I started writing novel-length fiction in 2013, and have published ten such books in the past six years. Each time the process has been different, each time I’ve basically had to re-teach myself the process of what it is to write a novel based on my fuzzy recollections of the last time.
Writing Lighter Than Aether has been no different. I feel, again, like a novice working on his first book.
It only feels like I’m starting from scratch, though. Each time I write something new, I’m starting from a firmer base, I avoid mistakes I’ve made in the past, and I construct the foundation of the story a little more strongly. The uncertainty comes from the fact that I’m trying something new with each novel. It’s always an undiscovered country.
Of course, if each book is better than the last, this means that each book is worse than the one that comes next. This means that the earliest available book I have for purchase is also the worst introduction for new readers.
Yeah. I won’t contest this. It’s a perfectly fine book, but bereft of the lessons I learned while writing it. And the lessons from the next book, and the next, and the next… let’s be honest, it’s the most bereft book I’ve written.
That doesn’t mean I think it’s bad. Not at all. I’m quite fond of the book.
Just a pity that for many readers it’ll be their first impression of who I am and what I have to offer.
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately as I write Lighter than Aether, the seventh book in the series. I’m quite fond of it. I think it’s the best thing I’ve written to date (I always think that, and for the above reasons, I’m usually right.) However, the only people who’re going to read it are the people who’ve read books 1-6 and enjoyed each one.
That’s just the nature of a series. I write my books as fairly stand-alone, but most readers are unwilling to jump into the middle of something.
And that’s too bad. If I had to go back and change things, I probably would have turned Galvanic Century into two or three trilogies. And I could, too… rebrand them that way.
But hey, I got another book to write.