Another installment of your BEHIND THE SCENES look at The City of Shadow & Dust:
Here's a question I get all the time.
- - - - Do you know the content of every book in the series before you started writing?
Yes. If there's something I've learned while writing these last 4 novels, it's that outlining and preparation are just as important, if not more, than the actual writing. Revision is a whole different story. That's where the magic happens, but in terms of pure narrative construction, outlining is king.
In other words, I've already planned out all 12 novels in the series. Images from every novel are stuck in my mind until I release them. Only I can enjoy and cherish them for now...you know, until I release them upon the world.
So What's Literary About The City of Shadow & Dust? Don't you just write stories?
You're right. I practice what I preach, which is focus on the narrative. Nothing else. So "writing a good story" is my main goal, but that's during outlining and drafting. During the revision process, I take liberties. I add things. I let the teacher in me go wild. That's where I get my literary fun.
If you know me, you know I like literary things. You may not see them all the time, but if you look deep inside the novels and my writing style, you'll see allusions, purposeful formatting quirks, themes, and techniques that I've magically inserted for your enjoyment. Consider them something like Easter Eggs for literary nerds.
There is a Chaucerian feel to the first 5 novels in the series, as each novel sets up another one of the Ruganon's All-Star cast - 1) The Prophet, 2) The Shadow Warrior, 3) The Prescient, 4) The Key Maker, and 5) The Musician. All play a critical role in the latter novels of the series, but each character and each of their conflicts bring forth their own narrative, their own choices, and their own worries.
Book 6 will be the first novel where the group works together for the common goal of unleashing the monster. Yes, it's kind of like my own extended AVENGERS movie-book.
But until then, you will be introduced to every one of these characters slowly. You will be introduced to what makes them tick, why they do what they do, their reasoning for joining the group, etc. They all have their own unique views and their own independent talents that will prove critical to taking down the Shadow King.
Alongside the all-encompassing map of The Great Range, you'll also be getting in-depth microcosmic maps that detail the regions where our protagonists originate, specific to whatever book you are reading at that time. Each map has its own cultural significance and is filled with details previously unknown. Each map also plays a bigger role in the finality of the big story...you know, stuff I can't reveal just yet.
There's a lot to look forward to, both from my perspective and yours. It's a big project, but so much fun. I'm nearly bursting at the seams with good ideas. Just you wait...