About the Reader’s Companion (and Its Status)

About The Reader’s Companion to the Year of the Red Door

Background:

In a previous post, I talked about the copious notes that I compiled during the development, research, and writing of The Year of the Red Door.  Part of what I said was…

“With a long work such as The Year of the Red Door, it was especially important that all the parts of the plot and all of the characters fit together and sync up. Of course, I kept copious notes on all this, the characters, backstories, timelines, the events leading up to something or other, etc.”

 

Some of the material was purely for my own purposes, notes and rough ideas, lists and such that were handy for me to have while writing.  After a while, however, I started realizing that I had compiled quite a lot of little stories, snippets of history, explanations, backstories, and lists of names, places, and events.   I eventually began organizing my notes into an easy-to-use form, a reference work.  Again, it was for my own use.

Then a strange thing happened…

Well, maybe not all that strange, but surprising in a way.

All of those disparate bits and pieces began to merge and meld in coherent ways entirely independent of the main story that I was working on.   Myths became connected with legends, and legends with the histories of some of my characters.    Battles heretofore only mentioned took on more significance.    And events related in passing within The Year of the Red Door were illuminated by the biographies in my notes.

More and more, this reference work became essential to my writing. As it did so, and as it became more organized, it gradually took a character of its own, somewhat independent of The Year of the Red Door.   It had become a helpful companion, indeed.

Thus was born the Reader’s Companion.

The current form is of several parts or sections.   Here is a list of them (as currently constituted):

  • Section 1.  The Ages of the World: A Chronology of Events*
  • Section 2.  Tales of The Seven High Houses**
  • Section 3.  Sir Sun and Lady Moon*
  • Section 4.  Calendars*
  • Section 5.  Being Elifaen
  • Section 6.  A Brief History of Men
  • Section 7.  The Thrones of the Dragonkind
  • Section 8.  The Eighteen Objects of Power**
  • Section 9.  Glossary**
  • Section 10. Maps**
  • Section 11.  Genealogies

Those items marked with a single asterisk (*) can be found (entirely or in part) at The Year of the Red Door website.   Those marked with two asterisks (**) have been published (in some version) as excerpts in whole or in part.

The Reader’s Companion is long.   And it is dense.   If printed in a 6″ x 9″ format at a normal font size, the Companion would run around 500 pages, or thereabouts.

And that’s partly why it has not yet been published.

But I have a confession to make.

Yes, I can claim many excuses for putting off publishing the Reader’s Companion.   Time (or lack thereof) is one reason.  I have been and continue to be swamped with other tasks related to writing and life.   Another reason (or excuse) is that parts of the Companion are still too rough and in need of further editing and polish.

But there’s yet another reason that I have been reluctant to publish the Companion:   Spoilers.

Yes, spoilers.

There are a lot of items in the Reader’s Companion that might reveal a bit too much about things that matter in The Year of the Red Door.   At least that’s what I think some folks would say.   There are a few overt spoilers. And the careful student of the Reader’s Companion would be able to glean enough information (and piece it together properly) to know other things.   Overtly or not, some of those things are:

  • The identity of Sheila’s parents.   And why that matters to the outcome of the tale.
  • The relationship between the traitor of Tulith Attis and Robby Ribbon.   That might not really reveal all that much in itself, but it could be a topic of conversation, if not consternation (Volumes 4 & 5).
  • The reason Lord Tallin was mistrustful of Duinnor and the Unknown King (Volume 3).
  • How Lyrium came into possession of Ethliad the Sword, and why it was a really big deal for her to offer it to Robby (Volume 2).
  • How black eagles became servants of Secundur.
  • The identity of the spirits that haunt the lake near Lochton and their relationship to Sheila (Volume 3).
  • Why the name of a particular Dragonkind general struck fear and wonder in the heart of Lord Tallin (Volume 2).

And that’s just a few things that are revealed/explained in the Reader’s Companion.

Okay, so when will it be available?

To be honest, I don’t know.   I had hoped to produce it in mid-2016 to coincide with the release of A Distant Light.   Things didn’t work out that way.   And now, as the year nears its end, I can’t say for sure when I’ll be able to get the complete Reader’s Companion published.

Meanwhile, I will continue harvesting backstories from the Companion to share with my newsletter subscribers.   And I’ll be reassembling certain portions of the Reader’s Companion for publication in a similar manner that Eighteen Objects of Power was released.

So, to sum up, I hope very much that I’ll be able to release the full first edition of the Reader’s Companion by the spring of 2017, hopefully to coincide with the release of a second edition of The Year of the Red Door (more about that in another post).

Therefore, I beg your patience and continued indulgence!

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