Round 3 of editing done – this time, copyediting. Again, less work than I expected – other than quibbling over capitalisation, and changing a line where I’d used the word “down” four times in a dozen words, all relatively clean.
* * *
While going through the book yet again, I’ve assembled a spreadsheet of characters, locations and concepts, which is the sort of thing one should probably do when writing book one, and not when you’re 100,000 words into the sequel. About three quarters of them are references to people or places that actually matter to the books to some degree. Major characters like Cari and Spar and Rat, minor players who show up and then.. well, probably get stabbed and die horrible.
Yep. Of the named characters, more than half suffer a grisly fate to some degree. Then again, I also massacre a lot of nameless bystanders. (Actually, looking at the spreadsheet, the best thing if you want to maximise your survival chances is a wealthy politician or a member of the city watch, which makes sense.)
It’s the other references, the throw-aways that are the really interesting ones to me right now. I’m learning to trust my subconscious a lot more when writing novels – time and again, when I hit a thorny narrative problem, I discover that I’ve already included the solution in some descriptive passage or passing reference, and the key is identifying and amplifying that solution until the problem’s dealt with and we’re moving again. (Book 2 has been a whole thorn-bush, so far). So, while Book 2 explores what it’s like in Ishmere and Haith and Serevast and Lyrix, I don’t have the faintest clue what it’s like in Paravos, or what exactly Jashan is or was, or Firesea, or the Hordingers.
But I’m sure I’ll find out, when I need to.
* * *
Another big column in the spreadsheet is locations in Guerdon itself, so I can map the city when necessary. I have a map in my head, but there are *checks* 50+ named locations in Book 1, and lots more in Book 2.
No doubt few readers will care that you can see Holyhill but not the Church of the Holy Beggar from Gravehill, but gaming’s impressed on me the importance of a sense of place, so to the spreadsheet and the sketch map I go.