It's been a while since I provided the last update on my next novel, Two Earths Are Better Than None. In my defence, I have published two books since then (The Mufflers Misery and Substrate Constraints), but I've been quietly working away at it in the background while also doing yet more decorating. I'm writing this in between coats on the other walls in the spare bedroom.
Well, I've now completed part one, which was always planned to be a short one of three chapters, almost an extended prelude to the main story. As I mentioned last year in my writing process blog post, I often take a step back and review things around this stage to make sure I'm happy with how the story, the characters, and the tone is developing. This time, I also sent it to my son for his thought.
That proved very useful, and I've just revised my first draft, which has set me in good shape to crack on with part two. I even cut one scene of about 500 words, but this can be largely reused in the second chapter of the next part, where it fits much better.
So what's changed? Well, the main character is now called Mason Ross, and in part one, you meet his wife, Emily, his former love, Lissa, and two aliens, Winston and Hobson.
There are still five parts to the novel, now called:
Protect the Duality
Bridge the Schism
Weave the Skein
Unpick the Narrative
Embrace the Unity
The first of these has three chapters and is currently around 11,000 words long:
Many Peria; Two Wives
One Peria; Two Earths
Another Peria; No Wife
And part two should have five chapters:
Switch and Bait
Fellowship of the Thing
The Two Powers
Return of the Thing
That's where you meet the most critical other character, Beth Borden, along with other members of their "Fellowship".
I'll probably change those Lord of the Rings references, but they work annoyingly well. I might have to lean into that further.
The cover still needs work, as you can see. I like the image, but the typography is a mess—one of the perils of a long title.
I've mentioned when writing some previous novels that certain artists or styles of music seem to fit better with my creative brain, but I haven't said what I've been listening to lately. For The Muffler's Misery, the most regular playlist contained all the albums of the band Big Big Train. They've been a great, belated discovery. If you haven't heard them, I'd recommend starting with the long track, Hedgerow. Wonderful.
This book seems to be gravitating around the works of Steven Wilson, particularly his solo albums, but also including Porcupine Tree. If you want to start somewhere with him, I'd look up the video of Routine on YouTube. Warning: you might end up an emotional mess.
Right. Time for a second coat in the bedroom, then on with part two – although that's probably tomorrow, after my Covid booster.
P.S. I'm sure you can work out what the shorthand in the title of this post means. It was Hobson's idea. It's on his sweatshirt.