Month 58 Report

Drowned Trees

Hot, But Just Write

It’s been a wild summer. The interior of my home province, British Columbia, was burning. Parts of the island that I live on were also afire, and the combination of the two filled the air with smoke and ashes for weeks. The sunrises and sunsets were spectacular; hell, the midday sun was Lovecraftian in its blazing, hazy glory.

The city had made the decision to upgrade the infrastructure surrounding the studio. This involved a lot of trucks, jackhammers, and people shouting for weeks on end, and it made work all but impossible. Coupled with the blazing heat and dank air, the environment was not conducive to creative work of any kind, so none got done.

The roadwork finished, the fires burned out, and the temperatures fell to a reasonable enough level that things could start happening again, and so I decided to prepare my previously-published work for re-publication.

While I’ve continued to write on a regular basis, even publicly posting a year’s worth of daily practice to the Internet, I haven’t finished any long-form writing since first releasing Ambia back in the summer of ’13. The time and skill development since then has made those earlier books almost embarrassing in their amateur execution. Not only that, but there were a ton of inconsistencies and continuity errors in all three books that I’ve only now been able to spot and correct with the help of Nevigo’s articy: draft.

There’s a huge danger of over-revision, though. I think that writing is a lot like sculpture, only instead of starting with a block of material the writer has to produce that initial blank from nothing. That’s the first draft, the formation of the rough stone that will later become a masterpiece or disaster under the hammer and chisel of revision and rewriting. It’s understanding what needs to be removed from that chunk of dross that makes editing both exciting and terrifying. I think it’s important to recognize what works and what doesn’t, and doing the best possible job to improve or remove those rough spots. I don’t think that I really did that when I first rushed to publish, but I’m confident and very happy with how the current editions are shaping up.

The big push now is to finalize the books and re-open the Dark Acre storefront, and with a bunch of hard work that should happen very soon. I’ve managed to re-contract Jiří Horáček, the artist responsible for the beautiful covers of the Solarus Cycle, and he’s graciously agreed to do a new cover for the short story Parlow’s Choice. I’ll be offering the books exclusively from this site, in single DRM-free packages containing .pdf, .epub, and .mobi versions. Any customers on record from the old storefront will receive these updated offerings free of charge. I’m very excited to bring these updated editions to you.

That’s it for this month, and expect some interim posts before the next report as the books go on sale. I hope that if you’re a fan of science fiction, or if you know someone who is, that you’ll help support me by picking up some copies and spreading them around.

DAJ


The method of the making matters not; the perception of the results is everything.

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