Thank you, those of you who have been asking about the sequel to Reconquista and especially to those of you who have already signed up to purchase a copy before it is even published (it was quite a boost seeing that folk had actually pre-ordered online). I must apologise for the delay in production and, I fear, it will be Autumn this year before it eventually emerges (not May, as I had hoped).
The first part of the book is being sent to my editor later this week and I am currently working on Parts II and III, yet again. By now the plot is fixed and events happen in a certain order (I have switched some around and then switched some back again). The characters are who they are, progressing from the first book, though they are all somewhat older and wiser than when that book began. It is in Book II that they finally come to terms with what has happened to them and who they are as people. Of course there are new characters too and new plotlines. (I fully expect to be told that I already have more than enough characters, I always tend towards having too many rather than too few, but I have tried to keep the numbers down.)
I have also spent some time in the mountains where much of the action in Part II of the book occurs, which has been very helpful, especially in regard to sensory information (see Journey through the Pinsapar). As a lover of maps I have enjoyed happy hours plotting the various journeys of my heroes and calling to mind the terrain, what they would most likely see, smell and hear. Let’s hope I’ve managed to capture this in the writing. I know that some English-speaking Spanish friends familiar with that area will be reading the book, so I have to get this right.
Yet this is not, of course, the end of the process. However much I think I have come close to the final, publishable version, my editor is unlikely to agree. Writer friends, more experienced than I, have stories of receiving suggestions for radical changes to their hard-won plots and characters (let alone red-penned pages) which have driven them demented, though they know that their editors have the quality of their work at heart. Of course, there is also the commercial imperative and in-house editors might have more of an eye to that ( see To Cut a Short Story Long ). I will, most certainly, wait with anticipation for the return of my manuscript, anxious to see what a pair of professional editing eyes have seen in it ( hoping for the best – praise – and preparing for the worst – major rewrites ). My creation is in the hands of someone else.
Reconquista II ( I still don’t have a title ) is slowly inching towards publication. I find, looking back, I have written about much of that journey, from research to The First Draft, to my own Editing. I have, somewhat unwittingly, become a writer who writes about writing books. As I said, more than two hundred posts ago, before I began writing I had used to be irritated, as a reader, by those writers who wanted to write about the process of writing. I saw it as a navel-gazing exercise. I’m not alone. Margaret Attwood regards writing about writing as ‘worse, in the futility department‘, Stephen King says ‘Most books about writing are filled with bullshit…‘
Nonetheless, writers do it. The New York Times famous Writers on Writing column has been collected into a database of U.S. writers on writing, so there’s plenty to get one’s teeth into there, let alone dip into the many ‘How to Write’ books which populate an already crowded market. My occasional forays into writing about the creation of Reconquista II pale into insignificance, something, I think, for which I am grateful.
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