Sunday, January 5, 2014

Dark Lands

Posted with permission:

I did want to drop a line and tell you how much I enjoy your books. I have several in e and physical copies. And I retread them periodically. I'm midway through Mathin's story and was reminded...

I don't think you're writing on the Haunt stories anymore. Too bad.  I always hoped that the old Sylph who warned Andrea away would find her own happy ending after a life of such horrors. I hoped one day she'd be brave enough and strong enough to rescue a Haunt from the cult that has tortured her for so long. Maybe even find out that the kills attributed to her had extenuating circumstances.

An excellent idea. I admit I never gave the old sylph another thought. Amazing how minor characters can affect us.

You've a powerful world if you've still got me trying to imagine an impossible scenario on a cameo character.

I'm baffled about why this world gets hands down, the most email. What is it that you love so much? Is it simply that there are more books in that series? What makes it so special? Why do you want to spend more time there? Obviously it's answering some deep seated need in my readers, but darned if I know what it is.

I'm glad things are going so well for you. Writing is hard work and so many people seem to think the words hit the page with ease and never realize the torture every sentence can be to get just right and lead the reader where you want them to be emotionally.

And yet, I love my job. It's cool that people pay to see what goes on in my head.

Hope you change your mind and return to the Dark Lands someday but I know you have to go where your muse leads you and can't force her hand.

Be well and have another good year.

A Reader

It's true that I can't force creativity, but it can be sparked. Question is, do I have enough tinder to make a blaze?

Reasons why I think readers might like the Dark Lands:

1. They are unique.

Yes, but so are all my worlds.
2. Jasmine was given a truckload of power and became a hero because she didn't use it.

Okay, that's a unique theme that I haven't found anywhere else. But is it enough to excite readers to extreme loyalty? The series has lots of other characters.

3. The men have self control...

Meh. That's common to many of my books. I simply don't get why they are special.

Reasons why I resist writing more Dark Lands:

1. I don't want to ruin it.

It's a fact that writers make money on a strong series, but so often, the books become tired and formulaisic. What's to keep that from happening here?

2. Got tired of it.

When you create a world, you have to keep track of it. Names, timeline, new creations. It gets exhausting, and just because you write the book doesn't mean you can track every detail. Of course, now I keep character sketches and automatically "map" new stuff.

The only thing that might work is a fast write. An ugly, top of my head, unedited word dump. Something so fast I didn't have time to think about it, and so public I couldn't delete it. It would be Dragon text-to-speech on the blog. I've never done that. Could I even restrain my type A self long enough to attempt it? What if I got stuck? What if the end won't come?

What reasonable reader wants to see what lurks under the hood of the writing process? It's not pretty without the wash, wax and shine.


  1. Personally, I found your other environments just as compelling as the Dark Lands, but I do understand why people are so attached to them. There is something Narnia-like and very appealing about an imaginary world so close to ours. While the Dracs also exist on an alternate Earth, the stories don't feel like they are quite as close or touchable as the Dark Lands.

    I love the Dark Lands books, but as a fan I'd prefer if you didn't write any more. I also love Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga, but sometimes I wish he hadn't written quite so many books in that particular setting. I only managed to get through about fifteen of them before I got tired and stopped. Adjacent (like Daughter of the Empire is adjacent to Magician:Master) is awesome. I thought Dagon's people were a fresh look at the Dark Lands, but that story was a complete arc. It's great like it is. I also enjoy rereading them periodically.

    Sorry for the long gap in commenting. It's been a while, so I'm catching up on your blog now. I'd say I'm a reasonable reader, but I'm also an aspiring writer. Seeing the less pretty aspects of your craft helps people like me.

  2. Thank you! Yes, let's move on. I want to get back to Iron and Hemlock and Under the Bridge something fierce.