Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My word for the day: Chastened.

After my bout of spleen yesterday, and the generous responses (especially that of Perry Middlemiss from Matilda - bless you, did not mean it to be a direct challenge...) I thought I might move rapidly along to a more constructive post.

This will be in the form of an answer to two related queries, one a direct question in an email from Lisa Perry, a book seller of Seattle, Washington, and the other more a statement of a wish by Drew.

Lisa: "Dare I ask if Rossamünd will make his way to Clementine?"
Drew: "... by all means, more Threnody!"

In answer to Lisa, I said: "...well there are so many places in the Half-Continent he could go and yet I must have what feel to me to be plausable and realistic reasons as to why he might go anywhere. If they do occur in the flow of the writing, thenI find myself having to go places I had not originally determined. ... plot is character in action, [therefore] I must let my characters go where they will go and not force them by my own purposed domination. SO in short, if I can get Rossamünd to Clementine I surely will go. If not, then, Lord willing, there might always be other books about other folks doing so instead."

This ties into Drew's notion of continuing Threnody (or any other character) through further book(s); that I find characters tend to have a gravity of their own (pretty much what I just said) and struggle to know how to include them in the story if Rossamünd's journey takes him out of their plausible range. Still, if I can some how fudge it I most surely will. It could be said that forcing something (only ever so slightly though) is fine as long as it is invisible and seems realistic. I may well be wrong, of course: I am testing this theory out even now in Book 3.

My friend Will (the fellow in the dedication of Book 1) and I have this joke about the "Considine Tea-party", where Rossamünd goes to the Considine and every favourite or interesting character from the books starts turning up "Oh look, its Fouracres with a special delivery only he could bring for no apparent reason!", "Oh hello Poundinch, would you like a towel?" - that kind of thing. It is to dream. (This is Half-Continent nerd humour: we laugh for hours...well, minutes anyway)

I reckon my ultimate H-c adventure, destroy-the-evil-overlord party would be Rossamünd (as he is in latter parts of the story, ie: a tad more clued in), Europe, Fouracres, Sebastipole, Aubergene, Doctor Crispus, Threnody, Dolours, Fransitart, Craumpalin and Freckle for comic relief and heavy lifting. Does any one else have a similar preferred line up?

On a final note, Jonathan was wondering: " this series going to stop at 3 books? I remember you saying that, I think, but I am hoping that due to the attention you have received, that things may have changed. Can you inform me please?"

Well, given that Book 1 was originally going to be the only book, that the trip to Winstermill was meant to only take 3 or so chapters and Rossamünd be done with the lighters at the end, I cannot rule out the MBT story taking more than three books to tell. My publisher here in Oz certainly has put it to me to consider Book 4. Reluctant at first, I do so a little more happily: a goodly way into Book 3 I can see it being possible for the story to need one more volume, but there is currently no way for me to know for sure. In short I shall say, it might not.

Yet even if MBT is done in three, there will (I most sincerely hope) be other citizens' of the Half-Continent stories to tell (does that even make sense?). I surely have other stories crowding around my mind - really depends if anyone will continue to publish me as much as any other factor. Here is hoping...


Anonymous said...

ide like to here about a assasin/theif in the hc world
what a interresting story (would he steal from monsters? perhaps he is verry rich and steals for the fun of it always going for tougher targets and finding himself in trouble? od he started out poor made a big bust and now steals because its the only thing he realy knows how to do)

its giantfan

Drew said...

Great post!
I heartily endorse your direction here. While I would like to see Threnody (and several others) reappear in Book 3, I wouldn't like that to happen at the expense of the story. Too much coincidence puts weight on one's suspension of disbelief.
In any event, I'm equally confident that the H-c would support an ongoing series of tales. These might not feature Rossamund beyond this opening arc; they may develop the illustrated corners of the map in new and diverse ways (much like Piers Anthony developed Xanth over 20-some novels), using new characters with appearances from the better-known and much-loved protagonists of FOUNDLING, LAMPLIGHTER, etc.
Besides which, putting so many years of work into a setting should not yield only three novels!
all best,

meli said...

I'm excited about Book II and very glad that it's much longer than the first!

Anonymous said...

The "we laugh for hours" bit made ME laugh out loud. Good work.

Femina said...

"Oh look, it's Fouracres with a special delivery only he could bring..."

It's official; I'm a total geek - because that both made me laugh aloud AND think "but it would be pretty cool..." Like a crossover episode of all your favourite TV shows.

D.M. Cornish said...

"Like a crossover episode of all your favourite TV shows."

Now I'm the one laughing!

Drew said...

Thought you might enjoy a tiny excerpt from my draft review:

"D.M. Cornish continues to astound and delight in this second novel. It might be a bit intimidating for a series to jump from 300 pages (in Foundling) to 600 pages in Lamplighter, but the tale is engaging and the narrative compelling from start to finish. The summary above barely does justice to the extended subplots, engagements, elements and information-packed chapters of the story; it is a lush tale, set in a deeply-realized and refreshingly original fantasy world.

Cornish also liberally spices up the story with his own pencil artwork, as well as an elaborate series of appendices (which are greatly welcome, considering how many esoteric terms he creates). Readers truly get their money's worth in this volume.


In any event, this delightful, adventurous and wholly original series is certain to please even the most demanding readers.

Highly recommended."

all best,

D.M. Cornish said...

If you were here I would hug you, Drew. So very very glad it hit the right chord within.

I am really enjoying Factotum, and surely hope that translates to a good tale too.

Readers' getting their "money's worth" is certainly in my mind when offering these H-c books to you all.

Onwards, onwards.

Drew said...

Very glad you enjoyed this snippet!

You can find a longer "review preview" on my blog ( If you like the excerpt, I think you'll enjoy this preview (the one on SFRevu in April will be a bit longer, btw).

Now I'm off to read a new urban fantasy and wrap up some miscellaneous business.

Have a great weekend!

Drew said...

PS, glad to hear you're enjoying FACTOTUM! I have the feeling there are a LOT of shoes left to drop, regarding Rossamund, Europe, Fransitart and Craumpalin, and even Gosling.