Major progress on The Tainted Sliver continues with a great deal of polishing done since I last posted about it. At this rate I should be done in November unless something completely throws me off course, just in time for a Christmas release! It's shaping up to be a big one, being already 93k words, and that's only the 2/3 of the story that are more or less set in stone. The last several chapters have been written for a while but will require substantial editing to mesh with all that has changed in the earlier parts, so I wouldn't be suprised if this came in at 120k words or more. Considering that my first novel came in at a mere 66k words and the sequel was 73k, you can see why I couldn't finish this in a year like I had originally planned. Simply put, there was just too much ground to cover in this one to get the story the way I wanted it. It's almost enough for me to break my 99 cent pricing plan, but as I continually remind myself I'm writing these stories for the much needed experience and for the fun of it. While I one day hope to make a living as a writer, for now it is not about the money (but seriously, if any fans can hook me up with a publishing contract or a couple of movie deals let me know).
Here's what has been going on with the third installment of Tales from the Green:
I began this book two years ago immediately after finishing The Wizard's Tome. While the first book was an introduction to the characters and setting of the Green and the second was a simple here-to-there adventure tale to show Alex as he found his stride as the bearer of the Sword of Oaks, I had something a little grander in mind for book 3. However, time and again I found myself completely unsatisfied where the story was going. The first attempt at The Tainted Sliver played out a lot like The Wizard's Tome: essentially Alex and the gang would hear of some new threat and go jetting off across the Green to confront it. There would be new characters and new villians but all in all it was more of the same. After a couple thousand words I scrapped the whole thing, keeping only the basic concepts for what I wanted to happen at the end of the book.
After months of writer's block in which I played around with some other projects, which turned out to be the best thing for me. Not only do I have a stable full of half-started and even some half-finished novels and short stories to one day develop more fully, the break was what I needed to come back fresh to Tales from the Green. I started on a whole new version of The Tainted Sliver, this time focusing more on Alex dealing with elven society and the trouble that brings. It has been touched upon briefly in the first two books that the elves once had a great empire that was destroyed and that there is some political turmoil as some of the tribes don't support the king, but until now I had never really gone into it.
As I've mentioned before in other blog posts the last year has basically been one rewrite after another. I could have conceivably released a book on Amazon months ago, but it would have been rather mediocre by my standards had I jumped the gun. It would've been a short but fun read and the story would not have really advanced in any real way. The extra time spent on this have accomplished a great deal; not only have I come a long way in developing my characters, the setting has come a loooong way as well. I solidified the cultures of the different elf tribes, the politics of it all, and which supposed bad guys might be good and which supposed good guys might be bad. Worry not: the book will not be an encyclopedia of ficticious elven history, but all of this was necessary to get right in my head to create the backdrop for the main plot. I believe that the end result will be a much fuller and satisfying read.