Glory be, glory be, it's done. Finished. Done and dusted. Over. Practically. Almost.
The edits are all done. I have the weekend to go over KOTW one more time and then we send it to the copyeditor. The copyeditor basically makes sure I haven't made any huge mistakes, and corrects all the little ones before it's too late. She'll tweak and suggest and cut and replace, and then she'll send the manuscript back to me and I'll make my final adjustments, and that'll be it. Boom. Over.
Right now, the book clocks in at 134,729 words. Considering that Death Bringer was marginally over 118,000 words, that's quite a substantial increase. Golly gee, it's gonna be a big book! We're going to have to reduce the font size again to cram as many words onto the page as possible, but our font size is typically big anyway, so at least we have room to play with.
This is the first book where I've had serious discussions with my editor about the level of violence. (Well, I say serious... he was TRYING to be serious and I was making jokes, but you know...)
It's a weird thing, to write a series, because the readers get older as the books are released. Valkyrie gets older, the situations she finds herself in become more grown-up, and the themes get darker and darker as the end approaches. What all this means is that occasionally I fall into the trap of assuming that the Skulduggery readership is able to handle whatever I throw at them. And for the most part, they are.
But there will ALWAYS be new readers. There will ALWAYS be a nine year old who picks up the books for the first time and reads them in a few weeks. And it's unfair to expect that nine year old to be able to deal with content that is more suited to teenagers and adults. So where does that leave me?
In a weird place, that's where. On one hand, I've NEVER viewed this series as strictly children's books, and that view just keeps getting stronger and stronger as Valkyrie gets older. But on the other hand, I have a responsibility to the younger readers to not give them anything they can't handle.
And all of this makes me ever-so-thankful that we have such a thing as editors. I wrote this book in two and a half months of sheer WORK. There was no time to doubt myself and no time for second guesses. Whatever I put down on the page stayed on the page. When you have a more relaxed timetable you can afford to wonder about what you've just written but when the deadline is rushing towards you like a screaming train you just WRITE. With that in mind, I'm not surprised at all that I went too far in some areas. And it was so much FUN.
The battle still isn't over, by the way. Nick, my editor, still thinks I could be a little less bloodthirsty, while I think I'm just bloodthirsty enough. Some serious things happen in this book, and I reckon I needed to be as brutal and uncompromising as possible in order to achieve what I needed to achieve. But we have another week or so of him trying to be serious and me making jokes before I have to make the final decision.
And now a picture!