More Goliath Answers

In my last post, I announced that I just finished my second draft of Goliath, and invited questions in the comments. Here are my answers:

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft?

I started Goliath in early January, so nine months in this case. The rewrites took about five weeks. (I also do two months of touring a year, and usually take a month off after that. Plus there’s all the other editorial stages to come. It all adds up to more than a year per book. Yes, I used to write much faster, but I got old.)

I know Extras had a complete rehaul upon rewriting––was there anything in the Leviathan series (any of the books) that has changed majorly from draft to publication?

For those of you who didn’t know, about 16,000 words of the first draft of Extras had to be changed from Hiro’s to Aya’s POV, when I realized that Aya was doing all the cool stuff. That was a pain.

Here’s an excerpt of the first version.

No rewrites of that magnitude happened in the Leviathan series, though the endings to both books 1 and 3 were changed a lot. As I said yesterday, Goliath‘s ending was expanded by several chapters to cover all the stuff I wanted closure on. With Leviathan, I had to do a more structural refit. Here’s what happened:

In the first draft, the eggs hatched at the end of Book 1, and Bovril’s first word (“Constantinople”) was the last word of Leviathan. But Bovril was so cute that it made the end a bit too light-hearted, so the hatching got moved 16 chapters into Book 2, where I used it to interrupt Alek’s escape. (This was my editor’s idea, and she was totally right.)

How long before the inevitable ARC giveaway, so that we can plan our stalking of your blog accordingly, in hopes of reading the book as soon as possible?

I don’t do ARC giveaways here, because I am quite bad at MAILING THINGS. But ARCS will appear at Book Expo America in late May, and will probably start bouncing around on blogs shortly thereafter.

During the forum meet up you mentioned more Croy. Care to explain more?

This question thread is about Goliath! (But there’s a hint somewhere below.)

So does this mean that Jaspert will make a reappearance in Goliath?

Not everyone appears again, but we do at least know where they are. Like, all the key people are mentioned in one way or another. But we will also see some old faces. (Vague much?)

So um, I have a probably really annoying question but—when does the uglies movie come out? Or is it still in production?

It is not in production. Believe it or not, it’s still in the script phase. (I mean, it was only optioned SIX YEARS ago. Patience!)

Now that you’ve turned in the final product, what sort of sausage-maker does Goliath get churned through between now and September? What are the steps that take it from “writer submits finished product” to “ravenous fans purchase and devour”?

This answer turned into a whole post, which will appear tomorrow or the next day!

Does Volger know that Deryn has feelings for Alek? I feel as if it was alluded to, but I am not quite sure.

You mean in Behemoth? Well, he did guess she was a girl partly because she got “a bit screechy” when talking about Alek, like worrying about him too much. So I think he knows that she has a crush. (Volger would at least be concerned that she does, given that he’s already been through this fall-in-love-with-a-commoner-thing with Alek’s father.)

What are you going to do now? I don’t mean like writing a new book but you know, what are you going to do while Goliath goes through publishing?

See tomorrow’s post for my Goliath-related duties. But personal time-wise, I’m hanging out in Sydney doing the usual: getting into internet slapfights (ahem), watching cricket, designing a card game (a weird hobby of mine), cooking Turkish food, and working on a S3Krit PRojEct that will be announced at Comic Con. (This is what I meant by “I probably won’t answer spoilery questions, except in cheating, non-useful ways that only drive you more insane!” Bwah-hah-hah!)

I’ll also be going to LeakyCon, because this year their YA thread is being curated by the esteemed and undiagnosable Maureen Johnson!

Is there already a date for the third of my beloved audio books?

Certain nameless online retailers list September 11, 2011. Two days before the print edition? Odd but possibly true. Usually S&S Audio tries to get it out the same day. For Behemoth that was impossible, due to Alan Cumming’s movie star schedule, but hopefully this time it will work more easily.

Will the release date also be September 13 in Great Britain?

Not sure. Release dates in the UK tends to be less “hard” (for my books, anyway). That is, they come out over a couple of weeks, drifting onto shelves rather than all slamming down on the same day.

When Dr.Barlow finds out that Alek named his perspicacious loris Bovril she seamed really upset but I’m wondering if that really disturbes her or if she’s just not used to beasts having their own names. (The second confuses me because Dr.Barlow did name both of her message parrots in the first book.)

Nice continuity catch. The parrots were experimental, and wound up with names, true. But it’s one thing for Dr. Barlow and her lab cronies to name their beasts, quiet another for a common soldier to do so. (You didn’t think Dr. Barlow had to follow her own rules, did you?)

So when will you be optioning these stories to Hollywood?

Conversations are being had. Watch this blog.

If the book’s done they what happens to it in between the release date and now?

As I said, see my next post.

Do you mind us calling you Scott? my mom thinks we should call you Mr. Westerfeld and I was just wondering!

Scott is just fine, though Scott-la is also acceptable.

45 thoughts on “More Goliath Answers

  1. ok sorry for the stupid comment above lol i just had to claim first place.
    that all sounds really good!!! im soo looking forward to march 1!!!!
    umm just another quick question, when Behemoth was released i was driven mad by the fact that everyone got it before me because I live in australia and when it finally got here it was like four weeks after the release date. Will this happen again for Goliath???

  2. thanks for answering my question, Scott-la!! ALSO: guys, doesn’t it sound like his new project is an Uglies spin-off?????? *dies*

  3. Just wanted to say that I completely agree with the above comment, and I’d just like to add: omgwtflmao!

    Seriously, though, I’m so glad to know that Alan — Can I call you Alan? Thanks. — is going to be doing the third audiobook. To be honest, I can’t really hear any of the characters any other way now.

    The only question I have — about the series in general, really — is how much research did you do on the historical period? I mean, did you completely immerse yourself in it first, and then put a technosocial* twist on it and develop the story? Or, did you have a story/character/technology idea first and then work it into 1914-1918, taking pieces of that era as you went along as you liked or needed them?


    *wasn’t really a word, until now, when it is. i call it an uberlogism**

    ** see *

  4. Haha, not “Scott-Sensei”? Because I think that this point it’s fair to say that you’ve earned yourself a reputation bubble. Anyways, I can’t believe that was what the first draft of Extras was like. It just seems so different, considering that there isn’t too much known about Hiro by the end of the book, but we know so much about Aya. If you stuck with the first draft for the book, how would you write about the part where Aya’s mag-lev surfing with the Sly Girls and they stumble upon the inhumans/”city killers”? Would Aya still have discovered it or would you have changed it so Hiro ended up discovering it and kicking the story?

  5. I’m glad you didn’t have Bovril show up at the end of book one. Him showing up during Alek’s escape was perfect. (Yay for editors!)

    Also, i sincerely approve of this one-post-a-day thing. Excited for tomorrow’s post!

    (Ps, how about ‘Westy’?)

  6. Thanks for answering my questions! I am desperate for anything Leviathan at the moment. Goliath coming out is sort of bitter sweet for me.

  7. I have a question and a comment:

    Question first: What about the Ebook? you know the digital book… when does that come out? Because if that comes out before the hard copy I’m going to have to con some people into buying me some more borders gift cards before that happens.

    In my corner of the world it’s still February the 5th! So technically I’m commenting before anyone here, and will possibly be reading Goliath before?

    Oh and an answer to John:
    If Mr. Westerfeld (er Scott) doesn’t mind:
    He got the idea from when his parents died – how the world felt broken to him. Then he wondered what it would be like if the world really was broken because of your parents dying. That lead to how in world war one the world really did break because of someone’s parents dying.
    So I would assume it was a little bit of both.
    (I went to a part of his tour)

  8. Oh, sorry my comment above is invalid, I missed the sentence under Leave a Reply : “Comments are stamped with Australian Eastern Standard Time”
    So any of the commentators could be in the same time-zone as me =/

    Either way it’s still pretty cool to be commenting on a blog before it was written.

  9. I have another question or two. I don’t mean to load you down, I’m just sort of obsessed with the series.

    Is your wife Clanker or Darwinist, and why?

    And what made you want to write a steampunk book that takes place during WW1 instead of the Victorian era?


  10. Scott-la!!!!!! You can’t imagine how happy I just became. It’s so unreal getting all these answers to these question in my head. Earlier release date?! So happy making!!! I cannot wait for the artwork and sneak peeks of Goliath. bring on sept!!!

  11. I have a question, not SPECIFICALLY about GOLIATH, but that may be answered within it.

    In BEHEMOTH, when Lilit kisses Deryn, does she know (or at least suspect) that Deryn is Deryn and not Dylan?

  12. If a Leviathan movie series is made, Tim Burton should direct it. I just watched Sleepy Hollow, and he can really create a different world within an old fashioned one. It would take someone very gifted to pull off Leviathan. Nobody wants another Twilight. Luckily, these books are far better in terms of, well, everything, so even if a movie sucks, it won’t be that bad.

  13. @clareh
    I was thinking the exact same thing today!!! I mean that would be sooo good, and Tim Burton has this way of making his movies dark and mysterious but they are really captivating at the same time. he has his own style of filming which I think would really suit Leviathan.

  14. @Moonie

    I’m with you on the animated thing.Live-action films are cool,but animated movie don’t have the problem with it coming out completely different and growing actors.

  15. I’ve always wanted to know what authors thought of this question: If you knew they were going to do a movie of one of your books and if you knew that the movie woulnd’t be what you wanted or give your book justice, would you still want it to be made into a movie? What if the movie gave your book a bad name and turn people off from purchasing it?


  17. So Scott-la, Since you’re going to all these conferences, I was wondering if you would be willing to drop by TT4L this year, seeing as you did not last year. Plus, James Dashner is going and I think it would be great to have you both.

    P.S. Did you get the first chapters of my book, Future Messengers? I sent them like when you came to Allen Texas, so about four or five months…

  18. I can not wait till March, but, me being curious would there be any pictures of Deryn in a dress, you know before she became Dylan?

  19. I want it to come out now! that would be AWESOME! me and my best friend are crazed with love for this series!

  20. Ugh, I’m SO EXCITED!

    I’m also really excited for whatever you write next- I was sort of daydreaming about it today. 😉

    And I’m so pumped for this summer!!! I’m going to both LeakyCon and ComicCon (tickets for the latter were successfully obtained yesterday)! I’m dressing steampunk at ComicCon the day/s you’re there, Scott-la!

    PS. Croy!

  21. hehehe what is this about Croy? i am quiiiitteee confuzzled. he has nothing to do with GOLIATH and i didnt go to the forum thingy! someone catch me up!

    -Lizzy-wa OUT! 😐

  22. @Kailey-wa
    I was just discussing how the heck to convince my parents to take my sister and I to LeakyCon!

  23. How about Scott Effendi or Scott Pasha (to be a little more Ottoman Turkish?)

    Or maybe Scott-san or Scott-sama (because manga and anime are awesome)

  24. Thanks for answering those questions! Even though I didn’t think of most of those, they were pretty helpful.
    And it’s nice to know that we can call you Scott, haha.

  25. movie=Miyazaki

    Best airships ever, well except for Keith Thompson’s! I look at his Cyborg, freighter, air yacht every day, makes the homework go better

  26. We could get all Watership Down and say Scott-rah. 🙂 I hope the movie talks lead to exciting news. (If Tim Burton made them, you know Helena Bonham Carter would play the dear Doctor…and that might actually be great.) I too think it would be a smashing anime though–26 episodes of airships and adventure sound good to me.

    I haven’t been this excited about a book coming out in years. Can’t wait until September!

  27. thanks for all the answers, Scott-san!
    If there was a movie, wouldn’t Miyazaki do I super good job? If it were animated, there could be many more possibilities… but I don’t think he has time for american books… 🙁 unfair! Leviathan deserves it! But I have another question… what does it mean when you put la after a name? oh, and when will there be another fan art friday? 🙂

  28. I have a couple of questions 1. it never says in the either “Leviathan” and “Behemoth” what color Deryn Sharp’s eyes are. what color are they? We know that Alek considers Dylan his best friend, but Does Alek see Dylan as more of a brother than just a friend and just doesn’t realize it yet? or he (you) won’t tell us? 😉 Will we learn/see more of Alek’s thoughts and feelings in “Goliath” because Deryn is always sharing her feelings to the reader, while Alek hardly does, at least about Dylan anyway.

  29. Scott-la, nice touch!

    One questions I have as an aspiring author is if you went through a lot of schooling, and how hard it was to find a publisher for you.

    I want to write Young Adult fantasy.

    I love your books Scott, thanks for being an inspiration and keep pumping out the awesome series and I shall continue to fill up my bookshelves!

  30. Will we be seeing any romance in Goliath? I imagine you’re asked this a lot, but I really want to know if Alek and Deryn will end up together or if you’re going for a lame “escaflowne” type ending.

  31. Scott-la,
    how is it that you have the patience and persistence to keep on writing? What I mean to say is, I have so many great ideas for books that I could explode. I’m mostly made up of stories, blood, organs, and bones. (but mostly stories) What do you do? I’ve already written several stories but I come to this awkward point when I don’t know what to write next. I become frustrated because I realize that I was so focused on what was ahead that I’m not taking it one step at a time to fill in the adventure. (Kind of like life) It’s maddening. Do you ever feel that way. You just got so caught up in the idea you forgot to add soil for the idea to grow. Do you have any advice for a rookie?

  32. I want to know what Br. Barlow’s unfinished sentence near the end of Behemoth was! She said “But they weren’t designed to bond with two people! not unless…” then she got all suspicious and asked if Deryn and Alek have a close friendship. (But you already knew that, because you wrote the barking book)
    i spent a while googling the ‘imprinting’ of ducklings to try and figure out what she was going to say, but that didn’t reveal much.
    All well, I have my sispicions (over scrutinizes the handful of sentences and will no doubt loose sleep over this)
    *sigh* well, on the bright side, Goliath comes out about three months from now! Oh, I just made myself sad.

  33. Please make a movie. I read all three of the books and all I could think when I finished was ” Wow, this would make a great movie!!!!!!!!!”

    P.S. I also wondered, what happens next? Hint, Hint

  34. I comment each time I like a article on a blog or I have something to contribute to the discussion. It’s caused by the fire displayed in the post I read. And after this post More Goliath Answers westerblog. I was excited enough to post a thought 😉 I do have 2 questions for you if it’s okay. Could it be simply me or do a few of the remarks appear like they are left by brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are writing at other places, I would like to follow you. Could you list all of your communal pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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