I apologize for the relative deadness around here, I know it has been a few weeks since I wrote anything. Things have been progressing well with “The Splitting of Heaven”, but at a much slower rate than expected. This, ultimately, will be a good thing because it means that I’m really trying to develop the book to be the best that it can be, but it also means my avid readers will have to wait just a bit longer to read it (sorry, I know, I’m terrible).
Generally speaking, I am spending a great deal of time adding more description to the worlds and environments that the characters are exploring in this novel, which was something desperately lacking in the first two drafts. As my wife put it (after reading through the second draft) none of the worlds were very memorable, mainly because the descriptions of them were severely lacking. Even as I’ve been working through the edits, producing the 3rd draft, I’ve also noticed this lack of world-building and recognized the opportunity to make improvements.
As fate would have it, I’ve also become obsessed with a novel which might have the most compelling environmental descriptions I’ve ever read (it’s called “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova). Never in my life have I been so thoroughly transported to the scenes in a book than during the past two weeks. Sure, I’ve read plenty of novels that have immersed me in their world and their drama, capturing my interest fully, but never with such elegant description as this one. It has shown me, in a relatively short amount of time, what adequate descriptions of the scenes can do for the story as a whole. Instead of boring generalizations about how amazing the planets are in “The Splitting of Heaven”, I’ve discovered (or really rediscovered) that to show is so much better than to tell. Why simply say that the planet is beautiful when doing so deprives my readers of going there themselves, allowing them to determine the inherent beauty in such a place. Why not immerse them into the scene the way Kostova has immersed me in her novel, and allow the reader to take in the grandeur on their own. In the end, each of you will envision the worlds a bit differently from one another or even myself, but that is your right as a reader. You should determine what the world is like aesthetically based on the framework I give; a framework built elegantly and described with care and precision.
As such, I’m sorry (or not so sorry) to say that the release of the book will continue to be delayed. I have completed close to half of the edits made, but have also been making many changes of my own because of this newfound desire to give more description. There is an old adage in the writing world that says in order to be a great writer, you must also be a great reader, and although I accepted this idea at face value, I’ve truly come to appreciate its meaning. “The Historian” has shown me, unequivocally, that I can do better than I have been, and I can give my readers something more worthwhile than what I had previously.
As of now, I’m not going to set a release date because clearly that approach isn’t working. All it does is stress me out when I eventually don’t make the deadline, and makes me look disorganized or like I’m not actually working (I promise, I’m not slacking off, it’s just taking a lot more time than anticipated). As such, I’m going to set a different kind of goal. Instead of saying it will be ready by such-and-such date, I’ve set a goal to work on editing for at least 1 hour every day during the week and at least 6 hours total over the weekends. This goal is much more doable for me, given my stressful working conditions, and will ultimately speed up the process. I hope to have the book ready for you within a few weeks, but I cannot promise that given my track record of delays.
Once I have finished the 3rd draft my wife will read through it one more time to check for any errors or inconsistencies, and may provide some light edits for the final draft. Once the final draft is ready, I have enlisted three of my most trusted friends/fans to read through the book before it’s officially published. The idea here is that three new sets of eyes on the book will likely catch most (dare I say all?) of the typos, missing words, formatting errors, and incorrect punctuation that my wife and I have likely missed or overlooked. The greatest criticism of the first book has been the appearance of typos and missing words (many of which I have marked for when we put out the second edition), so this time around we are taking additional measures to combat that issue.
All in all, I hope that you, my dear and precious reader, can patiently wait a few more weeks for us to really put the finishing touches on “The Splitting of Heaven” before you give up on me completely. I promise you will not be disappointed with the results, and I suspect you will soon be clamoring for the third installment (hopefully enough that you continue to tell your friends about my series so I can start writing full time?? Thereby reducing the time it takes to produce that third novel??? Just saying…)