Fever Teasers.

Here's a nice image of London by Gofftopia. It looks a bit too small to my mind, but it's got bags of atmosphere, and if you ignore St Paul's cathedral on the top there it could probably pass for one of the traction castles which roll around in Fever Crumb's era. That's why I've swiped it to illustrate this post. For after a few happy weeks spent illustrating Poskitt's new book (Murderous Maths - Easy Questions, Evil Answers) it'll soon be time for me to get back to work on Fever 3 (which still lacks a proper title, unfortunately.)

I've pretty much finished a first draft now, although the exact ending is slightly up for grabs. Now that I've had a break from it I'm going to read back through, work out what it's all about, hopefully find a name for it, and start again. It's shaping up to be a big book - not quite as fat as A Darkling Plain but certainly on that scale - and I have mixed feelings about that, as I enjoyed working on the smaller canvas of A Web of Air, and see that as the model for future visits to the WOME. But in Fever 3 I don't really have any choice; we need to find out what's happening in London, how Charley Shallow is getting on, what makes Quercus tick, all sorts of things. There are lots of new characters to fit in, too; like the waif-prophet Cluny Morvish, and the mysterious Borglum and his Carnival of Knives (though he's teetering on the edge of being written out at the moment). There's a perilous journey to the far north which currently forms the heart of the story, and leads to some discoveries about a) Stalkers, b) the Scriven and c) the Sixty Minute War, all of which is good, I think, although it draws the focus away from London, which maybe isn't. The promised mammoths are all present and correct, and the rival nomad empires of the north are all uniting against the Movement and its plans. But the big battle I had hoped to end on turns out to be a bit dull when it's actually written down - I remember now why I've always avoided large-scale battle-scenes before - and in the sweep of the story some of the characters are getting slightly left out.

The trick, I think, will be finding a way to keep the multiple storylines and points-of-view going, but make it as much about the characters as A Web Of Air is. Which is easy enough to type, but a lot harder to do. Bother. Anyway; second draft, here I come...