Megapack, Assemble!

The contracts are signed, so I can now safely brag about the upcoming Lawrence Watt-Evans Fantasy Megapack that Wildside will be publishing. It’s a 99-cent e-book (though a trade paperback version is also possible) collecting two dozen of my old short fantasy stories, intended to lure readers in to buy lots of my other Wildside books.

I don’t know when it’ll be available; that’s up to Wildside, which tends to operate on a “When we get around to it” basis. Could be days, could be months.

Someone on Twitter asked about the table of contents, so here are the twenty-four stories that will be included:

“The Temple of Life”
“Mehitabel Goodwin”
“Heart of Stone”
“The Final Challenge”
“Beth’s Unicorn”
“The Bride of Bigfoot”
“Keeping Up Appearances”
“Dropping Hints”
“The Bogle in the Basement”
“The Man for the Job”
“Chaperone”
“Out of the Woods”
“Ghost Stories”
“The Frog Wizard”
“Horsing Around”
“Spirit Dump”
“Arms and the Woman”
“Mittens and Hotfoot” (originally published as by Walter Vance Awsten)
“Just Perfect”
“Trixie”
“In Re: Nephelegeretes”
“In for A Pound”
“Something to Grin About”
“Best Present Ever!”

Productivity

I feel odd right now. I’ve been very, very productive lately, more so than pretty much any time in the last twenty years.

So far in 2016 I’ve written 565 pages, on five different novels and a short story. (I may have written other short stuff as well, but I don’t have records of anything else.) That’s good for me, and happened despite a trip to China and many other distractions. The last few weeks have been particularly good — something like half that total got written in the last sixty days. And I think that’s partly because of where I am on all my most current projects.

I’ve always sped up after a certain point in whatever novel I’m working on — exactly what point, and sped up how much, will vary, but it always happens. I get to a stage where everything important is worked out in my head and it’s mostly just typing it out. I wrote the final third of Nightside City in five days, which was my previous record.

(This only refers to first drafts. Rewriting is a whole different thing.)

Sometimes there would be enough momentum in that rush to finish a novel that I would then surge rapidly through the opening chapters of a new novel.

Well, what happened this time is that after doing little writing for months because I was too damn busy with other stuff, when I got back to it I had three novels near their respective tipping points at the same time. I hit my stride on Tom Derringer in the Tunnels of Terror and rolled directly into Tom Derringer and the Steam-Powered Saurians, and when that started to slow I hit the tipping point in Stone Unturned, and I think I’m about at the tipping point for Bravo Foxtrot, as well. (Have I ever made it explicit that Bravo Foxtrot is the protagonist’s name but not necessarily the title? Because that’s the case.)

Three novels at once hit the “hurry through” stage. That’s never happened before, and it feels strange.

Anyway, I’ve been in “finish the novel” mode for the last month and a half, but I still have around three or four hundred pages to go on two different novels, so I don’t know whether I can sustain it for the entire run.

And there’s also the “start a new project” aspect. That’s a real thing for me. Now that the part of my brain that builds the underlying story is finished with Stone Unturned and Bravo Foxtrot, it’s looking for something new to do, and it’s hopping from one idea to the next, sometimes developing unfinished old projects, sometimes coming up with new ones, and it’s distracting. Right now it really, really wants me to start work on an untitled novel about two sisters where one has a magical talent but it’s the other one who has a magical destiny, but I know if I do that I’ll lose my momentum on Stone and Bravo.

(At least I pried it off Tom Derringer and the Steam-Powered Saurians and Tom Derringer and the Electric Empire for now. Yes, I want to write those, but I want to get other stuff done first, and I know those aren’t really ready for serious focus yet. And that two-sisters story is going to be so cool when I have time to work on it. And I’ve also been involuntarily working out more of The Dragon’s Price and The Siege of Vair. I was even thinking about One Hundred Suns the other day, and that’s been largely abandoned since the 1980s.)

What I’m worried about is burning out, or getting distracted. I don’t think I can keep this up forever. There was a stretch of really high productivity in the early 1990s (half of which wasn’t obvious because it was by Nathan Archer), but it didn’t last. This one probably won’t, either.

Why is there Webbing?

Okay, I have updated the pages for The Cyborg and the Sorcerers and The Wizard and the War Machines

Still don’t have the other two (artists and directory) done.

Haven’t done anything more with those new placeholders, either.

The next chunk, chronologically, is five files dated November 6, 2007. They’re all for novels — Split Heirs, The Lure of the Basilisk, The Rebirth of Wonder, Touched by the Gods, and Worlds of Shadow.

Yeah, fine, that last one’s a series, rather than a single novel.

Anyway, I don’t know how much work they need, but I’ve loaded them into my web editor.

Webbing On!

I still haven’t finished with updates for The Cyborg and the Sorcerers or The Wizard and the War Machine, or two others — one I decided was just too much for now and put the placeholder back up with a few minor changes, and the other (about cover artists) is progressing bit by bit.

But I skipped ahead and did several more files. Except for those four, I’m now up to November 6, 2007. In the last three months of 2007, ending December 16, I did a pretty major update, so there’s plenty to do — but once I’m through this chunk things should speed up, at least for awhile.

I’ve spawned four new placeholders I’ll need to fill in eventually, for Nathan Archer, the Bound Lands, Carlisle Hsing, and Tom Derringer.

Webbing Winds On

Workin’ on October 2007.

You know what I hate? When I realize I missed something obvious from a recent update. For example, I updated The Chromosomal Code and The Spartacus File earlier this week and only just now realized that I hadn’t added a link to Realms of Light to either of them — and even stupider, I had added links to Vika’s
Avenger
and Tom Derringer and the Aluminum Airship to the page for The Chromosomal Code, but not to the one for The Spartacus File that I did two days later.

Well, they’re fixed now.

I’m working on The Cyborg and the Sorcerers and The Wizard & the War Machine. They needed some work. There’s no mention of the Wildside reprints…

Why Webbing?

Updating my website is addictive. I keep trying to tell myself, “That’s enough for now, focus on something else,” and then think, “Oh, just one more…”

This is because I spent three years wading through all the placeholder files I put up on March 7, 2005. File after file, tracking down where a story had first been published and saying something about it — and then suddenly, on December 7, 2014, they were done, and I was updating existing stuff and talking about all sorts of different things and there were never more than maybe four or five files in a day, and I could just tear through months at a time.

Exhilarating!

I’ve gone from nine years and nine months back to seven years and three months since then. It’s wonderful.

The Webbing Continues

So I had to figure out what to do with that bibliography page — which, upon checking, said it was last updated on December 12, 1995, and the 2007 update had only consisted of tagging it “Placeholder” and moving it to a new URL. Did I really want to update nineteen years of missing data?

My eventual answer: No. I decided that this mostly duplicates information I have elsewhere on the site, so I threw out most of the content and reduced the page to more or less, “The information you want is here, and here. Follow the links.”

One reason to do it that way is that if I kept it, it would need constant updating. I now know I’m not going to keep up with anything like that — back in ’95 I hadn’t yet figured that out.

I went ahead and worked through several more pages after that, many of which didn’t need much. Even the “personal” page turned out to need less work than I’d expected.

I did generate a couple of new placeholder files, though, where pages I was updating should obviously have links to pages that didn’t exist yet. I’ll fill those in eventually.

The next set of four files, from October 12, 2007, is the pages about the four volumes of “The Lords of Dus,” and I know the links to booksellers need updating, but otherwise they should be pretty much okay as they are.

So I’m down to just seven years and three months out of date.

More Webbing

Still updating my website, oldest files first.

There were six files that shouldn’t have been on the server in the first place; they were blog archives from when I switched from Blogger to WordPress in 2006, and they should have been filed away on my hard drive, or simply deleted once I’d copied the posts here to the WordPress archives, instead of sitting there taking up space.

So I copied them to an archive folder and deleted them from the server. I did put in a redirect for the one that had been set up for public access, even though I doubt anyone ever saw it.

(If you’re curious about what was in them, it’s everything in the September 2006 archive, there in the right-hand column, except for the last two entries.)

Did a few other quick little updates which finished 2006 and got two files into 2007. Updated or removed some dead links, reformatted a couple of things.

The next file is from April 23, 2007 — International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, less than eight years ago. Definitely needs some clean-up, but a relatively minor job.

But after that there’s a bibliography page, and then http://www.watt-evans.com/personal.html, which is going to be a big job.