I finished a book.
I don’t think that feeling ever gets old.
Amidst the general blur and busyness of the launch of my historical/dieselpunk novel Storming, I typed the final words in the first draft of my historical/superhero work-in-progress Wayfarer. Its happy dance kind of got lost in the rush. One minute: bam, I’m done. The next: whoosh, onto all the gazillion and one things necessary to finish catching up on Storming‘s release.
But now that Storming‘s launch is basically over–and in this brief lull before family descends for Christmas–I can take enough of a breather to do my traditional Charleston end-of-first-draft celebration dance.
What’s Wayfarer About?
When people ask what in tarnation is up with this “historical superhero” thing I’m writing, I’ve been explaining it as: “Spider-Man Meets Jane Austen.”
But it actually turned out much more Dickensian, which shades of Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and Little Dorrit all sneaking in there.
There ended up being lots more pickpockets than fancy balls (although there’s one of them too, never fear).
I came up with the concept while watching one of my favorite superhero movies Spider-Man 2. While watching our friendly neighborhood web-slinger hurtle through the asphalt canyons of NYC, I suddenly had this image of someone doing something similar–but in a highwayman’s coat and in a historical city.
Immediately, I was all: “Gah! This is awesome! Why has no one ever done a historical superhero?” (That was before I discovered Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602 during my research–and started geeking out all over again.)
My initial image was actually of my mouthy, well-meaning sidekick character Peregrine Marek, from my medieval epic Behold the Dawn, being that someone in a highwayman’s coat. Then the character took on a life of his own and morphed into Will Hardy, my youngest protagonist to date (19), in a full-blown coming-of-age story, which is something I’ve never tackled before. Most of my heroes tend to be world-weary warriors, so this was a big departure.
Here’s the unofficial summary I wrote up while outlining:
A common lad apprenticed to a blacksmith, Will Hardy’s chances of seeking adventures, making a fortune, and winning the hand of Lady Isabella Barbary aren’t looking very good. But when the unthinkable happens, and the irresponsible Will discovers he has the ability to run faster than any human being and leap tall buildings, he reaches legendary status overnight.
But being a legend isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. After unwittingly rescuing a young street urchin named Rose, he finds himself trapped in a pit of deceit and danger that goes deeper than he could have dreamed. Cast adrift in the rigid class system of Regency England, he must choose between the adventures he’s always dreamed of and a responsibility he didn’t ask for.
Hailed as a hero by a people he has no intention of saving, he sets out to do battle against an enemy even more gifted than he is. Towing the impish Rose along and intent on winning the heart of Lady Isabella and becoming a gentleman once and for all, he little dreams that he might become… the Wayfarer.
My Journey With Wayfarer This Year
Wayfarer actually turned into a surprisingly challenging story to write. I feel like it and Storming have been the “tale of two novels.” Storming was the easiest book I’ve ever written, and while I won’t say Wayfarer was the hardest (my portal fantasy Dreamlander still holds that honor), it definitely wasn’t a walk in Hyde Park.
For one thing, it ended up being fully twice as long as I wanted it to be (at 200k words), so I’ve got some major editing in front of me. I’m contemplating the idea of releasing it as a serial, but I have a feeling I’ll be able to whittle it down and make it better, so we’ll probably go that route.
There always seems to be one major lesson I learn while writing a book. With Wayfarer, it was definitely a distillation of my ideas about how theme works in a story (which I’ve written about here). I’m really excited about how the theme(s) have come together in this book, and I believe I ended up with a couple of the best antagonists I’ve ever written.
The two main female characters–romantic interest and sidekick, respectively–both ended up being a total blast to write. And since I intend to turn this one into a trilogy, I’m incredibly excited about getting to flesh them out even more in future books.
So When Can You Read It?
Well, like my critique partner Linda Yezak scolded me for last week, I apparently take a “unbearably long time” in between books. (All part of my evil plan, all part of my evil plan, minions.) I always want to give readers the best possible version of a story, and for me, that generally requires three years between books. Since Storming just released this month, you know what that means!
But you can put it on your mental calendar: Wayfarer is tentatively scheduled for a 2018 release.
I’m taking a little break until I can get my schedule back in order after Christmas, then I’ll be hitting the editing about as hard as Rocky Balboa hits on a side of beef. Then the book will be off to my critique partners and beta readers for the first round of feedback.
And while that‘s happening, I’m super-excited to get to start in on outlining Dreambreaker, the sequel to Dreamlander. More on that soon!