God, We Reach For Ancient Skies

May you be brave in times of trial when others lay crosses on your shoulders.

"What happened to Between Earth and Sky?"

No, I'm not suddenly veering off from Plenilune to attend to yet another novel jostling in my head to be written.  But Joy asked me this question on Facebook and I figured, hey, I haven't talked about Between Earth and Sky in a long, long time, so I thought I would jot down a little about it and tell you why I put it aside for awhile. 

I told my husband just last night, after reading back over a theological, philosophical discussion that had made it into the manuscript of Between Earth and Sky, that the novel is like The Shadow Things, but on steroids.  Honestly I haven't picked the manuscript up in over a year, but having run an eye over it again, I can truly say that it's good stuff.  I recall being peeved and fretful over it before, but after a brief perusal I found it to be tightly-knit with sound dialogue and description and (my favourite, and the hardest thing for me to work in) foreshadowing.  I was actually really pleased with what I found and really excited to begin on it afresh.  I can't right now, of course - I'm in the middle of Plenilune.  (Figurative middle.  I have no idea how far into the plot I really am.  Plots are like that, you know...)

Why did I stop?  Two reasons.  Well, three.  One, I was in the middle of seriously editing Adamantine.  I always have shards of ideas coming off my imagination, but I don't multitask on two demanding stories very well so when the second reason for my leaving off working on Between Earth and Sky hit I had that excuse to fall back on.  The second reason is that I got stuck.  Probably no more stuck than I normally get in the course of writing: I just got gummed up.  The third reason I stopped is that, at that point, I had not learned to push on.  I've learned through writing Plenilune that if I put my back into it, more words will come.  I simply have to plough through the mess.  Back then I hadn't learned that, so between Adamantine, being stuck, and having a bit of a squishy backbone, Between Earth and Sky was put down.

Don't despair, though!  I love that plot.  I love those characters.  It will demand everything and more from me, but I am looking forward to it, to the curve-ball questions characters will throw at me, the moral conundrums we will find ourselves in, the stepping out into the darkness in faith which all of us experience.  Perhaps I was too small for the story before, and that is why I put it down...  But now I am wildly afraid of it as you are afraid of a huge wave that is about to break over you, and yet loving to be caught up in the ruthless glory of it.  It will demand everything and more from me, and I am glad of it.

The manuscript of Between Earth and Sky is only 74,341 words and, where I left off, I was only just cupping the little ember of its plot in my palms and blowing it to life.  What is it about?  It's about the demands placed upon a man of God, serving a people who do not know Christ, bringing the light of the Gospel to the uttermost ends of the earth.
Walking alone. 
Valerian’s face returned, distant and contemplative; but always sure of itself, as though from some high and lofty quarter, an eagle’s eyrie, perhaps, the man could see the world as it turned.  Had Valerian known?  The thought chilled him colder than the brisk evening wind.  Had the man stood beside him that honey-yellow evening in the cloister and thought, ‘This boy will walk alone’? 
He might never know.

8 ripostes:

  1. ONLY ~75,000 words...?!



    *squeeze* I love you. And I do hope to hear from Rede again. You were sending me snippets of him in Coatsburg, I think. ^.^

  2. Ahahaha... only 74,000 words? That's farther than I've ever gotten on one novel, my dear, so I'd say you're doing pretty well. However, in comparison to the scope of Adamantine and Plenilune, which, if I understand, are 100,000 word epics, I do see why 74,000 isn't that much. Still, you're doing amazingly well and you inspire me with the sheer length and magnitude of your manuscripts!

  3. Oh, and P.S. - every time I see "Between Earth and Sky", I think of myself. So strange to see my name and have to do a double take. :P

  4. Anna - *shnug!* It goes without saying (but I say it anyway) that I love you too. ^.^ More on Between Earth and Sky in a pending letter for you!

    Sky - I know my perception is skewed. The Shadow Things is, admittedly, a pretty small book. (And everything I'm writing is being written in Richard Hammond's voice - ahh, I can't escape...!) I'm constantly surprised by how fast people tear through it, though they tell me that the plot always grips them and drags them a la Hector behind it... But I don't do things by halves! After a small novel like The Shadow Things, I launched into the huge wordcount of Adamantine and Plenilune promises to come close to that. Between Earth and Sky, I have no doubt, is going to be a respectable sized creature. The plots just aren't small, and the people barely fit in them.

  5. I'm very happy over here. "Between Earth and Sky" was, is, and always will be my favorite. I love ginormous plots! My own is so gargantuan I can barely comprehend all of it. However I decided to fit it into several books. Funny this post coming just now. After emailing you I sat back and thought, "Ah, i miss Earth and Sky, I wish shed write more about it, those chariots....sigh"

  6. OH YES! After reading that bit about the spear I know I will love this as much {or more} than Plenilune!

  7. Hmm, sounds interesting! And 74,000 words...I have yes to read such a sum. My average plots are around 55,000, but I think with Winter Wings it will be a good deal longer. I'm hoping to take it to 100,000, but we'll have to see...


  8. What I meant to type with my clumsy, tired fingers was "I have yet to reach such a sum." ;P Silly me.