Skirmish Summary, part 2 of part 3, and a note about the differences between reading and writing

This is the final part of the summary of the events of The Sun SwordSkirmish Summary 03.b.

There are — as I think Michael pointed out in the previous thread — events that I didn’t mention, in part because it would add enormously to the length of the summary, and if I hit 60k words, it pushes the meaning of the word “summary”. It probably wouldn’t surprise anyone, but it also wouldn’t be finished until next month.

I think the summary contains the backstory necessary to understand what’s happening now in Skirmish, but if there are points that are confusing, this is the post to ask questions in. I will try to answer them as they come up.

I also want to add something here. I did have a spoiler thread for Cast in Ruin discussion. I am happy to have a similar thread for Skirmish discussion, but when people begin to discuss, in depth, the contents of one of my novels, I try to absent myself from the discussion. This isn’t because I’m not interested; it’s because I don’t want to be a damper on the discussions that do arise, and if I weigh in, it frequently has that effect. What we perceive as writers and readers are different.

There are characters that I love that some readers hate. (I think Sendari holds the title as the character that’s caused the most conflict: my editor and several of my friends really loved & empathized with him; my mother and Kate Elliott loathed him). I obviously can’t argue with their reaction. I have my own — but my reaction in no way invalidates reader reaction. I didn’t intend that he be hated. I can’t change him after the fact, and to be honest, wouldn’t. He is, in my mind, who he is.

That’s an obvious example. But when discussions devolve into “what do you think the author intended”, it gets trickier. I can tell you what I intended (or didn’t intend, see: Sendari above), and I can sometimes do that without killing discussion completely, but not often. “Where do you think the author is going” is another example. I can’t really weigh in, because some people hate spoilers of any kind; even if I say “it is never going there”, it will close off those possibilities in a way that will leave some readers disgruntled.

I’m happy to answer questions — but some readers prize the discussion itself, and answering questions often kills that discussion. So: if you want my (non spoiler) answers to questions you have about my books, ask me here or in a blog post that’s not devoted to spoiler discussions, and I will try to answer them in a way that doesn’t step on reader toes.

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hugh S. Myers
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 02:49:14

    Well to paraphrase Jacqueline Carey; “Write as thou wilt” :) Just write… Yes you can come up for air, but don’t be too long about it!


  2. Michael
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 08:11:52

    When I commented in the last thread about the Kovasachi, I wasn’t thinking of it from the perspective “what we need to know to understand Skirmish”, I was thinking of the suggested political machinations withing House Terrafin. For me, the thought that someone in the house would see Jewel as enough of a threat to hire the best assassins in the world to end her was a revelation.

    That conversation between Kallandras and the Lady has always stuck with me. I also understand that if you were *really* going to summarize the Sun Sword series, it would probably take seven or eight books, so I completely understand why you were working so hard to hold yourself to a novella.



  3. DeDe
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 08:25:13

    Thanks Michelle. The summaries are a wonderful bonus. I’ve read Skirmish twice now (I think my husband is going to hide the book until I restock the refrigerator…) – and once again I find myself in a Catch-22. It’s so hard to simply enjoy the book, because as soon as I finish it – all I’m doing is wanting MORE of the story. :-)

    But I have to Thank you – for creating such a vibrant world…Love the trees…Thought they way Jewel finally claimed Terafin was perfect (although I too was ready to smack her upside the head – she was taking so long…) And I’m very curious to see if you let the cats meet Kiriel’s ‘dog’. LOL…

    Also curious that none of the den has asked about Kiriel – their youngest member…and on that note – I’m off to the ‘spoiler discussion’.


  4. Paul Howard
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 11:00:22

    Thank you.


  5. Hilda
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 22:55:03

    BEWARE!! My comments are :spoilers” so they are for this thread. For the past two years I have practically read nothing but Sagara/West novels (again & again). I don’t read a book straight through; I go back & forth in same books until I capture details and what I call “seeds” that you plant along the way. I also like to read these threads and enjoy the readers “smart” comments. What a clever, clever book..Amazing; it took me way beyond what i had expected to read, The twist and turns were not what I had in mind for Skirmish: Ishavriel and Jewel (he was busy in the S) ??, Celleriant confronting him ???Now, I wonder what will happen to Avandar in WAR, become second fiddler to Celleriant; and the cats? He seems to be puposely pulling away from her. I know there isn’t romance as such in House as in Cast, but for a second there, on that bridge, I had the idea of a spark between Jewel and Avandar. Is the spark gone?. When she told him “take me home”, what a wasted opportunity for him to play Rhett Butler and carry her in. The Winter King does it better. This book was full of surprises for me; when I thought it was going one way, it went another. Love it.
    Michelle, you have created so many heroes, and I’m looking forward to find in WAR the future for each and everyone. But how can you possibly end the series with one more book.? All these incredible complex characters in House and Sun Sword books. Even if you have to split War in two books, let us know their future. Even some of the “bad” ones need that; like what will happen to the beautiful Alasiani v. the ugly demons. You are amazing, we may even come to like some of them.


  6. kitty
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 00:11:50

    “All these incredible complex characters in House and Sun Sword books. Even if you have to split War in two books, let us know their future”

    I am hoping there are still plans for The Black Gauntlet to continue all of the other lines from the Sun Sword….

    I’ve been lurking for a while but not posting – love, love, love Michelle West/Sagara books. The Sun Sword is probably my favorite fantasy series.


  7. Kerri Knorr
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 06:49:33

    With Jewel’s aborted attempt to nickname Celleriant ‘Killer’ does that mean the “C” is pronounced as a “K” not as an “S”?


  8. Erin
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 18:38:28

    Thank you for thinking of those of us who don’t like spoilers! My copy finally came in the mail yesterday. I’m sooooooo excited to finally have it!!!


  9. ambyr
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 12:10:18

    Just wanted to chime in to say that I find Sendari a very compelling character. I don’t think I’d want to be best buds with him, but he’s flawed in tragic and understandable ways, and I always enjoy his PoV segments.

    Of course, there are other Essalieyan/Annagar characters I can’t stand that I know other people love. That’s part of what’s great about the books: so very many characters that there’s something for everyone.


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