The News from Ethshar

From a newsgroup post dated February 20, 2013:

So I just got a fan letter from someone wanting to know when I was going to write more about Valder of the Magic Sword, and I wrote back that I’d had At the Sign of the Crimson Wolf in my plans for decades but hadn’t gotten around to it, partly because the ending I’d outlined was really lame, and while I was typing that I suddenly realized that the entire existing outline had a HUGE GAPING STUPID PLOT HOLE, and fixing it could yield a much, much better ending. Much better.

(I had, incidentally, already fixed one huge gaping plot hole, long ago — somewhere between 1989 and 2004. Maybe that one kept me from seeing this other one.)

Anyway, I pulled up what I had on the project — basically, three files, one the opening, one the outline, and one a bunch of notes — and assembled it into a single file, and added my sudden new insight, which took all of three sentences. But it was interesting doing this, because upon looking at the outline I discovered I had completely forgotten a major subplot, and looking at the notes I found a paragraph I’d cut and pasted from a letter I sent Lester del Rey on February 3, 1989, talking about the project — and mentioning in passing that it was one of nine not-yet-written Ethshar stories that I had planned at that point.

I wonder what the other eight were? I mean, I can think of three of them off the top of my head, but I’m really not sure which others were in there…

Oh, wait. Six of the eight are accounted for. But the other two I’m still unsure of.

There’s also a note to myself dated September 3, 1990 (no, I don’t always date notes to myself, but sometimes I do) suggesting a plot twist that I’d forgotten that’s probably a bad idea.

Anyway, this has been entertaining, and has suddenly jumped At the Sign of the Crimson Wolf out of the great undifferentiated morass of “things I might write someday” into fourth place on the list of “Ethshar stories I intend to write,” behind Ishta’s Companion, Stone Unturned, and Azraya of Ethshar.

Note: Ishta’s Companion got written and was published as Relics of War, Stone Unturned is written and awaiting publication, but I’m in no hurry to write either Azraya of Ethshar or At the Sign of the Crimson Wolf just now.

4 thoughts on “The News from Ethshar

  1. Ethshar addicts want you to write all the stories! My son was asking me about more Valder stories just the other day, and I told him about Crimson Wolf. He asked why that wasn’t already out, and I didn’t have a good explanation other than, “Well, he just hasn’t written it yet.”

    1. Alas, I don’t have time to write everything I want to write! But I do hope to get to it before too much longer.

  2. I’d love to see “News from Ethshar” but the entire idea is complicated by the fact that Ethshar doesn’t really have a “present day” (meaning you don’t treat it as chronological sequence, instead telling stories from various parts of its history).

    1. Well, there’s usually a time I think of as “now,” but sometimes I tell stories from the past.

      At the moment, “now” is 5236 YS. When I started working on the series it was 5221.

      Anyway, I just used “The News from Ethshar” subject line for reports on what I was doing with the series, not actual news from the Hegemony.

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