Wolf’s Search (and other projects) Update

Dandy Climbs Mount Manuscript

In case you’re wondering, the stack of paper you see in today’s illustration is indeed related to the new Firekeeper project.  Please keep reading…  There’s a lot more to tell.

When I started writing the book I called Wolf’s Search, I honestly thought I could write a Firekeeper novel that would be manageable as a self-published work.  I still think so, but there have been some changes to my original plan.

Change number one should make most of you who like Firekeeper and her world happy.  The original novel was going to be about 100,000 words – or roughly half the length of one of the longer novels in the series.  Now it’s going to be something in the region of 200,000 words, but published as two separate novels.

Why?  Several reasons, most of which have to do with self-publishing.  As I learned when I produced the e-book reprints of the first six Firekeeper novels, proofing a very long manuscript takes a considerable amount of time.  Even a small handful of changes mean the entire book needs to be reviewed from start to finish because, as anyone who has ever done computer formatting can tell you, glitches repaired may reveal glitches yet unseen.  Trust me on this.

Another reason has to do with the price point on a physical copy of the book.  As I discovered when I produced the print-on-demand versions of Changer and Changer’s Daughter (formerly known as Legends Walking) through CreateSpace, the longer the book, the higher the price per copy.  There is a point where – and Changer and Changer’s Daughter come pretty close to this point – I can’t afford to do a print-on-demand and make back my investment.

When I realized that the story that had started out to be 100,000 words wanted to be a typical Firekeeper novel – that is roughly twice that length — I considered simply putting out a single, longer book.  However, for the reasons mentioned above, I was reluctant.  Moreover, when I reviewed the first six Firekeeper novels, I realized that if they were published today (or forty years ago), each would have been published as two novels.  However, since they came out in the heyday of the Big Fat Fantasy Novel, they came out as one.

As I was anguishing over whether to produce two books or one, something weird happened.

 As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’m an anime fan.  When the first new episodes of a story I am irrationally fond of came out, I pounced.  I didn’t care that there were only twelve episodes.  (A typical season of this series is twenty-four.)  I wanted more of the story.  I didn’t want to wait until all twenty-four were done.

It occurred to me that maybe Firekeeper’s fans felt the same way about a Firekeeper novel.  Maybe they would be happy to get a shorter Wolf’s Search sooner, and a bit later Wolf’s…   Well, I haven’t settled on the title, but I’m thinking about calling it Wolf’s Soul.

So that’s what I’ve decided to do.  Step number one will be writing the entire 200,000 word manuscript.  What you see above is 145,000 words, so I still have a lot more writing to do.  Right now, I’m reviewing what I have written before going into the final writing splurge.

When the entire rough draft is done, then I will polish only the part that will be Wolf’s Search.  While that is in review and production, I will start polishing Wolf’s…  as yet untitled.   I hope you’ll enjoy reading Wolf’s Search and speculating on what is to come, just as I’ve enjoyed watching the first twelve episodes of my anime, and speculating (I’m still waiting and hoping that there will be more) about what is to come.

For those of you who have read this far and are wondering about other projects.  Yes.  As far as I know, I will be writing a new Star Kingdom novel with David Weber.  That is one of the reasons I’m so passionate about making sure that the new Firekeeper novels are written at least in rough draft.  I’m capable of writing prose for one project and editing another, but I find it difficult to write two new projects at the same time.

And, yes, there are other works I want to do.  So very many…  I’ll tell you about them as they come closer to reality.

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20 Responses to “Wolf’s Search (and other projects) Update”

  1. Jake King Says:

    Part of me wants a full length Firekeeper book instead, but I certainly understand why not. In the case of self publishing, it’s certainly better for everyone that you make it however best suits the ability to get it in our hands -and- still make you money. Either way, I’m guaranteed to buy it/them. ;).

    I am, however, curious what anime you are ‘irrationally fond of’, as I’m a big anime fan myself.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Sai Yuki. I can tell you every single flaw, but there’s something that keeps me addicted. I favor the manga over the anime, but I still love the anime and have watched it so very many times.

  2. Forest Wells Says:

    Hmmm, I must admit, I find myself conflicted. I’m dying to read more Firekeeper, but one of the things that drew me to you is your ability to weave complex, and multiple, story lines in a way that made it easy to follow and enjoy, until they all came crashing together for the climax. I can’t help wondering how this style will survive if a completed manuscript is split. Unless, this one is done differently than before. I don’t mean to sound… whatever it is I sound like, but the reader mind is now curious, so please forgive me. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Sarah Harrington and Climbs Quickly either, so I’m excited to see that mentioned.

    Though I’m also curious why Tor wouldn’t want to pick more Firekeeper novels. Seems to me they did fairly well. Unless of course, you’ve decided to go entirely self from here on out. In which cast, never mind.

    On a different note (sort of), it’s refreshing to see someone like yourself taking the same approach I am planning. I have a monster of a sci-fi I’ve been tinkering with since shortly after 9/11. My last “draft” (which was an unfinished revision) was pushing 270k. I have long decided that I’m going to need to split it up, but I don’t have the entire story from beginning to end down and refined yet. So, I’m going to do what you are; write that complete story, then split it, and focus on book 1 of the split. Not sure exactly how I’m going to split it yet, but one headache at a time here.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Tor felt the fans didn’t care enough about Firekeeper anymore and dropped the series.

      As for the rest, you can wait and see, but I think you’ll find the structure satisfying. I’m still me at any length. I can’t write simple.

      • Jake King Says:

        Speaking for myself, I’m glad for that. The complexity of the Firekeeper series has always been one of it’s best hallmarks. I just recently read Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles, and it reminded me somewhat of your style in Firekeeper. Though there were obviously differences, it had me hooked in a level I’ve not really experienced, since, well, The First 3 Firekeep novels.

      • Kayla Harrington Says:

        Crazy to think that anyone who’s read Firekeeper would ever stop caring (I think Tor is wrong there) but I guess the series is sometimes wildly underappreciated/known. Publishing and the entertainment industry are so weird–I’ve read better-known authors with half your skill and it just doesn’t make sense.

        Even though markets are unpredictable and strange, know that your books are high caliber and you have made some great contributions to literature.

  3. Katie Says:

    Yay! Yay! Yay!

    I like Big Fat Books. I like short books. I really like the idea of getting more Firekeeper sooner. Go Jane go!

  4. Sue Estell Says:

    I’m with Katie!

  5. Sara Says:

    Even though Wolf’s Blood tied things up neatly, I’ve always wished for more of Firekeeper and Blind Seer’s adventures. The world you created was just so rich and large that I have wanted more of it since finishing the series. I’m so excited for fresh content no matter the format!

  6. John C Says:

    This is wonderful, exciting news. (Thank you for making sure the story is worked out ahead of time. I’ve been waiting for the third book in the Name of the Wind series for a … long time.)

    As a print-first reader, I am glad to know that you’re making sure the books will be rewarding for you as well.

  7. futurespastsite Says:

    I just want more Lindskold/Wolf books. I’ll probably be happier with two than even a big single one.

  8. Harried Harry Says:

    Since I recently reread the entire series of the Firekeeper storyline, I’m also waiting for the next book. I enjoy David Weber’s stories but how he manages to keep six or more different story lines going is mind boggling. Seeing the stack you have reminds me of the work I used to do eons ago. I would do management studies which were several hundred pages in length, then need to add all the graphs, revise the fonts, etc. Very challenging work. Writing a novel is much more daunting ( to me anyway) since you are creating the world scene from within your mind. Trying to keep track of it and ensuring the continuity remains, is just a lot of mind slogging effort.

    Keep up the great effort and we’ll take the stories in whatever way you can get them to us. I have an e-reader, but (with my eyesight) I prefer to read from hard copy. My son’s only use their e-readers since it cuts down on the clutter.

    Baen publisher’s issues part of a new book (e-Arc) as it gets completed and before the final work is done on the next section. They do charge for this “early release” system, but the readers get to see what is coming next. A month or two later the next part comes out till the whole book is ready for publication. You might consider this type of “installment” method for publishing some of your books. Reminds me of some of the early western stories, they were published in sequences like this to entice buyers for the next month or quarter.

    Enjoy your writing time, I know I really enjoy reading what you are doing and how you are doing things. The more I read, the more I recognize how different writer’s write but they all try to do their best to entertain and to have a story people can relate with and enjoy reading.

    (I’m sorry if I’m so wordy, but my wife says I’ve always talked too much.)

    • janelindskold Says:

      Thanks for the thought about e-arcs. Maybe I’ll try this in the future, but I don’t have Baen’s resources, financial or time or personnel, so just getting a complete book done is the mountain I’m set to climb at this point.

      Having worked with Weber, and known him since just about the beginning of his career, I share your admiration for his ability to keep a complex universe and its evolution straight. These days, he does have help… And he’s the first to acknowledge this. Part of his generous nature.

  9. futurespastsite Says:

    I hadn’t heard of e-arcs (haven’t been to the Baen site for a while), but, very interesting. Sounds a little like the old weekly movie serials.

  10. Harried Harry Says:

    This popped up in my email, but it, along with the comments, is well worth re-reading. I’m sure many people fail to understand just how challenging writing a book can be. Keep going! We’ll enjoy the Firekeeper stories whenever you have them ready. Just ensure they are available for e-readers since a lot of people only read stories this way.

  11. Ashlee Says:

    Hi! A little late to the party, but I’ve recently been rereading the Firekeeper series (I’m on Wolf’s Blood right now!) for the millionth time, and I had been wondering if there was ever going to be a continuation. Then I saw this blog post and let me just say, I am SUPER excited!

    I first found Firekeeper when I was about 13 (so almost 15 years ago) when I happened to pick up The Dragon of Despair in a Wal-Mart on the way home from a vacation in Texas. I needed something to read on the plane ride home, you know. I was a bit dismayed to learn it was the third in a series after I read it, but I immediately started scouring everywhere to find the first two books. I was hooked. I fell absolutely in love with all the characters and the plot and the writing and the world and just everything. A bit embarrassing, but “Firekeeper” even became my Internet handle on a lot of sites, that’s how much I loved this series.

    Rambling and gushing praise aside, I’m super excited to know Firekeeper and company haven’t been forgotten. Even if the two continuations don’t go out as planned (though I sincerely hope they do, I need more of the pack’s adventures!), thanks for updating and letting us know Firekeeper is still alive and well! So thanks and good luck–there’s still at least one of us out here eager to devour your writings!

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