Friday, 13 March 2009

So here’s what I’m thinking....

Two weeks ago I mentioned to you that the entire Lamb among the Stars sequence was not doing at all well. In fact it has largely disappeared without trace and you have to do a lot of hard work in order to even find any of the books, let alone buy them. I asked you for some bright ideas and got some helpful comments for which I am very grateful. Anyway here’s my current – and still rather tentative – thinking and I’m interested to know any comments you have.

Now I need to say that I remain utterly committed to this sequence; I have spent an extraordinarily long number of hours on it and I’m not lightly going to give it up. If the reviews had been negative or critical I might have shrugged my shoulders and said ‘well there we are’ and walked away. In fact the problem has not been the negative reviews; it has been actually getting the series reviewed at all. But your comments encourage me to live in hope that I may yet see ‘the resurrection of the dead’ as far as these books go.

So what I am tentatively planning is this. I shall wait a few more months and see if everything goes entirely dead. If it does, I will write to Tyndale asking whether I can have the book rights back sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I will start rewriting the series. If you aren’t familiar with the books you will realise that the second and third volumes are slightly different to the first in that they include not just what is happening to Merral D’Avanos but to a handful of other people as well. To use the technical term there are ‘multiple viewpoints’. This does not happen in the first book. The single viewpoint of the first book works in one sense in that we are able to slowly watch evil gradually permeating a fallen world. Nevertheless it poses considerable problems, not least that you have to get at some 150 pages in before there is significant action. This is undeniably a flaw with an unknown author in today’s climate. As the wretched (and now already largely forgotten) Da Vinci Code taught us, you need to have a bizarre murder on the first page and keep the plot moving from then on. So, in the first 30 or so pages I might well bring in Azeras and the crew of the Freeborn ship about to land on Farholme and Vero being posted (much against his will) to Farholme by the Sentinels. I might include something of the Lord Emperor himself, although he is a fundamentally a very uninteresting character. (Most evil people are.) As you may be aware Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings in its entirety and then, when he had finished the last volume and before he submitted it for publication, he rewrote it. The result was a better trilogy (although even here a number of modifications and corrections were made in the next decade or so).

Other than that recasting of some of the material of the first book I do not anticipate any other major changes. One minor change would be to put ‘clear blue water’ between the diaries of the books and the iPhone; when I wrote the first few pages 20 years ago my communication devices were clearly fantastic – they are less so now.

So the idea is with all this rewriting done and the creation of the Lamb among the Stars ‘final version’ /’revised version’/’ultimate version’ I would then either offer the books to a publisher who felt they could handle the science-fiction market or find some other innovative way of getting it out into the general public.

I am open for comments on this. It is a long road but the hope is that it would mean that these books would be available for the future. Of course it would also mean that the first edition versions with Tyndale would be collector’s items :-) Well if you have any comments please let me know.

By the way my wife has started a blog of her own entitled Open My Eyes. Rather than summarise what it’s about let me simply direct you to it.

Have a good week