Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Good News & Horrible News

I have good news and horrible news you guys. First the good news: I updated my FAQs and the Watersong page. Now the horrible news: I saw the cover for Tidal (the third book in the Watersong series), and it's the most amazing cover. When I showed it to my mom, this was her reaction:

My mom has never used the phrase "OMG" before.

So you may be asking yourself, if this cover is so awesome, how is this horrible news? Because I can't show you yet. I want to show the whole world, but I still have to wait a little bit.

But if you have even tepid feelings about Wake, trust me when I say that you'll dig this cover so hard. Tidal is also one of my favorite books ever to write (probably tied with Ascend or Torn). (Not that I didn't enjoy Wake or Lullaby - because I did, but Tidal was just extra fun.)

When I write serieses (is that plural for series? is there a plural for series), I tend to think of them as steps. The first book in the series is the bottom level, but each book needs to progessively take a step up, amping up action, romance, and danger.

I also use the "horror movie rule" when I write. That means that the body count needs to be higher for each book. Or if not higher, then at least more powerful. (If I kill 2 minor characters in the first book, I need to kill 3 minor characters in the third book, or at least one important character.)

So Wake is setting things up, introducing characters, revealing the danger, and asking questions. Out of the four books in the Watersong quartet, Wake is definitely the slowest. A big part of that is because I had to introduce six main characters - Gemma, Harper, Alex, Daniel, Penn, and Thea - as well as several side characters, like Lexi, Marcy, Brian, Nathalie, and Bernie. I wanted to really take my time and establish who they are and what drives them, so when their motivations and integrity are challenged in later books, it makes more sense.

In the first book, I really focus on Gemma, Harper, Alex, and Daniel. I especially wanted to establish the romance between Gemma and Alex. But in the second book, since I've really set up the principals, I get to dive more into Penn and Thea, and deepen the relationships between all the characters, and delve further into the mythology behind the series.

With Wake, I wanted to keep the mythology as clean and simple as possible. The mythos behind Watersong is based on Greek mythology, which is so rich and epic, it's easy to want to include too much and make things more complicated and harder to understand. So for the first book, I definitely wanted to keep it on a need-to-know basis.

I actually originally had more, with the characters really explaining their ancestry and getting into it, but when Eric (my assistant/best friend/alpha reader) read through it, he found it hard to keep straight all of the names and characters. He was right, so I cut it down and streamlined the history.

But as the series continues, I get to incorporate more aspects of the mythology and explore more of what is behind the series. Some of my favorite characters and stories from Greek mythology get to make their way into the series.

What I think made Tidal so much fun for me to write is that I got to add more layers of the mythology, but also the romance gets hotter - and more complicated. Some of the peripheral characters really come into their own, and the stakes really get high. Plus, I think it has an ending that you won't see coming.

One thing about Wake is that it may seem like there are lot of coincidences in it - that things just happen. I don't believe that much in coincidence, so I don't use that much of it in Watersong.

I'm writing Elegy (the fourth book) currently, and it's really fun to write. My favorite part about writing the final books in a series is that I get to put all the pieces together. Things from the previous three books - some that were obviously important, and others seemed insignificant - and put them all together to make a picture.

Really, that's my favorite thing to do, and I think it's something that I did well with all the books in the Watersong. I like showing you the picture at the end. The first 3/4 of the book are filled with things to set up a fast-paced and climactic last quarter.

I really like making collages, and I've always compared my writing to style that. I like taking bits and parts of the beginning of the book and putting them together to make the picture at the end.