Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A bit more on the Halifax book

I've known ever since I wandered around the Citadel that I was going to write something set in Halifax with the old fortress as a major component. What I hadn't planned was doing anything about for the next two years or so. Books take time, and I'm currently all booked up. Also, I find that I need to let ideas marinate in the back of my head for a while before I get something really useful. This has taken as long as ten years and rarely takes less than one. So, not only was I not planning on working or even thinking about this, I honestly didn't think my back brain would spit anything out at least until next summer. I was wrong. I even know why I was wrong. Two reasons:

First, The Halifax environment was so rich that in its marination phase bits of it dribbled down onto other brain structures that had already been bubbling away for years.

Second, I just finished Zelazney's A Night in the Lonesome October. This is one of those books that I've had kicking around the house on and off for more than a decade. I've even gotten rid of it on at least two occasions, but it keeps coming back–I think I've been given three copies over the years and bought two. I've picked it up, read four pages, and put it down quite a number of times. Three nights ago it had come out on top of the bookdrift on my bedside table once again, and I decided to try it one last time before getting rid of yet another copy. This time it was fabulous, fast, fun, dark, and most importantly, educational. I learned something new from this read something about both plot and character. Really, about a specific kind of plot and a specific type of character: The Big Magical Event, and the World Weary Cynic. They're F&SF staples and I've used variations of them over the years, but I suddenly had new insights into how they work at a deep structural level.

Cool! Something that I would find a use for in years to come–after it had marinated a bit. Except, my subconscious took the shiny new toy and dropped it into the same bucket where the Halifax stuff was soaking and there was something of catalyst reaction that reached through all the other layers Halifax had already touched on and then somehow cross-connected itself with some things I'd been thinking about the WebMage series and what to do after book five (assuming that ACE is interested in five) that would extend the brand I've been developing with them while still giving me something new and exciting. Et voila, the Halifax book leaped from my forehead nearly fully formed.

I don't know if all of that makes any sense to anyone else, but that's what happened. I was mugged by a book that hasn't even been written yet.

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