I’ve lost an awful lot of time due to bad weather, but the sun is finally out again, I can’t ride my bike because of a flat tire (I told the guy not to over-inflate it!), so I’m out there trying to play catch-up on my current book, His Mercy Endureth Forever (Bell Mountain No. 12). As for The Temptation, we’re waiting on Kirk DouPonce’s cover art.
Meanwhile, the story is hurtling toward a climax–and I don’t know what it’s going to be. The Lord will tell me when I’m not expecting it. But poor Obann, what a mess! A savage horde of Hyena Men has invaded the country, and Jack and Ellayne somehow have to smuggle Lord Orth into the city so he can call Obann to repentance before it’s too late. I have no idea whether he’ll succeed.
A brief thought on fantasy-writing in general:
Overcome the temptation to give your characters names that are just too far out for the reader to stomach. If your fantasy novel starts sounding like a Russian novel translated by someone from Venus, you’re doing it wrong. I once read a Lawrence Sanders book in which the hero was named Jack Smack and the heroine, a femme fatale, Clementine Cadiddlehopper or something like that. I found those names detracting from the conviction of the story. So don’t do that.
I’ve always heard that most actors enjoy playing villains. It’s kind of fun to write about them, too. Fictional villains, that is. Not real ones.
Note to those who really want me to unravel Obann’s glorious past: Some of that will be done in Book No. 11, The Temptation, so please stay tuned.
As Jackie Gleason used to say, “And away we go!”
I’m still waiting for The Silver Trumpet to be published; but meanwhile, today I’ve started writing the first chapter of a new book. Thank you, Lord, for giving me the go-ahead!
This will be Book No. 12 in my Bell Mountain series: Silver Trumpet’s No. 10, with The Temptation waiting in the wings as No. 11. Do I know what No. 12 will be about? Nah! I never know. In fact, I don’t even have a title for it yet–although the one that keeps popping into my head is His Mercy Endureth Forever, the anthem of King Ryons’ army when it’s on the march. Looking at some of the story threads that must be picked up from The Temptation, there’s going to be a pressing need for mercy.
Anyway, I’m off to the races. I don’t know where this horse is going to take me, but I expect a wild ride.
The Ice Age Cave Hyena–bigger, meaner, and just watch out…
I’m still waiting for the Lord to give me the spark that gets my next Bell Mountain book started. Sometimes it’s a dream: that’s where Gurun, the Queen of Obann, came from, and the great beast that scattered the Heathen army from the city walls. Or it might be a title, a particular scene, or an intriguing new character.
I don’t have any of those things yet, the weather has finally decided to turn the page to Spring, and I’m eager to get started. But I can’t begin until God gives me the go-ahead; and I’m also still waiting for Book No. 10, The Silver Trumpet, to be published.
Meanwhile, based on certain events described in No. 11, The Temptation, I’m pretty sure I’m going to need giant Cave Hyenas from the Ice Age. These were awesome beasts. They preyed on rhinoceroses (!) and baby mammoths: scientists deduce this from the bones which the hyenas strewed about their lairs. Can I ask the Lord to give me a vivid dream of Cave Hyenas?
Sometimes waiting for the book is harder than writing it.
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.