Sunday, 24 January 2016

Tyger Update!

I had an amazing message from a reader recently.  He asked me some questions that I thought might interest other readers too, so I'm making this blog to answer them.  The questions came from Victor Wang in China – you can read his full comment here.  He says:
"I have always loved your books, ever since Varjak Paw caught me and dragged me into the world of the "kung-fu cats", when I was 10. I could tell that I finally found the right author. Afterwards, I continued with The Outlaw Varjak Paw, then, Phoenix. I remember you recommending me to read Phoenix whilst waiting for your next book to come out. I have indeed read it, and many times, and could read it thousands of times without getting bored, but I just simply can't wait for your next book to pop out!
As you have said, Phoenix is indeed your best book - yet - and I sincerely loved it, it's one of the best books I've ever known... But I've been told Tyger would be even better…  If your best book is yet to come, could you please tell us about it? We'd love to hear more about it, even several sentences about where you are, and how long you think it might still take would please me, and your fans enormously!"
So first of all, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Victor!  Phoenix took me seven years to write, but all the hard work feels worthwhile when I hear things like that.  I do think Phoenix is the best book I've written so far, and I hope that anyone who's enjoyed Varjak Paw will enjoy it too.  It might sound very different, but it comes from the same place!

I do also think that one day, Tyger will be even better.  The only problem is, I have no idea at all when that day will be!  The reason for this is that with every book, my ambition is to make the book as good as I can possibly make it.  I don't want to look at one of my books in a couple of years, and think, "I wish I'd done that differently!" because you can never change a book once it's published. 

But it takes a lot of time, and lots of trial and error, to make a book as good as you can possibly make it.  You have to get it wrong a lot before you get it right.  That's how my process worked with Varjak Paw, The Outlaw Varjak Paw, and Phoenix – and that's why those books took me 5 years, 3 years, and 7 years respectively.  It's a difficult way to write, but I've always found that it's worth it in the end. 

What I can tell you about Tyger is this.  I've been working on it for 3 years now.  For the first year, it was a single book.  Around a year in, I realised it was part of a trilogy.  At that point, I continued writing the first book, and kept notes about the other two books (there's a picture of my notebook below).  Around two and a half years in, I decided to start writing the second book of the trilogy, and see what happened.  I immediately discovered things that meant almost everything I'd written on the first book would have to change!

I'm currently working on that second book, which I think will now be the first book of the trilogy, while the book I originally started with will probably be the third book.  It's entirely possible, though, that there will only ever be one book – the book I'm writing right now – but that in order to write it, I have to imagine the others... 

If that sounds confusing, that's because it is!  My writing process is often mysterious to me, and that's why I find it hard to talk about.  But I do know that my other books went through similar processes.  So I can only ask my readers to be patient – Tyger will be ready when it's ready!  I've promised to show my agent a draft this year, so I hope to be able to say more about it in the not-too-distant future.  Please do keep checking in here from time to time; I will certainly blog and tweet about it as soon as I have any news!  In the meantime, here's a Tyger who's been keeping me company as I write.  I hope you like him too.


Ivan said...

Dear SF Said I am very pleased to hear about the writing of the book Tiger. Hopefully it will be released soon. Also, I'm waiting for the book Phoenix, translate into Russian that I could read it. I was 13 years old when I read the book Varjak paw, I still hope that the third book will be released!
Yours faithfully

SF Said said...

Dear Ivan,

Thank you very much for your kind comment! As I say, I don't know when Tyger will be finished, but I will definitely write about it here when I have any more news.

As for Phoenix, the first non-UK edition is being published this year by Candlewick Press in the USA. I'm hoping that it will encourage other publishers around the world to pick up the rights. It would be great to see a Russian translation - I'll let you know if anything happens with Russian publishers.

Thanks so much for your support, and best wishes,
SF Said

Hannah said...

Dear sf said

I'm very pleased to hear about tyger and I hope to buy it when it is out. How long will it be before it comes out ? When u came to Watercliffe we was writing the stories and I'm pleased to say some will be in the blog soon

SF Said said...

Dear Hannah,

Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I have to admit, I still don't know when Tyger will be out. I'm working on it as hard and fast as I can, so I hope it won't be too much longer!

It was a pleasure to visit Watercliffe and to meet you all - good luck with your writing!

With best wishes,
SF Said

Anonymous said...

I really cant wait to see what tyger is about but one question when will it be out and can u give me a tip for book writing

SF Said said...

Thank you so much! I honestly don't know when TYGER will be out, but I'm doing my best to get it done as fast as I can. I will definitely post about it here when I have any news, so please do check in from time to time.

On your other question - here's a link to a blog I made all about writing.

And if you'd like some more, here are all the writing tips I've done here on my site.

Good luck with your writing, and best wishes,

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Said,

Is there any time frame of them you will finish writing tiger, like how many years.
Also, are you planning to write a third book for carjack paw<


SF Said said...

Thanks for your interest in my books! I'm planning to show my agent a new version of TYGER in the spring. If he thinks it's ready to show publishers, we'll do that at that point; if not, then I'll do more work on it until it is. I'm hoping it will be, but I've come to accept that it takes as long as it takes to make a book as good as it can be.

And yes, I am planning to write a third Varjak Paw book – here's a link to a blog I wrote all about that question.

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive,

Anonymous said...

What is tyger about because I love your books and I am reading the outlaw varjak paw and I have read varjak paw and phoenix so I hope this book will be better then all your books combined.

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! I've now been working on the TYGER project for 7 years, and I really do believe it's the best thing I've written so far. I hope it will be finished this year, but it takes as long as it takes to make a book as good as you can make it!

I still can't say too much about it, but let's just say that the main characters are a boy, a girl, and a TYGER!

Please do look out for news about it - hopefully not too much longer now.

Thanks again, and best wishes,

Anonymous said...

TYGER sounds amazing! I thought Phoenix and Varjak Paw were the best books ever,but this sounds like it will be even better! WOW!!!!! Thanks for writing them. I can't wait until you complete TYGER.

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for that amazing comment! You have no idea how much it means right now. Thank you for being patient and waiting - TYGER will be ready as soon as it's as good as I can possibly make it!

With best wishes,

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your writing journey. I know it will be worth waiting for Tyger and, as you said before once, it's about writing the book that you want to read. I really enjoyed reading the Varjak Paw books, but Phoenix was on a whole new level - I read it on one day because I couldn't bear to put it down! So I'm looking forward to Tyger - whenever it finally arrives!

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for that wonderful comment - it really means a lot to me. And you read Phoenix in one day?! That's amazing - I think it must be a record!

With best wishes,