The Shadow of Blood has expended itself into a trilogy. This means that, yes, I really am working on FOUR WIPs at once. They are, however, feeding off of each other. Since expanding TSoB into a trilogy, I've learned that Rikiyu (Keiki), Jaiya, and Akiro went to mage-school together and that Barukei went to Secondary at the same time. I inserted something about Akiro's Mage-School being one of several other municipal buildings atop a levelled-off hill in TSoB2, and things sort of developed from there.
It's frustrating, somewhat. I had to equalize all the daily goals to 500wpd in order to keep up. I regularly do more than a thousand on them all and last night I slammed out over 3K on TSoB1. I've made up a timeline to determine exactly when everything's happening, and I started it on 3000, so now I know how long there's been an Imotinan Empire. LOL I needed dates, and wanted to start on an even number and three was the one that came to mind.
The best thing about working on all four WIPs at once is the fact that they're building on each other. I'm glad I started the others, even though it's bothersome. I now have a much clearer idea of the characters' relationships and a better understanding of how Rikiyu's (Keiki's) attitude about his relationships with Barukei, Jaiya, and Akiro challenges him. He's assuming that Akiro is untrustworthy, when in fact Akiro's decided to keep his friendships a secret. He cares for Barukei, and for Rikiyu. I haven't decided if he figures out who Keiki is . . . but I think he might. It'll allow me to insert a couple of intense discussions. Either that, or he'll just spill his guts at Rikiyu's ashes--against his brother's wishes . . . which will be rather difficult, since he doesn't like to do things quite so openly.
I figure TSoB will probably cover both Akiro's mage-schooling. The second will cover him with Pei Pei (Hiyo Faochimaotao), and the third . . . I haven't quite gotten that figured out, but I've got plenty of ideas for it. According to what I've already written, he's undergone something to hide some of his memories from him. I'm not sure what that is, because there's not quite enough going there. I may go and follow him through inei, but I'm not sure . . . it would certainly be interesting. He goes to inei on one of the four islands off the south coast, and, because of the spells that have blanked things out, he's a bit clumsy. He's also got more company than most Sabi'Oji generally do . . . all of the Zhiraikaovei are pretty much permanently bound to him. I haven't figured out why, but I do know in the TSoB2 that they're doing their damn best to convince him to become a Sabi'Oji.
I refuse to expand TSoB any further. It would be too much work, and I'm afraid that if it did get published it would lose readers at four books. I could give up on following Akiro through his part in correcting the problem he's created, but I see too much potential. This of course means I'll have to reiterate things from THoI, but it'll be from Akiro's pov, which should prove interesting and distint enough.
THoI is proving to be a bit more intense than I first thought it would be. The rough draft did not indicate anything of what I'm doing with the rewrite. It's still essentially the same story, but the focus has changed. This time, I've found the Heir-Regent rather quickly--Hiyo, who fulfills her duty by becoming a Sabi'Oji. Just when that's been almost decided, Keiki, who's all but drained himself with magic-use, leans of a major problem with magic. The last time a similar thing occurred, it blasted one continent into two and created a desert out of the southern half. (Huh, I think I know the map I need for Ferodoxis now . . . ) After that, the survivors each found a way to control magic: the northern survivors (Eudissainese) instituted pogroms and eradicated mages and have legalized the exposure/murder of mageborn children; the southern survivors bind children into a power matrix that, in time, makes each of them into the anchor/wells that they removed from their land (which has in turn kept it a desert), and the Imotinans have taken to binding mages, at the completion of their educations, to Wells and Sources (binding someone to an anchor will kill them--Anchors absorb power).
However, the last attempt at restraining power had been on a Source. Not nearly as dangerous as what Akotai (Akiro's brother) has done. Akotai's put a "lid" on a Well, and has altered the streams so that magic is going into his trap-spell. None of the power can get out, and the Anchor-end of the Well is also affected. This means if nothing's done--and if it's not done carefully--half the world will disappear. Granted, eradication of Eudissaine will prevent a lot of trouble, but the blast wouldn't leave any survivors elswhere, either.
I'm excited about this . . . very excited, but cautiously so. LOL But very, very excited.