First, I apologize to anyone who liked the book and was anticipating the sequel, but I really think it might never happen. What might — and I have to emphasize might — happen is a rewrite telling the whole story from Lyn meeting Taliza to them kicking the combined Neo-Imperialist and Krishodi forces out of that bit of the galaxy. But given my current works-in-progress list, you’re looking at, probably, 2019 at the earliest before you’d see that. If ever. Sorry.
Now, the short reason why I may never write the sequel: There shouldn’t have needed to be a sequel. The book should’ve been longer, but I was an idiot and rushed it out instead of taking the time to make it better and complete.
The longer reason: Crown of Eldrete was, in many ways, not the book it should’ve been. It should’ve been a simple, straight-forward action-adventure. The best bits, in my opinion, are the ones that are. The time they fight a giant insect. The time they fight the robot. The discussion of the way Lyn flies. The bits, in other words, that show that I have an unabashed love for things like early Drizzt books and honest-to-Gygax dungeon crawls and Voltron and Star Wars (even the prequels.) In a lot of ways, this is the same issue I talked about in this blogpost: http://sblog.universal-nexus.com/in-defense-of-fun/ Actually, no. It’s the exact same issue. Again. Fuck me. Maybe this time I’ll learn this lesson for good.
Crown of Eldrete didn’t need the bit with Lyn’s dad being disappointed in her. (Besides, on a meta level he has no fucking right to criticize her actions in the story because he’s certainly done stupider things. The moment you charge a nine-foot-tall creature with one-foot-claws with nothing but a katana you lose the right to call anyone else reckless!) I’m not convinced completely it needed the bits with Taliza and she discussing how much they missed their significant others. Maybe if the book had been novel length, where I have more space to introduce and resolve subplots, but as it is, they end up just kind of pushed in, intruding on the adventure. (In my opinion, anyway. And I’m the one who’d have to write the sequel, so . . .)
It also suffered because I wasn’t willing to make drastic changes when I revised it. That is wholly the fault of some very bad advice I believed at the time, advice that I wouldn’t have believed if I’d taken three seconds to think about it. Oh well. Live and learn.
Another problem is probably that (I just discovered this) the first three scenes were written in June 2012, most of the rest in November of that year, about 1700 words in February, and then the last few thousand words in April 2013. It was written that broken up, and I didn’t give it serious revisions. Ugh! To put this in more perspective, the way I’ve got iBooks set up it’s 84 pages right now, not counting the endnotes. Pages 71 through 84 were written almost a year after 5 through 7 . . . the first ones that aren’t things like the copyright notice. And then I didn’t revise much. Do you know how much an author’s style can change in a year? Especially that early in their career?
Especially when she’s being an idiot and half-trying to write a story that’ll have the approval of the nebulous Them that decrees what is and isn’t good instead of one she’ll enjoy?
Now, just to show how much my style has changed since I started writing this back in 2012. Or rather, to show how I’ve always written when I wasn’t being an idiot and worrying about stupid shit and was instead just getting out of the way and letting the story be told, here’s the beginning as it was, and as it’d be if I ever rewrote it. (Really though, don’t get your hopes up for this. This isn’t like Jake’s Last Mission where I just need to expand things that were already there and add scenes that make things make more sense but where the plot is good as it it, or like “Once A Hero” where I had a good plot and characterization and everything and the flaws were mostly technical (That fixing the technical flaws by switching it to first also smoothed out some of the more awkward bits in the plot was an unexpected side effect.); this is . . . if I expanded this into a novel, I’d probably redo about half the plot. And I’ve already got plenty of things to work on without fucking about with a story that no one ever wants to pay for.)
The old version:
“You’re a guardian faeshir, aren’t you?” Lyndsey asked, seeing the expert swordsmanship of the rebel woman fighting by her side. And a Kavaliro, or at least someone who learned from one, at that, she thought, but didn’t say in case she was wrong.
“I was the junior guardian faeshir at the local temple until these bastards took it,” she paused as she sent yet another foe to meet the spirits. “Name’s Taliza Kavaliro.”
Lyndsey grinned as she dispatched two more of the Neo-Imperialists. “Lyndsey Katherine Kavaliro-Blue, at your service.” She inclined her head slightly as she said it, the closest she could come in current circumstances to her usual bow with a flourish.
Taliza’s smile broadened. “Cousins, then?”
“Probably of some sort. I’m Kalem’s great-great-granddaughter, ” Lyndsey said, stabbing a foe in the heart.
“And I’m Mina’s … Kalem’s sister,” the young faeshir said as she disemboweled the final Neo-Imperialist. “Messy. I always hate doing that.”
“The way he was coming at you, what choice did you have?” Lyndsey asked, wiping her blade carefully before sheathing it.
“True,” Taliza said sadly as she recited prayers over their fallen foes. Lyndsey stayed respectfully quiet, though she followed a different religious path herself.
The new version:
There was something familiar about the way the woman at my side was wielding her sword. I kept glancing over at her whenever I wasn’t busy with my own foes, trying to put my finger on it. It wasn’t Ruvellian fencing or kenjutsu or Aslith fencing, the three styles I’ve seen the most. As she smoothly sliced across a Neo-Imperialists mid-section, I realized where I’d seen it before. “Where’d ya learn Kavaliro Faeshir Swordart?” I asked. I knew a bit of the style myself — Grandpa wasn’t about to let a family legacy die just because none of us had been faeshir in generations, but had never seen anyone outside my immediate family use it.
The tall, slender woman answered with a bit of a smile, “I am a Kavaliro, and a faeshir.”
“Really?” I asked, almost absent-mindedly killing — or at least wounding enough that they were out of the fight, and that was good enough for me right then — two more Neos.
“Yeah. Taliza Kavaliro. Junior . . . senior,” her voice broke a bit as she corrected herself, “guardian faeshir at this world’s major temple.”
Bowing my head slightly — I was not about to do my normal, deep, flourishing bow in the middle of a fight, even one as easy as this one was proving to be — I introduced myself. “Lyndsey Katherine Kavaliro-Blue, Kalem’s great-great-granddaughter. I think. Might be another great in there.”
She disemboweled the final Neo-Imperialist swiftly with a grimace, then said, “I’m Mina’s great-great-granddaughter. His sister. So I guess we’re cousins of some kind?”
“Sounds that way,” I said, making my way to the chest they’d been trying so hard to keep us away from.
My newfound cousin took an idol out of her pocket and started whispering prayers over the dead. I stopped what I was doing and stood respectfully silent, though as far as I know my gods don’t give a damn if I pray over the people I’ve just killed or not.
And that was fun enough that this just might find it’s way onto my to-do list. Might, still, though. This bit just needed rewritten. Once I get to the part where the plot falls apart, I’d basically have to start over from scratch. So maybe I’ll just write something else from Lyn’s POV, because that’s what made it fun.