• CEMurphy,  Redeemer Wars,  Writing

    Writing Wednesday: I finished a book!

    It always strikes me, when I use that phrase, “I finished a book,” that I usually mean something different than 99% of other people do when they say it. Possibly 99.7%. I, of course, generally mean I finished writing a book, as opposed to reading one. (Although let me tell you, there are times anymore when finishing reading one seems like as much of a triumph…)

    Anyway, so on Monday I finished the (oh my god so very) rough draft of REDEEMER, which has been hanging over me for what feels like forever. It came in at 104K, which is about where–in the past couple weeks, anyway–I thought it would land (previous to that, 120K still didn’t seem out of the bounds of possibility). It needs more work than my manuscripts usually do when I finish the draft, which is sad, but that’ll teach me to try to do like three different difficult things in one manuscript. @.@

    On one hand it’s a huge relief to have the book done. On the other, finishing it triggers the rest of the production to-do list, and that looks like this:

    Redeemer Wars (Redeemer) To Do:
    get cover art done
    finish manuscript
    – revise manuscript to fix notes, descriptions, language, etc
    -submit to editor
    – revise to editorial specs
    – resubmit to editor
    – do line edits
    – submit to copyeditor
    – submit for cover design
    – submit for page layouts
    – get ISBNs
    – submit for econversion
    – deliver to kickstarter backers
    – submit for possible audio book
    – submit for reviews
    – submit for self-publication

    Obviously this does not all happen at once, but it’s a REALLY LONG LIST and I’m almost certainly forgetting things. So I’m glad to have the book done but AUGH SO MUCH TO DO NEXT. This is why writers like traditional publishing. @>@

    Anyway, none of that is happening this week. It’d be nice if none of it was happening even in February, but I’m already horribly late with the book and need to move on it more quickly than not. Still, I need a few days away from it, at least.

    In the meantime I’ve reached 41.4K words written for the month of January and it seems like sort of a pity to not push it up to 50K. Sadly, the thing I really kinda wanna to work on isn’t likely to give me that kind of wordcount, not unless I do a great deal more of it than I could reasonably expect in the next five days (so what am I doing instead of working hard on it right now? Writing this blog post!), whereas writing a new Old Races short story would give me close to the wordcount AND get a new story ready for the Patreon crew and is therefore what I obviously *should* be doing.

    I’m prolly gonna do the other thing anyway. :) I have a–well, let’s face it, an unrealistic–goal of getting a book out every other month this year, and getting going on this thing might make that possible. Yeah. YEAH. So THERE. SEE?!?!

    …or something. :)

  • CEMurphy

    big career change!

    I’ve alluded to this but not spoken much about it: early this year, my agency and I parted ways over what amounts to a disgreement about the direction of my career. It’s a little nerve-wracking to split with an agent of ten years (hence my reluctance to talk about it much!), but in last month the rest of my life slowed down enough that I was able to finally focus on getting a new agent.

    And I am now delighted to announce that henceforth, I will be a client of Ethan Ellenberg of the Ethan Ellenberg Agency, who represents other such noteworthy authors as John Scalzi, Karen Miller, and Rebecca York!

    I’m pretty excited about this: the EELA represents all the things I want to do, from picture books to mystery novels, with everything else in between. They’re even comfortable with me running more Kickstarters*, and have game plans in place for the things I’ve been working on recently. So I’m really looking forward to working with them, and shall pop with excitement when we get our first sale for me to report back to y’all. :)


  • the essential kit
    CEMurphy,  Writing


    I just finished reading Carol Berg’s THE DAEMON PRISM (which, like nearly everything Carol writes, is on my list of Favorite Books), and it got me to thinking about what makes epic work and what makes it work on a huge, international bestseller level.

    Carol’s epic fantasy usually focuses on a handful of people, rather than a cast of thousands, like (for example) GRRM. They’re very different storytelling styles and obviously bring different things to the table, both of which I find appealing in different ways.

    I wonder if one or the other has a more general appeal. Do people *prefer* to have the cast of thousands, or the more narrow handful of viewpoints? If the latter, is it driven partly by the fear that the author is going to keel over before finishing that epic with a thousand viewpoints, or is it just that actually we’d all be perfectly happy if the story was told from Arya, Tyrion, and the Hound’s PsOV? (Uh, my bias may be showing there. Move along.)

    If the former, though–if we really do love all those viewpoint characters, then what is it about that particular style that catches people up so dramatically? Part of it must be the agonizing wait, right? The fact that it’s really not all that unreasonable for a book of that magnitude to take several years to write. We clearly enjoy that kind of torture to some degree.

    But what else is it that catapults a series into GRRM territory? *Is* it the cast of thousands, the fact that we have so many characters to love and hate and cheer and curse? Part of it’s certainly the “holy shit, I can’t believe he did that” aspect, which is a bit hard to repeat at this stage because no matter what you do somebody’s going to say GRRM did it first, but pfft, nothing new under the sun, there.

    Some of it is the so-called gritty realism portrayed in GRRM’s books, although heaven knows Carol Berg’s, Judith Tarr’s, Kate Elliott’s, Michelle Sagara’s, Juliet E McKenna’s also contain plenty of gritty realism (dear god, go read Kate’s Crossroads Trilogy if you don’t think they do, or Juliet’s Hadrumal Crisis, for fantastically realistic characters in extremely real-feeling situations). And yes, I am calling out female epic fantasy writers deliberately here, partly because I *read* a lot more of them than I do male epic fantasy writers, and partly because I still don’t see them in the same eschelons as GRRM, despite feeling they’re equally good writers.

    But I wonder if a part of it isn’t the overt magic. ASOIAF opens with a promise of magic: the first chapter/prologue/whatever takes place beyond the Wall, and it’s clear the Magic Is Coming. But on this side of the Wall, for a long goddamned time, it’s all about politics and manuevering. Daenerys, who is the most overtly magic-controlling character for a long, long time, still takes what, at least one full book, before she even touches that territory. But in all the authors I’ve listed above, the magic is considerably more *there*, right from the start.

    I can’t help thinking that’s part of it. That it’s a question of massaging the magic in, as much as skill in storytelling or cast size. And there is invariably the question author gender, which on one hand is perhaps impossible to truly account for and on the other, well, I know I have a bias and I know *why* I have that bias. (OTOH, I /know/ I have a bias, which appears to also be an important factor.)

    I know there aren’t simple or straight answers to any of this. In the end it’s all in what serves the story. But if I was going to write epic fantasy, I wonder what would be considered the more appealing style, cast of thousands or a handful of protagonists, and where/when the magic should really come into the story.

    These are the questions that keep me awake at night. :)

  • Uncategorized

    redesign done

    I believe I’ve now converted all the pages on CEMurphy.Net to WordPress, which means the redesign is more or less done. It’s not as done as I want it to be, of course, but if you’d like to go poke at it and see if you can find any pages that don’t match, that would be great.

    One thing I’d like feedback on–should I reinstate the right column Out Now material? The header banner covers it now, but that only brings up one item at a time, whereas the right column could have all of it. Maybe below the Twitter feed but above the tags?

    While converting IMMORTAL BELOVED (the Highlander novel I wrote about 15 years ago, which is now available in PDF, epub, mobi and HTML versions), I also rediscovered CENTENARIAN, the first chapter of a book that doesn’t exist.

    Oh. Also. Not website related, but holy beans, guys. Kyle Cassidy keeps sending me new, wonderful, amazing photos of Gary. If it doesn’t completely break the bank, the limited edition of NO DOMINION is *totally* going to be illustrated!

    – write the PRSI letter
    – finish the tree house
    – vacuum
    – sign my name 1000 times
    – answer faith’s email
    – go to bed early. for the love of god, go to bed early.

  • Uncategorized


    Apparently I’m a question in the X-Box Trivial Pursuit game. “What city does C.E. Murphy’s Negotiator series take place in?”


    No, let me repeat: *buh*!

    In other news it has just struck me that the 10 pages of “Hot Time” I wrote today may have all just gotten me up to the beginning. This is…somewhat dismaying. I’ve written well over 6000 words on it so far. It’d be nice if more than half of that was useable. o.O

    I’m now going to spend the entire weekend playing City of Heroes, ’cause it’s DoubleXP weekend. :)

    miles to Minas Tirith: 538
    ytd wordcount: 201,200 (look! I broke 200K for the year!)

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