Still waiting for The Silver Trumpet to be published, I’m also waiting for the spark of an idea that will start me on my next book. I can’t do anything until God gives me that. And anyway, it’s been too cold for me to sit outside and write.
Between the two projects is The Temptation, Book No. 11 in the Bell Mountain series, all written but still being edited. I purposely left some loose ends in The Temptation to be taken up in the next book–an invasion by a particularly fierce and unpleasant nation from the south, and a project by Lord Orth that could easily get him killed–but I have yet to be given that spark, that scene, that title, or that new character that’ll get the ball rolling.
It’s hard to wait. Once I have a book started, it’ll soothe me, it’ll occupy my mind, and it’s the work that I love best. But there’s no alternative: I just have to wait until the Lord says “Go.” I’ve relied on Him this far: no stopping now.
Spring is coming, unless those pesky bankers stop it, and I want to be ready to write when it gets here. But before I can do that, I have to revisit the books I’ve already written.
So first I read The Temptation, which will be No. 11 in the Bell Mountain series when it gets published sometime next year, and assuaged my fears that there might be something wrong with it. It’s a writer thing: we all get cold feet, somewhere along the way to publication.
Having done that, it’s time to get back with Jack and Ellayne and follow them, once again, up Bell Mountain. And maybe soon we’ll have The Silver Trumpet, I have no idea what’s taking it so long to get printed. After that, the other eight books in the series.
I do this to immerse myself in the fantasy world depicted in the books. Before I can write about it any more, I have to see it, hear it, feel it, smell it: because if I can’t, the reader won’t be able to, either.
So why is No. 6, The Palace, serving to illustrate this post?
Mostly because it has only three customer reviews on amazon and has lagged way behind the others. I can’t imagine why. Artist Kirk DouPonce used a real kid to model for Jack climbing up the extremely high wall of the Palace in Obann, and I wouldn’t like that boy to think he did it for nothing. What boy–Jack or the model? Both of ’em, of course. Jack’s human fly act deserves your support!
So I’m reading The Temptation today, so I can remember the story that I told… and imagine my confusion when suddenly there’s a brand-new character in it, talking and interacting with the other characters–and no indication how she got there.
Well, okay, I know who she is and why she’s there, but no one else will. At first I thought I had somehow dropped a scene. Uh, no–more like a whole chapter. Chapter VII, to wit. Like what is this–Oy, Rodney? But yeah, Chapter VII’s missing.
I cannot explain why the chapter isn’t there. Just saying I forgot to type it in doesn’t really answer the question. And nobody caught it, first time around.
Happily the chapter is still on my hand-written legal pad, so I can type it up and plug it in. Now that I’ve done that, the book makes sense again.
But suddenly a thought: “Hey, wouldn’t that make a cool premise for a story? A writer finds a character in his book that he never thought of before–and he’s sure he didn’t put her in…”
If you’re wondering where I’ve been all afternoon, I’ve been right here at this computer, doing my part of the final edit of The Silver Trumpet. Our boss, Mark Rushdoony, hopes to publish it in January.
No one has ever published an error-free book, but at Chalcedon we come about as close to it as humanly possible. This will be my third time proofreading the book, and I’m only one of several proofreaders. Actually, it’s quite shocking when I discover–after the book is published!–a typo on a page.
Susan, my editor, had a rather complicated reaction to The Temptation. She’s worried about some of the characters’ welfare. Some of them are very definitely sailing into harm’s way. I pray that in the spring I’ll be ready to start writing the next installment of the story.
But first we’ve gotta get The Silver Trumpet into print!
At least the editing job takes my mind off WordPress.
Yeah, The Temptation, she’s-a done–in spite of all the computer problems, doctor visits, bad weather, and constant interruptions, Book No. 11 of my Bell Mountain series is all typed up, polished, and sent off to my editor.
I have no idea to what extent, if any, I have succeeded in communicating the vision I had for this book. My wife read the last six chapters this morning, but she was very tired and I don’t know quite what to make of her reaction.
What I tried to do, in the climax of this story, was difficult. It had to be written so that a reasonably with-it 12-year-old would have no trouble understanding it, but at the same time in such a way so as not to alienate adult readers. Sorta like when the pitching coach comes out and tells you, “Don’t give him anything to hit, but don’t walk him, either.”
Oh, well. A writer who’s sure of himself is probably headed for a bad book. I had to work very intently on the climax and I’m kinda wrung out. It’ll be a week or two before I start to miss having no book to be working on. In the meantime, Chalcedon has plenty for me to do.
Just so you know I’m not just fatzing around today (as they say in Ninneburky), let me tell ya. Blog posts, edit huge Chalcedon article about economics (requiring duct tape around head), Newswithviews column, recycling center, a trip to the store, type up another chapter of The Temptation (which is hard to read because of cold days when the ink wouldn’t flow smoothly from the pen)–do you wonder why I never got around to another installment of Oy, Rodney? Now I’m a bit too tuckered out to try.
I’ve just got to get this book finished. Somehow! I had hoped to get it done this week.
I’ll try to deliver a cat video this evening. Signing off for now…
Okay, now I really have finished writing The Temptation and can go on to type up the last bunch of chapters, polishing them as I go, and send them in to my editor. And that, Lord willing, will be Bell Mountain No. 11.
As various computer woes swept over me this weekend, I realized there was something important that I had to add to the climax. I won’t tell you what it was, except to say it caught Gallgoid the Chief Spy flat-footed, and you have to get up pretty early in the morning to do that.
Why a picture of a baby alligator hatching?
Well, an alligator starts out small and can grow very, very big; and I pray my books will do the same, in the Lord’s service.
(P.S.–Welcome back, Linda: first good news of the day.)
I’ve been working very hard on The Temptation, racing against the calendar to try to finish it before the weather grows too cold to work outside anymore and I have to somehow write indoors where the phone always rings.
I have this odd sense, now, of drawing toward the climax at a high rate of speed but having no idea of what that climax will turn out to be. My experience has been that God will give it to me in a flash when I’m not expecting it. It’s really cool when that happens, although it tries my nerve to wait for it. Maybe it’s a test of faith.
Now that another big chunk of my time is to be taken away from me and given to the dentist, I suppose I ought to try to work on Sunday. I’d rather not. Some rest would be nice. Ah, well… Guide me, O Lord. Please.