Ruminations on the Third Draft of the Fourth Book (with a blurb-in-progress)

When I sat down to write a fourth book in my Waterspell fantasy series, I wondered whether I still had enough to say about my characters and their world to produce a novel-length work. Turns out, I needn’t have worried. I got Drafts 1 and 2 down on paper in record time: started May 6; had a nearly complete second draft by September 6. After leaving the manuscript sitting for a couple of weeks, I started again at the beginning of the story, checking it against my stacks of notes, looking for loose ends and adding material to address every thread that I wanted to bring forward from the original trilogy. The result is a third draft that’s very nearly complete at just shy of 90,000 words. Book 4 will be the shortest in the series. The previous record-holder for “short” was Book 3, at about 115,000 words.

Book 4’s conciseness stems partly from my not needing to include so much description. The story takes place in settings that readers already know from Books 1 through 3.

I’m aware, however, that I’m relying more on narration in Book 4 than I did in the previous volumes. Between now and the early months of 2021, I plan to let the story sit largely untouched as I hear back from my beta readers and get some distance from the narrative. I’m a bit concerned that this story lacks the immediacy of Books 1 through 3, which were built on you-are-there, “real-time” scene-and-sequel with lots of dialogue and limited narration. Detailed scenes take more words to lay out for the reader than narration requires.

As a writer (and as an individual) I’m in a very different place from who and where I was when I finished the trilogy. It’s no surprise, to me, that my approach to Book 4 differs in tone from the original books. I’m trusting my beta readers (and my gut, once it has gained the necessary distance) to tell me whether my approach to Book 4 will satisfy readers who enjoyed the original story of Carin and Verek, or whether the “new me” is straying too far from readers’ expectations.

In the meantime, here’s the working draft of the book blurb. Any and all comments will be appreciated:

It’s five years later, Carin and Verek are married with children, and the grandparents are calling. Readers of the Waterspell fantasy series will welcome this long-awaited fourth book for the answers it provides to questions raised in volumes 1 through 3: Does the wysard Verek regain his powers, and will Carin make her way back to him? Have Carin’s parents survived the bleeding disease that devastated Earth, and will Carin ever see them again? How is the woodsprite faring in its new world? Has it forgiven the treachery committed by its greatest friend? Will Carin ever forgive herself for abandoning the creature? Does Megella get her wish, to be the wisewoman who midwifes Carin’s children into the world? Will those children bear the mark of their ancestry, or are they fated to be disappointingly ungifted? Did Lanse survive? Is Lord Legary really dead? And not least: Did the necromancer die in the jaws of Carin’s conjured dragon? Remember: There was no blood in the water. These questions and more are answered in Waterspell Book 4: The Witch, which picks up the story of the lovers, Carin and Verek, five years after readers last saw the pair separated in the closing chapters of the series’ third book.
By the blood of Abraxas, it’s about time we learned what happened next.

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