I noticed something recently: my writing has improved. Normally, this would be a cause of celebration! But when the realization comes between books 1 and 2 in a series, well a few issues arise.
How different can two books in a series sound?
That is the biggest issue to me. The writing in book 2 is much more focused where book 1 wanders around a bit, drifting into too many descriptives phrases. I want the novels to flow together by more than ideas. So the desire to go back and edit book 1 is very strong.
But that could be a bad precedent, don’t you think?
I expect my writing style will continue to grow and improve. Can you imagine wanting to “fix” every book you’d written before the most recent? OMG, that would quickly become unmanageable!
Okay, that is probably an exaggeration. At some point, the early work would have to be let go, its style a testament to younger days. But I do think the urge to ‘fix’ is real and could be a slippery slope. At some point the novel has to be done!
For me, this example comes down to knowing myself and timing. I know I won’t be happy until I go back into book 1, rereading it and focusing the writing at least a little. As for the timing, it is perfect. Book 2 is at my editors with a release slated for later this spring. I’ve been wanting to put book 1 on CreateSpace, followed by the newly released book 2. What better time to do that formatting than after a quick edit?
Besides, a read through of book 1, followed by final edits and prep for publishing of book 2, should put me in the perfect mindset to write the final book of the trilogy!
I won’t know until I go and look for myself. But in the back of my mind, I wonder if I’ll find it is just my impression and that my writing has changed. Perhaps both books are more similar than then seem in my memory. Heck, I’d love some feedback! So here are two examples. Do you see a style change?
Book 1: Born of Water
Everyone turned to follow Lavinia’s aghast look and pointed finger. Just approaching Tiero was the same two-masted ship they had seen in Kyrron, blue banners flying against the white sails. The dark wooden hull gleamed with spray above the waves.
“Do you think they saw us? They can’t know which ship they are looking for, can they?” Ria’s voice was tight with concern.
Ty glanced at the large forward sail unique to the Grey Dawn, then back at the two-masted ship steadily sailing closer. “From the sails and wind, it looks like they are sailing for the harbor.”
They were skimming around the island’s western side, heading nearly due south toward the Steppes of Umbrel. Misty clouds and dark waves lay before them, but the afternoon sun still blazed in a clear portion of sky. The white sail of their boat gleamed in afternoon light.
“They have to see us, but that doesn’t mean . . .” Lavinia’s voice was doubtful. Her words were cut off as the sails of her parents’ ship turned. The ship lurched as the wind caught the sheets again, and the boat pivoted, the long bowsprit swinging around to aim directly at them.
“Damn the wind!” Ty cursed. “They must have learned which ship was ours in Kyrron.”
“They’ll be able to catch us in an hour with all their sails flying. Ty, what are we going to do?” Lavinia’s blue eyes were wide.
Frustration pulled at Ria’s brows and worry clouded her chest. “We were only just heading to the Southern Shore. We could have answers in a few days. Why did they have to catch up now?”
Niri glanced at Ria. “If we get around the island so that we are out of sight, I can help outrun them. But the last thing we want to do is attract the attention of any Priests if they see a small boat speeding under Elemental control.”
Ty nodded and swung the boom. “Yes, but not by heading south. We aren’t catching enough wind. We’ll have to run east along the Archipelago and turn south later.”
Despite Niri’s protestations that she couldn’t help, a faint aqua-blue suffused her eyes. The Grey Dawn sped east, riding crests as it leaned into its full sail. The ship behind them slammed into endless waves, the heavy bow rising again and again in explosions of spray.
“What are you doing?” Lavinia’s voice rose with the tension coursing through her. “That is our parents!”
Niri’s glance crossed Ty’s anxious gaze as she turned to look at where Lavinia and Ria sat hand in hand watching the boat behind them. “I’m slowing it by pushing the current back. I’m not trying to sink it.”
Lavinia blushed as she looked away. They were behind and a little east of Tiero now, and no towns were visible along the coast. Niri’s eyes were inundated with her power, flooded with lavender. Their boat picked up more speed as the seas pushed them ahead.
Book 2: Rule of Fire
“I love it here,” Ria said. Her gaze was riveted on the little town of wooden houses, each uniquely shaped with elaborately crafted beams. They were all nestled together along the banks of the Torfel river, before it spread out wide and deep to enter the Sea of Sarketh. The sea was gray today, muted by the thick clouds overhead, but for once it wasn’t raining.
“I want to come back and live here,” Ria said wistfully.
Zhao glanced over at her. His eyes were dubious, but he was smiling. “I don’t see any vineyards or olive trees.”
Ria turned around, her gaze scanning the rolling forested hillsides to the northern edge of the Alin Mountains. “I bet I could grow some, probably oranges too.”
“Yeah, I bet you could.”
Ria smiled. “I’d build a little house like the inn in Drufforth. Maybe I’d grow some medicinal herbs like the woman, Canta, we met today.”
“From what you said of Drufforth, wouldn’t you then be growing your house as well?”
Ria giggled, bumping Zhao with her elbow. She glanced over at his less than curious face. “You don’t like it here, do you?”
“Oh it is nice . . . it just reminds me of Xiazhing. Different, but the same. I want to go somewhere . . . new. I want to see the Archipelago and Luthna Sithaine. I even think I want to see the Coast of Storms,” Zhao said, his voice as wistful as hers had been the moment before.
“Lus na Sithchaine,” Ria said with a smile.
She couldn’t argue with him. Finndale was a small town, the only one along the south shore of the sea really. In their four days in port, they had watched boatswains shaping incredible ships along the buildings by the waterfront. Everything was wooden and worked in wood, down to the plates. Only the pots used over the fires were metal.
“You’d fit in though.”
Ria tried to hide her smile by biting her lip. “I know,” she said, unable to keep the glee out of her voice. It was the first time in her life that she had been unremarkable or not felt like an outsider. Everyone in Finndale was tall and pale skinned. Blond, red, or russet brown hair was worn long on men and women. Eyes were greens or sky blues, sometimes the brown of polished wood. Ria imagined the people looked the color of the water and land when the sky was clear. Here she could walk down the street and eyes did not follow her. Most people spoke to her in the native tongue, assuming she was from one of the far flung cabins lining the mountain paths.
“I’d love to see this place in the sunlight,” Ria murmured her thoughts aloud.
Zhao stood up from where he’d been leaning against the railing at the overlook they’d found. “You’ll get the chance when you come back. Right now we’d better get going. I think this is the first time since we’ve been here that it hasn’t been raining.”
Ria frowned as she stood up. “Tam is going to want to leave.”