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A note to the author about the new book

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A note to the author about the new book
Post by Njolma   » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:12 pm

Njolma
Midshipman

Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:01 am

First of all i want to say that your books are the reason i read scifi. Working as a security guard over nights i found the in fury born hardback and being bored i read it. Since then scifi has been my genre and safehold is by FAR my favorite series you are working on still. That said i feel somewhat cheated by fiery trials. I understand this book is house cleaning and laying the ground for the next story arc and im fine with that but we didn't even get a description of merlins wedding we got blindsided by him(her?) Adopting two kids. You killed the archbishop of glacerheart off screen as well as several other characters without so much as a howdy do. I love your work and i will preorder the next book from 90% of your series still but please remember that these characters have meaning to us and if their story must end or change we want to be part of those events. Even just a flashback with a brief description is enough i dont need 70 pages of a wedding i just want to have enough i can feel i was part of it. Your work inspires me and brings joy to my life keep up the amazingness that is your stories. Thank you for your time.

An adoring fan
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Re: A note to the author about the new book
Post by runsforcelery   » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:49 pm

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

Njolma wrote:First of all i want to say that your books are the reason i read scifi. Working as a security guard over nights i found the in fury born hardback and being bored i read it. Since then scifi has been my genre and safehold is by FAR my favorite series you are working on still. That said i feel somewhat cheated by fiery trials. I understand this book is house cleaning and laying the ground for the next story arc and im fine with that but we didn't even get a description of merlins wedding we got blindsided by him(her?) Adopting two kids. You killed the archbishop of glacerheart off screen as well as several other characters without so much as a howdy do. I love your work and i will preorder the next book from 90% of your series still but please remember that these characters have meaning to us and if their story must end or change we want to be part of those events. Even just a flashback with a brief description is enough i dont need 70 pages of a wedding i just want to have enough i can feel i was part of it. Your work inspires me and brings joy to my life keep up the amazingness that is your stories. Thank you for your time.

An adoring fan



First, let me thank you for the very kind words. I can't tell you how good it makes a writer feel when someone tells him that his characters are important to them.

Once upon a time, I had Merlin and Nynian's entire wedding in the manuscript. It might still turn up somewhere in a piece of short fiction. However, I was looking at the number and the intensity of weddings, deaths, and other relationships in this book, and I decided — rightly or wrongly — that I would deliberately make a handful of the most important ones happen offstage. I did that for a couple of reasons. One (and not the most important) was to control word count. A more important one was to pick and choose so as to avoid (or at least limit) the "overload quotient" on those affairs. Another was to make you, the reader, feel the transitory nature of life on behalf of my characters. Archbishop Zhasyn, for example. You knew that character, you loved that character, and having him die — or, having you learn that he's already died, and how — has a totally different sort of impact when it's one of the in-universe characters reflecting on it, recognizing the cost, than when I put it front and center. (If you've read the Honor Harrington books, that's one of the reasons that Alistair McKeon dies "off stage" --- so that the reader gets to see the shock effect through Honor's eyes without any "pump priming" on my part first.) As far as Nynian and Merlin's wedding is concerned, I sort of had to pick and choose between Nimue's struggle with her emotions where Koryn was concerned or Merlin's acceptance of his (and his total acceptance of his male personality) on stage. I've spent so much more time with Merlin and Nynian that I felt it was appropriate to give Nimue the stage for that aspect of Nimue Alban's journey but that I'd be venturing into overkill territory. Moreover, I think the "what did you say?" effect for the reader is greater in seeing Merlin and Nynian in a settled relationship that happened offstage. Besides, having them already settled into their marriage before Nynian is counseling Nimue was an important part of the emotional evolution for me.

The bottom line is that even being far more ruthless than I usually am in cutting back on the interpersonal scenes, this was a big book. It had to cover a lot of ground chronologically, it had to set the foundation for what follows, and it was always going to be primarily a lot more about characters and the spread of industrialization (and its societal impacts) than about military conflict. I had to balance the relative importance of scenes I knew a lot of readers would want to see, and I'm sure I didn't hit exactly the right balance for anyone. If you'd wanted another 100,000 words or so, I probably could have, though! :lol:


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: A note to the author about the new book
Post by roboz6   » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:01 pm

roboz6
Midshipman

Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:45 pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Bravo David. I think your call on this was spot on. Whilst Merlin and Nynian's wedding would have been great, I agree with you that giving Nimue and Koryn centre stage and the heart and sole searching which accompanied it was much better "theatre".
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Re: A note to the author about the new book
Post by Njolma   » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:14 pm

Njolma
Midshipman

Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:01 am

Thank you so much for the personal reply. I for one would gladly take another 10,000 words but then again i read the whole series over again before i let myself read the new book. I do read the honor books and i loved the way you handled McKeons death. I agree the change of delivery method does change the impact that being said hearing that changed my view on the archbishop. Also these observations are not meant as criticism. If you do release it as a short story ill be first in line. I just found myself actually yelling at my book (my long suffering wife was not surprised) because i wanted MORE. To my mind the nimue romance came off a little i wanna say forced but thats not really right more of a sudden development i absolutely want more of "her" story and aside from a minute of ohhh he loves her (which honestly now that i think of it is how it came at her) was an amazing expansion on her character. Them choosing to have a child also was an inspired choice that really drives home how this war differs from the gbaba.

TLDR : seeing your point of view on this actually changed how i see it. I still want the wedding tho
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Re: A note to the author about the new book
Post by SilverbladeTE   » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:57 am

SilverbladeTE
Lieutenant Commander

Posts: 137
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:14 am

Since I read only digital books nowadays (small print is a headache-brewing nightmare), I and I suspect many others would love to have longer books! :D

I guess there's financial etc issues, but digital removes the damnable practical limits that have bedevilled authors and readers for centuries.
Also could allow short/long versions as I know some folks don't like expanded versions (but I do, a good book is a delight)
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Re: A note to the author about the new book
Post by Meshakhad   » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:06 pm

Meshakhad
Lieutenant (Senior Grade)

Posts: 87
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 6:19 pm

Actually, I think the Safehold series could do with a "Worlds of Honor" style short story compendium. You could include Merlin and Nynian's wedding, along with other side stories that aren't necessary, but help flesh out the setting more. Backstory on Harchong and Siddarmark, some of the tales of Saint Kohdy, Nahrmann studying Terran history with Owl...
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Re: A note to the author about the new book
Post by Kurremkarmerruk   » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:19 pm

Kurremkarmerruk
Midshipman

Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:41 pm

I had to balance the relative importance of scenes I knew a lot of readers would want to see, and I'm sure I didn't hit exactly the right balance for anyone. If you'd wanted another 100,000 words or so, I probably could have, though! :lol:


I'm not sure why you chose the 'LOL' emoji to end that, because I'm pretty sure I can speak for everyone on the forum when I say "Hell, yes, we want another 100,000 words!"
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Re: A note to the author about the new book
Post by isaac_newton   » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:17 am

isaac_newton
Commodore

Posts: 832
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:37 am
Location: Brighton, UK

Kurremkarmerruk wrote:
I had to balance the relative importance of scenes I knew a lot of readers would want to see, and I'm sure I didn't hit exactly the right balance for anyone. If you'd wanted another 100,000 words or so, I probably could have, though! :lol:


I'm not sure why you chose the 'LOL' emoji to end that, because I'm pretty sure I can speak for everyone on the forum when I say "Hell, yes, we want another 100,000 words!"



Haha - indeed!

though of course, the 100,000 words I would like to see might not be quite the same as yours :-)
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Re: A note to the author about the new book
Post by Bluesqueak   » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:10 am

Bluesqueak
Captain (Junior Grade)

Posts: 327
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2016 2:04 pm

runsforcelery wrote:
Once upon a time, I had Merlin and Nynian's entire wedding in the manuscript. It might still turn up somewhere in a piece of short fiction. However, I was looking at the number and the intensity of weddings, deaths, and other relationships in this book, and I decided — rightly or wrongly — that I would deliberately make a handful of the most important ones happen offstage. I did that for a couple of reasons. One (and not the most important) was to control word count. A more important one was to pick and choose so as to avoid (or at least limit) the "overload quotient" on those affairs. Another was to make you, the reader, feel the transitory nature of life on behalf of my characters. Archbishop Zhasyn, for example. You knew that character, you loved that character, and having him die — or, having you learn that he's already died, and how — has a totally different sort of impact when it's one of the in-universe characters reflecting on it, recognizing the cost, than when I put it front and center. (If you've read the Honor Harrington books, that's one of the reasons that Alistair McKeon dies "off stage" --- so that the reader gets to see the shock effect through Honor's eyes without any "pump priming" on my part first.) As far as Nynian and Merlin's wedding is concerned, I sort of had to pick and choose between Nimue's struggle with her emotions where Koryn was concerned or Merlin's acceptance of his (and his total acceptance of his male personality) on stage. I've spent so much more time with Merlin and Nynian that I felt it was appropriate to give Nimue the stage for that aspect of Nimue Alban's journey but that I'd be venturing into overkill territory. Moreover, I think the "what did you say?" effect for the reader is greater in seeing Merlin and Nynian in a settled relationship that happened offstage. Besides, having them already settled into their marriage before Nynian is counseling Nimue was an important part of the emotional evolution for me.


I think you made the right calls on these and other decisions - much as I love Archbishop Zhasyn, learning of his death wasn't a surprise, given how frail he was getting in At the Sign of Triumph. And keeping Nynian and Merlin's wedding offstage meant that using the Christian, rather than COGA, marriage service for Alannah and Lywys' wedding WAS a surprise.

:)
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Re: A note to the author about the new book
Post by Keith_w   » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:25 am

Keith_w
Commodore

Posts: 929
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:10 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Meshakhad wrote:Actually, I think the Safehold series could do with a "Worlds of Honor" style short story compendium. You could include Merlin and Nynian's wedding, along with other side stories that aren't necessary, but help flesh out the setting more. Backstory on Harchong and Siddarmark, some of the tales of Saint Kohdy, Nahrmann studying Terran history with Owl...


As much as I would love to see many of these stories, please stop giving him ideas that would slow down the production of mainline books. Unless of course it was just an "outtakes" book of stuff that he decided didn't fit in the mainline book ;)
--
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
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