David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

“MultiReal”: It’s Done

'MultiReal' manuscriptThe photo you see here is the completed manuscript of my second novel, MultiReal, the sequel to Infoquake. It’s been somewhere around three years in the making, and now it’s done.

The book measures 477 pages, or about 148,000 words (including appendices). There are 6 sections, 45 chapters, and 8 appendices. The opening epigraph comes from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” The tagline? “Infinite possibility is only a state of mind.”

Now, when I say the book is done, of course that doesn’t mean it’s absolutely, completely done. That means it’s going off to my editor at Pyr, Lou Anders, for any last-minute comments. I’ll be printing out another copy of the book for myself and giving it a last read-through with red pen in hand. I’ll be incorporating those changes by the end of the month — and then the book goes off to the copy editor. But I expect the changes to be pretty minor from this point on.

(Want to know how finicky I am? The printouts after the jump below showing some of my line edits to MultiReal are from the fourth complete draft of the book.)

Here’s an example of the kind of changes I’m talking about. I discovered yesterday that, after who knows how many read-throughs and rewrites, in chapter 45 one of my characters was “threading her way through the throngs of Thasselians.” I’ll admit I’m not always above allocating an assortment of alliteration in my writing, but this one was totally unintentional. And it sounded ridiculous, so it needed to be fixed. (The even more ridiculous part is that I had misspelled “throngs” as “thongs.” Freudian slip?)

So having completed the book, I can definitely say this: you have never, ever read a book like MultiReal before.

MultiReal might be the most exciting book you’ve ever read that contains both a series of Congressional speeches and a three-way dartgun battle. It has both a granular discussion about the ethics of different software pricing models and a virtual sex scene with four-breasted mermaids.

To give you an idea of how complex this book is, chew on this: there are three main point-of-view characters, three minor point-of-view characters, one chapter in epistolary form, and one chapter from the global omniscient point of view. The prose slips from past to present tense a few times. You’re going to learn that one important piece of history mentioned in Infoquake didn’t quite happen the way you think it happened. Some of the characters speak in code. More than one have double allegiances. Oh, and have I mentioned the multiple, alternate, simultaneous, and asynchronous realities?

Draft page from 'MultiReal'The plot bobs and weaves around, with a number of false starts and red herrings. There really isn’t one single narrative thread running through the book like there was in Infoquake. It’s still largely Natch’s story, of course, but Jara’s going to come much further into the foreground. And by the time the book comes to a close, you’re not going to know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, or whether some of them are still alive. If I’m counting correctly, there will be a total of eight different competing factions by the end.

In other words: MultiReal is designed to be trippy, challenging, and more than a little disorienting. One of the major themes of the book is the difficulty of making tough decisions based on incomplete information — and what if you didn’t have to? So if I’ve done my job correctly, you the reader will get a taste of what the characters are going through.

It’s a delicate tightrope for a writer to walk. The book has to be daunting enough to surprise you and confuse you at times; but it also has to be easy enough to follow that you don’t need a pad of graph paper and a scientific calculator. It’s got to have the meat of a grand political saga, the seasoning of a science fiction thriller, and the special sauce of old-school Wired magazine.

But that’s not to say MultiReal won’t be a lot of fun. You’ll meet a Natch look-alike named Geronimo who plays for a band called Dregs of Nitro. You’ll see Robby Robby with a big, frizzy Afro. You’ll see Quell opening a six-pack of whoop-ass with a big, electrified shock baton. You’ll see the top floor of the Revelation Spire (the world’s tallest building), which houses the remnants of the Venus de Milo. You’ll get a taste of what a MultiReal-fueled soccer match would look like. You’ll see how the diss make coffee. You’ll get to meet the infamous Aunt Berilla and see what happens when the Surina/Natch MultiReal Fiefcorp crashes her estate. You’ll see a drudge get pushed in front of a moving tube train. You’ll see the Defense and Wellness Council kicking ass, taking names, and then putting all those names on 24-hour surveillance. You’ll see Horvil using MultiReal to perform acrobatics on a darkened stairwell. And oh so much more.

Draft page from 'MultiReal'I’m still a novice at this novel-writing thing, so take this opinion with a grain of salt. But book 2 was about five times as hard to write as book 1.

I had a number of false starts. At some point, I intend to post all the first drafts of MultiReal‘s chapter 1, just like I did with Infoquake. (Read the nine drafts of Infoquake‘s chapter 1.) (Update 8/25/08 @ 1:30 PM: Here they are.) But we’re not just talking about differences in style and tone here. There were entire subplots considered, begun, and abandoned. There were a few times when I polished and polished that first chapter until it was perfect… only to decide that I needed to go in an entirely different direction. My wife and I even drove out to Harper’s Ferry so I could get a good look at the setting for one of those abandoned chapters. (Luckily, it wasn’t an entirely wasted trip; Harper’s Ferry does make a short appearance in the beginning of chapter 2.)

I’m hoping that Geosynchron, book 3 in the Jump 225 Trilogy, proves to be much easier to write. I’ve got a detailed outline and some individual scenes sketched out in my head. I’ve also got a very old first draft already written, though it’s so far out of date it will almost be no help. (To put things in perspective… when I wrote this first draft, Quell was an old man who liked to smoke hand-rolled cigarettes, Brone had died during the Shortest Initiation in book 1, and Natch still had a spunky girlfriend named Ferris. Then again, when I finished this draft, the only thing special about September 11 was that Bob Dylan’s long-awaited new album was expected to be released on that day.)

Excited? Can’t wait? Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to order a copy of Infoquake and read it through before MultiReal hits the shelves. Pyr has yet to announce their final schedule for the season, so I’m not going to pretend to give you an official word about scheduling — but it looks like we’re talking about Summer 2008.

And don’t worry, I’m planning all kinds of crunchy, wholesome promotional goodness surrounding the book. There’ll be free online material, con appearances, giveaway contests, podcasts and video blogs, readings, and more. So keep your RSS feed readers tuned to this here blog now, m’kay?

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  1. Mary Robinette Kowal on August 6, 2007 at 2:50 pm  Chain link

    Congratulations on completing it! I hope the rest of the finishing process goes smoothly and well.

  2. Fiona Avery on August 6, 2007 at 4:08 pm  Chain link

    Congratulations! That’s a lovely lookin’ manuscript!

  3. George Pedrosa on August 6, 2007 at 5:32 pm  Chain link

    I can’t wait to read this… Infoquake was probably the best science fiction book I’ve read so far this year.

  4. Dave Hutchinson on August 6, 2007 at 6:01 pm  Chain link

    The four-breasted mermaids sold it for me…

  5. David Louis Edelman on August 6, 2007 at 6:14 pm  Chain link

    Dave: I don’t want to lead you on. There’s just a brief mention of the four-breasted mermaids in the book. (Which means, of course, that it’ll probably end up being the cover illustration.)

  6. dre on August 6, 2007 at 7:39 pm  Chain link

    this is the best news i’ve heard all day!! i’ve been visiting this site for exactly this announcement, and now it’s here. now we just need to get GRR Martin fired up, and my future seems set… quick question: will multireal feature some type of intro or summary featuring open plotlines from infoquake, or is it more of a “throw you right back in the water” type thing?

  7. Josh on August 6, 2007 at 8:13 pm  Chain link

    All that being said…Many rejoicings! I’m glad you can celebrate the manuscript coming together as a whole. Now that we have almost a year to build up the hype, we best get cracking.

  8. David Louis Edelman on August 6, 2007 at 8:57 pm  Chain link

    dre: The book throws you in the deep end, for the most part — although there is some light recapping here and there in the opening six or seven chapters. That being said… right now, Appendix A in the back of the book is a detailed, 4 1/2-page synopsis of Infoquake that should be enough for someone who didn’t read book 1 to be able to follow book 2. Whether the synopsis will actually be in the final book is something I’m not sure about yet.

  9. dave on August 6, 2007 at 10:56 pm  Chain link

    Congrats, Dave! You must feel like a million bucks right now. An exhausted million bucks, I imagine, but a million bucks none the less!

  10. Kate Elliott on August 7, 2007 at 1:04 pm  Chain link

    Hey! Congrats!

  11. Matt Jarpe on August 7, 2007 at 2:05 pm  Chain link

    Dave, I’m exhausted just hearing about it. I’m just glad I’m the one on the “reader” side of this transaction. Now will you consider my earlier suggestion and just do Geosynchron in bullet points?

  12. David Louis Edelman on August 7, 2007 at 2:29 pm  Chain link

    Matt: I’ll do you one better. I’m going to do Geosynchron as a PowerPoint presentation. It’ll even have Clippy popping up between chapters saying “It looks like you’re attempting to activate bio/logic software programs on your OCHRE systems. Would you like some help?”

  13. the0phrastus on August 8, 2007 at 4:15 pm  Chain link

    hmmm…manuscripts…

    Is it just me, or is there something really fascinating about seeing a full manuscript printed out–even better, with penned in edits? Every author ought to snap a few shots of the ms. before it goes out the door. David Louis Edelman has posted pics of…

  14. John-Mark on August 9, 2007 at 6:47 am  Chain link

    This is absolutely impressive, and as an aspiring writer, it’s also immensely encouraging.

    I’ve never read Infoquake, but I’m sure as hell buying now; and I will be getting MultiReal when it comes out.

  15. Dave Hutchinson on August 10, 2007 at 4:49 pm  Chain link

    David@5 – doesn’t matter; I look forward to reading it anyway. Congratulations on getting it done.

  16. Victor Von on August 19, 2007 at 1:41 pm  Chain link

    Hi David. Congratulations on getting through the meat of book 2! I really look forward to reading it.

  17. synrG on August 25, 2008 at 1:17 pm  Chain link

    I’m about 60 pages from the end of MultiReal and thoroughly enjoying every page of the first two books in the trilogy….how far along is Geosynchron? Any projections of when it might be rolling out?

    No hurry, I’m having fun concepting illustrations and character studies, for my own amusement, for the first two…. so I’ll be rereading them anyway…. but just looking forward to the finale.

  18. David Louis Edelman on August 25, 2008 at 1:26 pm  Chain link

    synrG: Glad you’re enjoying MultiReal. Unfortunately, Geosynchron is at least a year away… maybe 18 months. It’s not out of the question that it will be released in Summer 2010. All I can say is that it’ll be worth the wait. Oh, and it might turn out to be quite a bit longer than the first two books.

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