Writing Queenslayer

Queenslayer is the fifth book in the Spellslinger Series.

Story Journals are where I talk about the writing of the books I’m working on. I update these with the latest content at the top, so start from the bottom if this is new to you.

January 7th – Copyedits Done!

Generally speaking, I actually enjoy going through the copyedit. I love seeing how a talented desk editor like Talya Baker finds the little rough edges that need smoothing, the lines that need more sparkling. Of course, then there’s the continuity issues, which drive me crazy, but fortunately there wasn’t too much trouble on that front with Queenslayer.

November 28th – Final Stages

In a couple of days I’ll beging the final pass of the book, after which it goes to copyedit and then proofs. The big challenge for me right now is just to make sure I’m tightening every up as much as possible so that I’ve got room for some of the additional moments I’ve got planned.

November 21st – A Very Dark Scene

The past couple of weeks have been something of a holding pattern for Queenslayer as my editor and I navigate a particular scene in the book that is both darker than anything that’s come before and also

The past couple of weeks have been something of a holding pattern for Queenslayer as my editor and I navigate a particular scene in the book that is both darker than anything that’s come before and also one that deals with more problematic subjects. There’s a tension between the best version of the story being one that might also be difficult for some readers. The challenge for me is to find the way of expressing the dramatic underpinnings of the scene that’s mindful of those broader publishing issues but without compromising the emotional integrity of the book.

Wow – that sounds really pompous. Basically, there’s a scene that might be just too much for some readers. Now I’ve got to make it work without undercutting the very reasons why I wrote it in the first place.

November 5th – First Revision Pass Done

First pass is done, which means I’ve gone through and looked at every sentence but my primary focus as been for flow and dealing with any consistency issues with the previous books. It’s always tricky with a character who’s both growing through his teenage years and has to deal with all the hard travels that Kellen does because it means his narrative voice and point of view evolves between books, but I still need him to be recognizable. Reichis is a little darker too in this book, but that’s just ‘cause he’s a mean little bugger.

October 17th – Tweaking the first act.

I’ve become somewhat obsessive about prose lately – going back over the same lines repeatedly until I’m sure they’re as close to perfect as I’m capable of achieving. It’s not the most efficient way to proceed, but I like the feeling that each major section of a book (I

I’ve become somewhat obsessive about prose lately – going back over the same lines repeatedly until I’m sure they’re as close to perfect as I’m capable of achieving. It’s not the most efficient way to proceed, but I like the feeling that each major section of a book (I tend to write in either four or six acts) is truly finished before moving on. In this case, it’s mostly minor stuff, but it’s all important to me.

September 14th – By the gods of sea and sky, Kellen is a mean bastard . . .

Making a number of tonal changes to the story. When I first wrote Queenslayer years ago, Kellen was really callous and hard-bitten. I still want a bit of that edge to him (after all, he’s been hunted by his people ever since he got the Shadowblack), but I also want that vulnerability that’s so key to his character. Also, man is Reichis ever evil in this book. That part I’m not changing, though. He is a squirrel cat, after all.

August 21st, 2018 – Okay . . . how do I do this now?

Queenslayer was actually the first Spellslinger book I wrote. I’d wanted to write about an outlaw mage with a lousy life – no money, no prospects, hunted by his people and abused by his mean-spirited “business partner”. However when it was time to go to a series, everyone agreed we needed to see Kellen’s origins, and so the earlier books came to life. Since Queenslayer’s already written, this should be easy, right? Piece of cake. Just a tweak here or there for continuity . . .

Nope. I’ve got to go line by line, page by page, and chapter by chapter to figure out what the book wants to be now, and not what it was when I first wrote it.

Still, it sure is fun to read just how much of a jerk Reichis was in that book.

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