Saturday. Powercut. I’ve been lying in bed going through the editor’s feedback on the Inhuman Peace (book two of my Commonwealth Empires trilogy).*
The feedback for book one and two has has been largely the same: “show us more of this alternate Ceylon!”
I had intended the first book to be short, sharp, a setting of the gameboard, as it were, and I was wary of over-writing and over-describing. I opened the second book with alt-Britain, and then moved on to alt-India; Goa, to be precise. Then I launched into the Ceylon, which my Sri Lankan readers know and can intimately connect to – but not something that a reader elsewhere would understand with such easy shorthand.
Now I need to a) dial down alt-Britain and b) sketch out the Ceylon scenes with as much detail – really take those notes and maps and describe my Pearl of the Indian ocean more.
This is good, because I can talk about the world more, and in light of the recent April bombings in Sri Lanka I feel I have more things to say about how people recent to shock and loss. This is also going to be tough, because it means I’ll have to take apart large chunks of the story and redraft – I don’t want to do a Robert Jordan and weave in endless descriptions for the sake of detail. Things have to make sense. Different characters notice different things, and all of us privilege some types of information over others; there’s a limit to how much omniscience I can pull off here.
I’ve technically written one novel and five short stories this year (and led another large project I can group under ‘futurism’). It’s been a really good six months of writing. But as I approach the end of my workload, I feel heavier, because some of this stuff won’t be out for years.
*Book one seems to have been more read by writers than readers – it’s cited in articles and so on, but Goodreads shows only a handful of reviews (maybe that’s a facet of it only being available on the Indian subcontinent). I hope this situation changes.