I solved my problem with Wraith of Talera and am back on track. I realized that I’d started too “late” in the story and needed a new chapter 1 that takes place before the original chapter 1. I had the idea for the scene already in my head so it practically wrote itself. Today I’m going to go through the rest of the completed chapters and tweak here and there to fit the new stuff I’ve added. That should be pretty easy.
I have a question that mainly is directed at those who’ve read Swords of Talera. In that book, primarily as an homage to previous Sword & Planet writers, I put in fictional “footnotes.” These were little tidbits of information that were separated from the text like regular footnotes. So far, I’ve heard from one reader who thought these were actually pretty awkward. I used fewer “footnotes” across the three books and am trying to decide whether to include them in this new book. I certainly don’t have to do so. Did anyone else find them troublesome at all?
Another thing I’m doing, which I always figured I’d do if the series ran more than three books, is I’m leaving out the introduction where “Charles Allen Gramlich” comments on his meetings with Ruenn Maclang. I used this as a frame for the first trilogy but I think it’s served its purpose. So in the new book we kick right in with Ruenn from page one, although I do have a “What Has Gone Before” piece of two paragraphs telling the reader basically where this book is starting from.
I’m reading an excellent book by Joe Lansdale called Rumble Tumble. For those of you who know something about Lansdale, it’s one of his Hap and Leonard stories, which are straight suspense tales without any overtly fantastic elements. This is one of the better ‘uns in that series.
I also read my first ever Raymond Carver story, “Feathers,” and I have to say I didn’t care for it. The dialogue rang false to me, though perhaps I’ve just never met folks like these. I thought the reaction of the characters to a peacock was all out of proportion to the fact of the bird itself. And nothing really happened. Such stories are always more about subtext than surface text but the subtext here wasn’t really that interesting to me. The style is very simple and unadorned, which I’m sure is intentional, but man it makes me pine for the beautiful prose of someone like James Lee Burke or Cormac McCarthy. I know there are some folks who really love Carver so it’s more likely me that’s the issue. Just not my horn of ale. But I will reserve full judgment until I’ve finished the story collection I’ve started, called Cathedral.