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All Worked Out…

August 15, 2008

Ever since my crisis of confidence last week regarding the worthiness of the Legions of Cannae concept, I’ve been wrangling with what I’m going to write next. For a time I considered going back to the Alaric idea, but then I came to the realization that perhaps I’ve been too focused on getting published.

When I set out to write The Scourge of Rome, it wasn’t to get published. Rather, it was to write a novel, so I could look back years from now and say I had done so. Somewhere along the way, I realized it was good enough to throw to the wolves of the publishing industry, and that realization brought with it a whole new heap of concerns and considerations, especially regarding what to write next.

It’s quite simple, really. If I continue the story of Scipio and friends, I do nothing to improve my chances of getting published, as the sequels would be entirely dependent on The Scourge of Rome landing representation. If, on the other hand, I turn away from the Hannibalic War series and write something entirely different, I could potentially have a second iron to put into the query fire.

Based upon that consideration, I cast my eyes afield, contemplating ideas ranging from the story of Alaric to Charles Martel, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (aka El Cid), and the Norman adventurer Roussel de Balliol. All compelling narratives, to be sure, but the thing is, I already have the rest of the Hannibalic War series in my head. The second book is practically outlined already, begging to be written.

And so, after much thought, I’ve decided to build on what I started with The Scourge of Rome, and continue the story of Scipio, Fabius, and the struggle against Hannibal.

As for the second iron? It can wait. I’ve only scratched the surface of my query list with The Scourge of Rome, and already have a few partials out. In other words, I’m nowhere near admitting defeat. Now, if I reach the end of that query list and have nothing to show for it, I may have to reevaluate, but that day will be a long time coming…

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2008 8:40 am

    I think returning to your original mindset–writing a novel for the sheer joy of creation–is a wise idea. When we start thinking about possible markets, looming fame and fortune, it can cripple or distract our Muse (or, if she’s a real purist, make her stalk off in a huff). I love historical novels–Conn Iggulden, Michael Ford, Stephen Pressfield are big faves–and we can always use one more good one.

    Hang in there…

  2. Kay permalink
    August 15, 2008 9:52 am

    I’m glad to hear you’ve worked it out. Personally, I look forward to hearing the rest of Scipio’s story from your point of view.

  3. August 15, 2008 10:28 am

    You are making the right decision – write for the sheer joy of writing. Publisher, schmublisher!

  4. mark permalink
    August 17, 2008 10:48 am

    I agree with the consensus. Way back in high school we had a conversation round y parents pool in which we discussed your desire to write a novel. Well here we re and you’ve done it. That’s a mighty fine achievement regardless of what the future holds regarding publishing. Besides, a publisher may be more inclined to consider the piece if they know you’ve got a potential series sitting behind it so they can continue to build profit from the novel’s success if it proves to be a hit.

    Worst case scenario, Nolan will have something truly ambitious to read after he finishes “Where the Wild Things Are”

  5. Matt permalink*
    August 17, 2008 8:09 pm

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. Glad to know I’m supported in this decision.

    And, the more I think about it, the more I think I’m on the right path. I’m more inclined to writing series than I am one-off novels, and I know that, as a reader, I’m always more drawn to trilogies or even longer series than to individual novels.

    I guess it all comes back to the fact that I like BIG stories!

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