years of brutal war between the gods and the Deathless Kings, a group of human mages who unlocked the secrets of divine magic. And the story is at its heart an international thriller – which means I need to have my readers sufficiently immersed in the setting to know when something thrilling is happening.
So, in addition to knowing the details of the setting myself, I need to ensure I’m passing it along properly to my readers, and accomplish all this without having characters go on long exposition rants every few minutes. I’d forgotten how much fun this was — and how much precision it required.
Of course, all writers ordain their dark materials to make new worlds. It’s just that slightly different muscles are involved when writing coherent fantasy. But more on this later.