Just in case you missed it on the Twitter machine, I finished the rewrites to Goliath, the final book in the Leviathan trilogy, last Tuesday.
This was a tricky series, requiring much more research and infinitely more art direction than anything I’ve ever done before. The fact is that each of these books took more than a year to write. They only came out a year apart because a) I started the first one a long time before it found a home at Simon & Schuster, b) and S&S have been kind enough to let me turn in this third one a bit late.
But it’s done. w00t! Time off!
And now onto your imaginary questions. (I’m in a fake dialog-y mood these days.)
So these are the “rewrites”. How much did you change?
Well, I turned in the first draft in October, the day before Cassandra Claire’s wedding and three days before my giant tour started—so, um, kind of at the last possible minute. That first draft may have been a BIT rushed. In fact, it was 3,000 words shorter than the rewrites I just turned in, mostly because the ending now has three whole new chapters. (To point out the obvious: Endings are rushed when writers don’t have enough time, because most folks write their books more or less in order.)
The first draft also had missing sections in other places, with labels like [MORE CRAZY STUFF HERE] and [FINISH DESCRIPTION AFTER KEITH DRAWS IT]. Those are all replaced with real writing now . . . I hope.
So “rewrite” means “just add more stuff”?
Well, no. That’s the most noticeable aspect of this particular rewrite, but not the most important. The most critical thing I did was to look at the character arcs (particularly the relationship between Two Very Important Characters) and make sure they were consistent, dramatic, and had their own beginning, middle, and end.
Also, there were special concerns because this is a Last Book. Like, I made sure that all the characters who have appeared across the series have at least one more shout out each, so we know where they all are at the end. I also tried to hit each of the underlying themes of the series (loyalty, duty, destiny, friendship, uncomfortable allies, mixing of technologies, the importance of truth, the importance of lies, and the badness of war) in ways that felt conclusive.
Wait. Last book? But there’s only been three! Don’t you know the secret meaning of trilogy?
Um, right. What I meant was that the three Leviathan novels are done. There’s still the Manual of Aeronautics to come. This book four, which may have a different title, will be a Spiderwick Field Guide-like large-format book of Keith’s art.
It’s going to be awesome, with big, full-color deck plans of the Leviathan, cutaways of the Stormwalker, and lovely portraits of many beasties, machines, and uniforms. Finally you will know what color everything is! There are also a few how-to diagrams, like Huxley Semaphore and sliding escapes.
It comes out in October 2012.
That’s ages away. When does Goliath come out?”
Well, it was supposed to be released October 4, 2011. But that has been changed to . . .
SEPTEMBER 13, 2011! That’s right, it’s coming out three weeks earlier!
Cool! Um, but if you were late, why is it coming out earlier?
I don’t know. I just work here.
So how long is Goliath?
It is 94,000 words, and I don’t know how many pages yet. For comparison, Leviathan was 79,000 words and Behemoth was 85,000 words. Inflation!
That means you did more pictures, right?
Well, Leviathan had 50 images, Behemoth had 55, and Goliath has 56 confirmed so far, and it should be more.
(These counts includes the end papers, spot art, and full-page art.)
Will you be spoiling some of these pieces for us?
Yup. Probably March 1 for the first one, and every first of the month after. So that’s (*counts on fingers*) seven pieces of pre-released art in all.
Plus we’ll obviously spoil the cover, which should be fairly soon. (I have seen a rough version and you haven’t. Neeners to all!)
What are you doing next?
That is the subject for another blog post. (Soon, baby, soon.)
Um, I’m out of questions.
Yeah, I’m sure you are, because you’re not even real. But if the many fine commenters on this blog have more questions about Goliath, etc., they should ask them!
Note: I probably won’t answer spoilery questions, except in cheating, non-useful ways that only drive you more insane! But feel free to ask them.