The synopsis for the book is now available! As is a preview of the prologue of the first book, Dreams. The Pinterest board for the Irin Chronicles is here if you want to check out setting and character inspiration.
Warning: Looooong blog post ahead.
The Staff & the Blade is the next novel in the Irin Chronicles. As I’ve mentioned other places, this story will be Damien and Sari’s. As I’ve also mentioned, it’s giving me headaches. WHY is it giving me headaches, you may ask?
It is a universally acknowledged truth (at least by me) that when you’re writing a fantasy series, the first book is slow-going. Any time you have to build a fictional world, you’re going to have to plan. Some of that planning will happen before you ever start writing, but a lot of that planning will happen as you write because you often don’t know something is going to be an issue until it comes up in the manuscript.
So you stop and start on the first book, as you write and research and make stuff up (cause that’s what we do!), hoping that you’re not inadvertently world-building yourself into a corner you can’t see because that particular fictional room hasn’t been built yet.
Is this making any sense to you guys? It makes sense in my head.
ANYWAY, the first book always takes a long time. One of the reasons I enjoy working in the Elemental series is because there are so many rules already established that it’s easy to navigate where I’m going.
The Irin world? Not so much. It’s really complex and has an inner mythology that’s far more detailed than any of my other series. I love it and I hate it a little, too. Cause hard stuff is hard.
I thought about where I wanted to go after Ava and Malachi’s story. I thought and I thought and I thought some more. Then I drank. Then I thought. And I kept coming back to Damien and Sari. I love them. They’re crazy cool. They’re important. I WANTED to tell their story. It’s an important story, not only for their relationship, but for the series as a whole.
I couldn’t tell their story only going forward. I had to go back.
That meant going back to the Crusades. Back to Orkney, where they first met. Back before the Rending. I can’t tell you how their story ends unless you know how it starts. It just doesn’t make sense any other way.
That also means that I am essentially writing another first book, because The Staff & the Blade starts before everything in the Irin world fractured. It shows what Irin families were like (good and bad) before the Grigori butchered half the population. It shows the world that a (relatively innocent) Sari grew up in, and the world that a (very not innocent) Damien sacrificed a lot to protect.
I’m writing that world, and then I’m writing the Rending and how it all fell to pieces. And then I’m writing why Damien & Sari separated and how they found their way back to each other. The final part of the book will show the way forward for both them and the Irin world.
It’s not one book. It’s kind of four. But I don’t want to write another four book series! That’s too much. It’s more like four novellas. Four novellas/one LONG book. It all goes together, but there are major leaps in time and place that would be awkward in one continuous novel.
That’s how I know it needs to be written. That’s how I’ve planned it. The first “book” is already written. I’m starting on the next part now. The part that’s really giving me headaches is how I’m going to publish it.
And I want to hear from you. I’m going to write the book the way I want to write it. That’s not going to change. But I am genuinely curious how you guys would like to read. Do you want to read it in parts and get those parts sooner, or do you want me to wait and publish it in one massive volume at the end?
(Heads up, this book is going to be around 150K words by my estimate, so it’s going to be well over my usual $4.99 price point simply because of editing costs.)
I’m writing the novellas back to back, so it’s not like this decision is going to make me write faster or slower. Think of it as mini-series vs. long movie. And yes, I’ll be publishing a combined volume at the end, either way. Mainly, this decision will effect price point, cover art, marketing, stuff like that.
SO we come to our poll. Let me hear what you think and I’ll enable comments if you want to add anything.
UPDATED TO ADD: I think a lot of readers are worried that I’m going to change the way I WRITE the story based on what is most popular with readers, and please do not worry about that. (Cause I’m pretty opinionated about the way I write and I love you guys and all, but not that much. <3 ) The story will be written the way I’ve stated above (four linked novellas that tell the course of Damien and Sari’s whole relationship) I am simply curious how you guys would prefer to READ it. I can publish it either way, so that’s why I was curious about your preferences.