The fantasy novel sits at roughly 100,100 words.
As the time approached for Angry Robot to open its doors, I knew I had to make some decisions. The first one was to convince myself that this is not a young adult book. While two of the three main protagonists are in their late teens, a hundred thousand words is an intimidating number with which to start off a story. I also couldn’t convince myself that kids in their teens could get behind a protagonist who has a tendency to think and talk his way out of situations instead of relying on physical or supernatural prowess. Maybe I’ve just been too burned out lately to find the right angle to exploit, but what it boils down to is that Asherian, while pro-active in his words and deeds, doesn’t start out as the initiator of the story. Events happen to him and he reacts. It takes a few chapters for him to shake off the complacency he’s been taught. Once the scales fall from his eyes, so to speak, he begins taking more initiative. But I think a young adult protagonist takes the reigns almost immediately, at least when written well. Case in point would be Katniss volunteering in The Hunger Games.
In any event, I went over the first five chapters again to make sure the flow and setup are as good as I can make them, put together the two-page synopsis, and sent the whole shebang to Angry Robot. I also renamed it Cities of Light. Fingers and toes crossed.
While waiting for that to at least return with something resembling feedback, my attentions turn back to Cold Iron. This is a rewrite that still requires a bit of spit and polish, as timing of events within the story and some character beats have changed. It was hard for me to decide a decent scene between the lady detective and the murderer, set in the interrogation room, had to be cut. But I simply could not work the timeline properly to make it work without padding the story, and more importantly, making sure to empower said lady detective was far more important.
Cold Iron is, to me, the lean and energetic kitten to Cities‘ cozy but somewhat massive tomcat. It’s a novella and I want to keep it short. The cover is coming together extremely well, and once that is in place and I finish this particular rewrite, I’ll be sending some review copies of the draft to folks I know with platforms to shout from. I may propose said review drafts in the same manner as a pitch – brief synopsis, what makes this story worth the time to read, etc.
Anthologies may happen. Timeless Tales for the old myths made new thing, maybe a flash fiction collection. Not certain of that yet.
I also am brewing an idea I’m pretty excited about. I think there’s an itch out there not getting the particular scratch it needs.
But that’ll come later. Gotta finish what I’ve started already first.