I received a very nice note about Seiðman earlier in the week, along with a contract to publish it under Dreamspinner’s new YA imprint, Two Steps Up! The imprint has been announced through the ALA, but isn’t yet “online.” However, I know that there are several books slated for release under the imprint, so I expect I’ll have more news on that fairly soon.
In the meantime, while I fret about the other novel I have floating around out there (By That Sin Fell the Angels), I’ve decided to write a story for submission to a time-travel anthology that will be coming out in June. I finished the first draft of the story late last night, but there’s a problem: it rolls in at a bit over 21k words, and the maximum word count for submissions to the anthology is 18k.
This is an unusual situation for me. Unlike most other authors I read and talk to, I write lean. I get the story down on the page and then have to go back and fill in descriptions and add detail to flesh it out. Certainly, sentences can be tightened up: excessive adjectives and adverbs removed, run-on sentences shortened, all that sort of thing. But eliminating over 3,000 words from a tightly plotted story will be a challenge.
I’m also anxious to move on to the Japanese samurai story I put aside last year. I’ve reread the chapters I wrote and they have problems, mostly due to the emotional distance between the characters. It’s difficult to portray two people falling in love when they’re separated by such an enormous class difference. I’m also struggling with the social issues myself, attempting to portray the time period as realistically as possible. One of the problems I have with modern authors who write about this time period is that they often have their characters doing things that, in reality, would probably get them executed or imprisoned. That always yanks me out of the story.
But I’m certainly no expert on the subject. I’m far less comfortable with this time period and culture than I am with Viking Age Iceland, so I keep making mistakes and there are a number of places in the chapters I’ve written where I don’t find the behavior of the characters to be convincing. The overall result is, so far, an interesting story but with somewhat wooden characters. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a handle on that and produce something good out of it. I’m still convinced that the core story, based upon a 16th-century samurai tale by Ihara Saikaku, is a great idea for a novel.