Thinking about Island of Fog: Book 5
Posted on July 16, 2011 (Subscribe to Blog)
Look, I just said I was THINKING about it; don't get all excited yet! After many months of possible titles knocking about in my head for the fifth book in the Island of Fog series, I'm still not completely decided. Sadly, the titles I would be happy with are already used – and recently, too – so I need to avoid them like the plague.
But in any case, having completed Book 4, Lake of Spirits, almost exactly as I envisioned back when I started, I'm now rubbing my hands, stroking my chin, and plotting the chapter summary for Book 5 with a maniacal giggle. It's going to be interesting as, throughout most of the book, I'll be working with only four shapeshifters as they set off on a mission to... well, now, that would be telling.
I plan to start writing Book 5 in September. Before then I need to finish editing Lake of Spirits, publish it in August, and then polish the totally separate standalone novel The Impossible World so that this unfinished manuscript is not hanging around my neck like an unfinished manuscript.
Meanwhile, I continue to receive nice comments from readers and I really must add them to my review section. Here's one from Jenna in Colorado:
I love your books, they're some of my absolute favorite books. I couldn't put them down once I started. I can't wait untill you write the next books. You're one of the best authors and I hope you continue your books for generations to come.
Speaking of generations, I've been asked several times if I intend sticking with the same characters throughout the series. In short, yes. Will they remain the same age? Again, yes. Everything that happened in the first three books took place within a couple of weeks, and the fourth book starts shortly after. Books 5 and 6 will follow as part of an ongoing storyline.
Will there be a Book 7? Not sure. I've toyed with the idea of a spin-off series, set in the same world(s) but a generation later... or perhaps with Miss Simone and her friends when they were undergoing their first transformations. I think that would be fun. What do YOU think?
All right. Back to work...
Keep the same characters - heed The Famous Five!
Ha! The thing about the Famous Five is that they had 21 adventures, with each adventure taking place during "the hols" — Christmas, summer, Easter, and so on — so when you put everything in chronological order you end up with about 10 years of adventures. That means the Famous Five went from ages 9-12 to about 19-22, and yet in the final books they were still (apparently) only just 16 or so. The author simply gave up on the timeline, knowing it was futile.
To be fair, this doesn't bother some people... but it bothers the heck out of me. That's why I'm deliberately keeping my adventures close together. If they're spaced over a week or two per book, running consecutively, chronologically it might not add up to more than a couple of months, or a year at the most even if I had 10 books.
Harry Potter is another way of doing it — deliberately advancing their ages a year for each book so they start off young and end up in their late teens by the end of the series. That works nicely in certain cases.
But all that aside, thanks for the vote, Brian! :-)
Have considered another way of doing things, were you to keep with the same characters. The advantage you have is that the lead characters are already the result of tampering, so an acceptable amount of regressive growth would not draw undue attention.
The possibility in that each time their form changes to their alternate form results in a physical halting of their human age (which would make perfect sense) although they continue to age in their alternate form. Changing back could have its own consequences in that there could also be a slight reversal in their age as they change back. Certainly at their current ages it may not be so noticeable, but as they grow older, it has the potential to be come more prominent a change.
Perhaps this could a way of nature trying to reclaim that which was changed and was not intended in the first place. Another potential adventure hook lies in waiting along that path if you so wished.
However, these are just the fevered imaginations of an over-imaginative D&D'er.
Blimey, Dave, that's an interesting idea! I'm not sure I could keep up with the different age timelines of each shapeshifter though. It would certainly be noticeable in someone like Felipe, who as you know has spent many years in dragon form. When he changes back to human form, is he still that young man from years ago? Well, not in MY story, but he probably would be in your version of it, and it could lead to all sorts of interesting ideas.
In the latest book, Lake of Spirits, there's a shapeshifter called Blair, from Miss Simone's generation. He's been off trying to find others of his kind, and he's found one — a phoenix he calls Jacob. Now, Jacob is a thousand years old, so presumably Blair can live that long too IF he remains in his phoenix form. What if he stays in human form, though? Presumably he'll age like everyone else and die around 90 years old. But if he stays in phoenix form, does this mean he can outlive all his friends? He could stay in phoenix form for a hundred years, then change back — and in that sense he MUST have suspended his human years to some degree. He couldn't just change back and be an old man, because that wouldn't really make any logical sense. Unless... unless we apply something like "dog years." Maybe ten years in phoenix form ages his human aspect by one year. Now, THAT would work.
Darn it, I feel like adding this to the book now...