Of Castles and Kings
…and those sorts of things…
* Note: this mixes two separate (but not entirely diverse) topics, one of which I was going to blog about last night and one I feel like blogging about right now.
I have a love/hate relationship with getting excited over publishing another book.
I love it because…well, let’s face it…publishing through Lulu is exciting. You don’t have to wait for the chance to get picked from the slush pile, you don’t have to have a million back-and-forths with your editor, you don’t have to wait for anything! As soon as you’re ready, Lulu is ready. (Okay, so once you upload the manuscript, it generally takes the site a little while to process it and get it ready for publication, but based on what I’ve done in the past, it doesn’t take more than ten, twenty minutes tops…not ten or twenty weeks.)
I hate it, I guess, because it makes me examine my shortcomings as a person. I don’t have all the time in the world to write. I don’t have a constant, never ending flow of ideas. And–let’s face it–with my medication, I frequently don’t have the energy to write like I’d like to. And that’s galling, because I get hyped up about publishing, I get hyped up about laying out the book and creating the cover and get everything ready to go…and then I have to wait for my writing to catch up with me. With Broken Road, I have the front and back covers designed, I have the layout started (eleven pages thus far, just with the dedication and copyright and that sort of thing alone)…but I’m still working on the manuscript. I just finished the first third of the book last Wednesday after working on it regularly since November. November! I want to allow myself to type that portion of the manuscript just to feed the inner fire and keep the excitement going, but I won’t let myself, because  I want to get the entire manuscript done before I start typing and  I’m afraid that I’ll get myself incredibly mixed up if I’m typing the first third while I’m still writing the second third.
And now, I’m getting disenchanted with the story.
I suppose it was easy to keep my interest with Aŋpaŋa because of everything that was going on. You had Amihan and Krystállina trying to live their lives as a normal couple, you had them “play acting” at court to keep up the appearance of nobles–even after their pretense was discovered, and you had Yolanda de Courtenay reporting in behind the scenes, leaving you wondering where and when Léi Shēng was going to exact punishment on Amihan for falling in love with a mortal. When you’re dealing with three different stories at once, it’s exciting and keeps your mind moving, especially when you’re plotting out what happens next. But now that I’ve finished Aŋpaŋa, the storyline has slowed down incredibly…and the Royal Factor is completely gone.
I won’t lie…if a book has a Royal Factor (or even a Noble Factor), I’m in love with it. I’ve read all about the Tudors (going all the way back to Elizabeth Woodville, although I don’t think I know as much as I’d like about Jane Seymour), I’ve read several different books on Cleopatra, I own all twenty books in the Royal Diaries series, I devour Carolyn Meyer’s Young Royals…I guess I’m just in love with castles and kings. (Or tribal leaders, in the case of some of the Royal Diaries.) So it’s little surprise that I try to recapture that sort of thing in my books…and that’s probably what led to the gods in Broken Road being referred to as Princes and Duchesses.
I’ve tried to write a book that has top notch Royal Factor–based on a past life I once thought I had, no less–but every time I try to work on it, I get bored with it within a couple of pages and move on to another project. I guess I’m like most people…I like living in that fantasy world, but when it comes to writing about it, I don’t have a great deal of interest.
Anyway, I guess I’m disenchanted with Awakenings I because it’s a lot slower than Aŋpaŋa and doesn’t have as much going on. I have a sort of plan, I know where it’s going to end, but I don’t know if I like the concept at all. It’s turned into one of those situations where I think, “What is the reader going to think when they read this?” and also, “But if I don’t include it, where the hell is this story going?“
And I have no plan for Awakenings II. I know that I want Dao to talk to Amihan about suspecting that the wars and murders and things that the mortals are getting up to isn’t natural, and I know I want him to meet Kōbaiiro, and I’m pretty sure I want to kind of recap/retell the movies before Amihan sends Dao off to find his Aŋpaŋa, but I really have no idea where it’s supposed to go and what’s supposed to happen.
As I wrote all that, I started to think that maybe I should just hold off on the last two thirds of the story. Yes, I want to tell how Dao and Koba met each other and became associated with Amihan and yes, I want Amihan to charge Dao with his mission, but maybe Aŋpaŋa is long enough to be a book by itself. After all, all I set out to do was establish why (in The Blessing Way) Amihan seemed to fall in love with Mariamne so quickly and deeply…I never really planned for anything else.