Beta readers who aren’t done looking at Lament of the Dove yet, just so y’all know, the Great Word Count Reduction Pass (read: the fifth draft) is currently on Chapter 15. It’ll be a bit yet before I finish so you still have time to get me your feedback. If you feel hard-pressed for time, please do keep in mind that I do not require a hardcore copyedit pass! Most of the things I’m asking y’all to look for are bigger picture stuff. Feel free to focus on those questions if you are busy.
I wanted to do a post though to cover some of the overall issues I’ve already heard back on. To wit…
Again to mention copyedits–please keep in mind that I am doing a hardcore word count reduction pass, and chances are good that any given phrase you might object to will already have been shortened, if not eliminated, by the time Draft Five is done. I’m already down nearly 6,000 words and I’m still only on Chapter 15. I expect to be down at minimum another few K by the time I reach the end.
Speaking of word count reduction, I have also now formally decided to move the epilogue and Nine-Fingered Rab’s final scene into the beginning of Book 2, Shadow of the Rook. This is to accomplish the goal giving the end of Lament better local resolution and less obvious setup for Book 2. Also, I do fully acknowledge that the epilogue is a very dark scene. Since Shadow of the Rook is specifically supposed to be a darker story, it’ll fit better over there. It’ll also be broadening the scope somewhat towards the final resolution which is supposed to happen in Book 3, Lone Hawk’s Flight. That scene is the first general rumble of that greater arc.
Chapters 13, 14, and 15 have already gotten substantial reduction. I’ve eliminated a few of the transitory scenes in 13 and 14 that don’t do as much to push the plot along, which will hopefully improve the pacing as well as cut down on repetition of several concepts. 15 is still in progress but chances are very high that its first scene is doomed to go.
Kestar and Celoren’s final scene is going to get a rewrite. I’m going to try to give it a more hopeful tone and have Kes and Cel end this particular leg of the story on a better note between them. I will then commence Book 2 by promptly screwing things up badly for poor Kes. (See previous comment re: Shadow of the Rook being a darker book.)
The subplots involving what happens to Dr. Lannedes and Malcolm the blacksmith are moving over into Book 2. Multiple people have called out that those feel like dangling plot points, which they are. They’ll work in Book 2, so I’ll move them.
A couple of people have expressed confusion over various naming choices I have made for nations, people, horses, and the Elvish language vs. using lower-case-e ‘elf’. To address the last one first, I am not going to use upper-case-E ‘Elf’. ‘Elf’ is not a proper noun. I will however give the Elvish language its own proper name, given that the elves do not call their own language that, and chances are good that there are other Elvish languages anyway in as of yet less-developed parts of this particular world (elves in Vreyland in Mirror’s Gate, I am looking at you).
I am also probably going to change the name of Celoren’s horse, since that was mentioned as a point of confusion given that Celoren himself also has a name that starts with C, and I’m less committed to his horse’s name than I am his. Adalonia vs. Alendar as nation names is a harder question, although I am considering changing the name of Alendar and the Alendari people. I’ll also be trying to make it a bit more clear that the Alendari were forcibly absorbed into Adalonia many, many years ago and they are still quite cranky about that. This will become more important in Book 2.
New content will be on the way to bolster a few things that the editor (as well as
Note also that since I have quite a bit of new content planned, this is another reason to not get too crazy with the copyedits. But I digress!)
Last but not least, I should emphasize that while I am aware that Faanshi and Julian are ending on a cliffhanger, this is a point I cannot and will not change. It is a major, and I mean major development point for how Faanshi and Julian start Book 2, and it is a critical turning point in the relationship between the two characters. Particularly alert readers of the manuscript may have observed that I dropped a hint or two in the narrative about how Faanshi’s magic reacted to old damage in Julian as well as new damage. Think about that and take it to its logical conclusion, and you’ll probably figure out what’s going to happen before these two wake up.
I think these are the major points of interest. Beta readers, please feel free to drop a comment on this post if you have further big-picture questions that I can answer!