Friday, March 25, 2011

News and thoughts

First, I have an interview with the wonderful Mihir of Fantasy Book Critic. There are mild spoilers, but nothing huge, especially if you've already read book 3.

Second, I got my first look at the new cover for the Eli Omnibus (that's book 1-3 combined for your pleasure, due out next year). I gotta say, that is a fine looking cover. As soon as Orbit posts it, I'll be linking it everywhere.

Third, the writing on book 5 is going well, though, as always when I'm writing a first draft, it feels like I'm crawling through the story. I always tell myself "I'm going to write all day today" but I never do. Five hours of writing is about all I have in me for any one day. Still, it's a pleasure to be almost done with the story. Not because I'll have to leave the characters, let me tell you how I weep at the thought of no more Eli. No, I'm happy because the story is finally reaching the big, big meta plot goodness I've been toiling over for 5 years now.

When I look back at the Eli books, I have a strange mix of pride and shame. I love the books, I love the characters and the world, but I'm ashamed of the mistakes I made. Sometimes, I wish I could go back and redo them. I wish I could write all the mistakes down so other writers could learn from them, but they're all so personal, so specific, no one would learn anything useful. With every book I write, I make more mistakes, some new, some new versions of mistakes I've been making since I started writing. I don't think I'll ever be done making mistakes, or doing things that couldn't be done better if only I'd know more, tried harder. Sometimes I think I've failed all together and there is no way I will ever be clever enough or eloquent enough to tell the stories. But I can't not tell the stories, can I? Even if I wasn't writing them down, I'd be telling them to myself. Since I've never been able to keep my mouth shut, I guess I've got no choice but to keep writing and, though I fail, at least try to fail better.

If I keep writing at my current pace of two books a year and live to 80, I'll have written 108 books by the time I die. That number fills me with such hope. Every time I finish editing a book I think, "that's the best book I've written." But by the time I write the next book, I'm sure I screwed the last one up. But all I can do is keep writing and hope that the next book will always be better than the one before it. By the time I hit book 50, book 100, surely I'll finally be the writer I want to be.

But then again, when I see the emails people send me, the reviews that say "I had such a good time reading this book," I think maybe I'm already there. The greatest pride in my life is knowing my stories made people excited, made them happy. What greater vocation can there be than making people happy? To be a source of joy in the world, even if it's only a joy brought on by snarky wizard stories full of mistakes. Every book gets better, and with every book, I'm building my way up, and I hope you'll come along with me.


  1. :D Its always such a pleasure to read your books! make my days brighter (or nights, since I am at war with the sun).

    I'm looking forward to the plot pay-out in Eli Book 5. I have so many guesses that I should start a betting pool...

    Oh hey! I'll do that after Book 4. That's in keeping with the Eli spirit--we'll see how much he can earn in bets!

  2. When you do something you love and care about I think you continually learn more about it as you do it. I look forward to the rest of Eli's adventures and whatever you decide to do beyond.

  3. I just wnat more stories! So keep writing.

    I've got lots of treasured stories that I read over and over. Yes, they have flaws, but perfect stories would mean a lot fewer stories.