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May 2013 Spellbreaker Progress Report

Dearly Beloved Y’all,

I’ve been receiving more inquires about the progress on Spellbreaker and its expected publication date. The continued interest in the series and the notes of support mean more to me than I can express. Progress on Spellbreaker has been very good.

May2013 progress

Back in January, I predicted I should finish in April with a word count of 140,000 on the first draft. I did indeed hit that word count in April; however, the story was determined to develop itself into something longer.  This is partially because I’m telling a fuller story and delving more completely into the characters, but it is also because wrapping up a trilogy requires that all the loose ends be tied up to satisfaction.

Also, I must admit there have been a few distractions. I moved up to San Francisco, polished up a story for the Unfettered Anthology (which promises to be amazing), and knocked off an op-ed for the New York Times.

At the time of writing this blog, I’ve written 175,000 words on Spellbreaker and have 16 outlined chapters left. I would guess the final first draft will run about 220,000 words  and the revision will come back down to about 200,000 words. That’s about 40% longer than the second book and makes it a good-sized, but not massive, epic fantasy.

Predicting a publication date is a dicey business at best. I should deliver a first draft to my editor next month. Depending on when the edits come back, I’ll need a few months to turn the manuscript around, especially if I am on a busy service in the hospital. After that, the publishers need time to package and print the books. All told, I think it’s safe to say the book won’t come out in 2013. Sadly. More regular updates, along with various internet shenanigans, can be found on my Facebook Author Page and my Twitter account.

I have gotten some very impatient notes, which I understand. I’m impatient with the process as well, and I can promise that I will be doing everything possible to get the best possible conclusion to this series out as fast as possible. Thank you kindly for bearing with me. Your support makes it all worthwhile.


19 Responses to “May 2013 Spellbreaker Progress Report”

  • Good work! I look forward to reading it.

  • Well, looks like I’lll just have to re-read the first two a few times to pass the time 😉
    Sure you want to make it only a trilogy and not a longer series?

    • Hope you like them on the second go round. And, yes, 100% want to keep it to a trilogy. I think I’ll try my hand at stand-alones next. Maybe I’ll do another series later…like after residency later 😉

  • I am married to a dyslexic, and he has spatial
    gifts, and is off the charts talented–I just thought his particular brain was an anomoly, but WOW, I am so happy to have read your article! THANK YOU!!

    • Hi Jane, Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words!

    • I guess I should have ‘splained more, but DH also loves Sci Fi as he likes the way it reads. I am so looking forward to your books, I had no idea, just found you on the Times this morning. I am imagining you are crazy busy, but some day I will check in with you as I know your struggle, having a different neuro disorder myself. Thank you for sharing–you turned a very difficult day for me into a joyful one! God Bless.

      • That’s wonderful to hear. Blessings are always welcomed. And I’m so glad the article made your day brighter. Things are indeed a bit hectic at the moment, but I’d love to hear more when things slow down 😉

  • Chase Mateusiak

    8:43 am May-23-2013


    Mr. Charlton,

    First, I am also dyslexic.

    I read your opinion piece in the New York Times


    and was very dismayed. Your solution seems to be that the dyslexic community (I’m not really sure it exists, but for the sake of the argument) needs to take part in defining the condition to include both our strengths and weaknesses. The problem is that I believe you patently misunderstand our weaknesses. You say,

    “[Schools] too often fail to provide dyslexic students with the audio and video materials that would help them learn.”

    Audio/visual materials will never teach a child to read. What does teach a child to read is the teaching of systematic phonics, which would be good for every child, though only necessary for a dyslexic. One method of teaching that incorporates systematic phonics is Orton-Gillingham, which I am most familiar with, though there may be others. Admittedly, There are problems adapting Orton-Gillingham to a public classroom. That said, systematic phonics is the route to literacy for dyslexics. Not audio/visual resources, which are the equivalent of a band aid on a broken leg. The leg will heal, and the individual will adapt, but correct treatment would have set the bone and allowed it to grow as it would have without the break.

    Re-defining dyslexia to embrace our strengths and weaknesses reeks to me of re-defining the condition to continue to allow schools to fail kids. While dyslexia is a multi-faceted condition, the basic literacy difficulties are created by a school system too often allowed to fail.

    Chase Mateusiak

    • Hi Mr. Mateusiak,

      Thank you kindly for reading the article and for your thoughtful comments. I agree with you that providing alternate media is not an ends unto itself, but a method of providing more educational material to dyslexics until they can read with greater fluency. I am not aware of any evidence that providing alternate learning media slows down the development of reading skills; however, I have come across studies–described in Maryanne Wolf’s “Proust and the Squid”–that describe increased acquisition of reading skills in children who through alternate media have greater vocabularies and knowledge. I of course respect that not everyone will share this opinion and would be interested any evidence that suggests my believe that providing supporting audio/video material until the child is remediated is unhelpful. And I think we both agree that the school system is, as you put it, too often allowed to fail.

      Thank you again.

  • I read the piece with great interest because I suspect I had dyslexia as a
    child and was simply diagnosed as lazy (by my father, the doctor). I was
    forced to spend a whole summer in the library at age 7. Thing is the
    suspicion came through the realization that either my grandmother, or the
    nuns at a Catholic nursery school, or both (one supporting the other)
    switched my handed preference in those formative years. It’s something I
    have no way of proving except by all the circumstantial evidence, which
    includes the clear recollection of coming across a left-handed ruler and
    scissors in a grade-school art class. When I asked why it was so, the
    teacher matter-of-factly said it was for left handers. I remember distinctly
    how my head spun off with a vague thought of “all that pain for nothing!”
    and “they lied to me!” and becoming very depressed about it (no doubt
    breaking me of my left preference was done in a way that would make a
    child psychologist defenestrate). Of course I forgot all about it and
    simply chalked up my struggle in school with reading and writing as part
    of being slow and stupid. My self-esteem was as shaky as my penmanship all my life even
    though I had a long and fruitful education (BA,MA,MBA). When I finally really quizzed myself about why life seemed so damn difficult, a vision of me sitting separate from a class of children with a teacher at my elbow came into focus. It leaped into my mind – because you were left-handed, dummy. I laughed out loud at how so many disappointments and near misses in my life could be explained so blankity-blank simply. I didn’t believe it but pursued all scholarly material I could find on handedness and it blew my mind! My question: Are you
    right handed, left-handed or ambidextrous? Your parents?


    P.S.: I like that you have a John Gardner quote at your desk.

    • Thanks for sharing this. You’re “all that pain for nothing” comment made me laugh in that way one does at the ridiculousness of it all. I think your story goes to the heart of the idea of accommodation. I am right handed and so is everyone in my family (I’d be curious to know if there was any association in handedness with dyslexia). But still it boggles my mind that we haven’t accommodated handedness and hope that we are doing a better job of that for today’s young people.

      • Wow! I began to write a dissertation in response. Bottom line is that the hands were and are still essential in our language development. For that reason, dyslexia and left-handedness do correlate highly, but have not come close to being linked causally until the discovery LRRTM1 (Leucine-rich repeat transmembrane neuronal 1). Through coding passed along in the paternal genome on chromosome 2p12 and only down-regulated by maternal contribution, theorists proposed the possibility of a gene imprinted for left handedness, as well as dyslexia, and possibly schizophrenia. Now it seems they are focused on Protocadherin 11 X-linked, (PCDH11X), which (like LRRTM1) is a hopeful candidate for scripting brain/body asymmetries essential to our survival. Like dyslexia, most people want to see left handedness as brain damage (which can be a factor). But only the genetic approach accounts for that stable ~10% lefties since the beginning of recorded history. Unless you’ve had some birth complications or injury in your formative years (head or hands) your dyslexia could be due to a genetic predisposition that seated most of your language modules in your right hemisphere making it easier for you to read and write backwards since the brain relies on an asymmetrical interplay of both hemispheres (favoring the left in the majority), with one taking the lead and the other a supporting role (much like the hands do). Yes, I have been studying this as a hobby since 2008 and it is complex and by no means straightforward. More off line if you like.

  • I cannot wait for spellbreaker to come out i thought the other two were great and i think a trilogy is best.its thank you so much for some great reads

  • Good day Mr. Charlton,

    I saw This post was from May 2013.
    I was wondering how far is the process for the third book?

    Can`t wait till it gets out.

    Greetings from the netherlands,


    • Hi Marc! So sorry to be so late on this. The book is done and sitting on my editor’s desk. Zero idea when they’ll get it back or when it might hit the shelves. I’ll write an offical update on the blog soon.

  • I know you have gotten some very impatient inquiries about Spellbreaker and I’d just like to say thank you so much for posting an update to keep your fans in the loop. God only know how incredibly busy you must be and to take the time to let us hungry fans know how the progress is going is the best thing ever. I know your working hard on making it awesome and being able to read an update about the book makes the wait so much easier. I loved the first two book in the series, they are outstanding and I hope that even after Spellbreaker that you continue to publish novels.

    • Hi Lisa!!! Thank you do very kindly for this update. I’m exhausted after working in the hospital and am eager to get back to editing SPELLEBREAKER but I thought I’d log in and see if there were any comments. I haven’t logged in for…embarrassingly…months. Anyway, you’re point is very well taken and I completely need to write another update on the book. The short version—just for you—is that the book is done and sitting on my editors desk. I have no idea when he’ll get it back to me or when they might slate it for publication, but I promise to turn it around ASAP.

  • Peter van Beurden

    10:49 pm Mar-11-2014


    Congratulations on persuading a book a phobic to read, Accidentally started reading what I thought was rubbish but got hooked and went looking for your second and was sooooo! happy not to have to read a rehash of the first one. Now I want an ending to the story in Spellbreaker. The story is Spellbinding.Happy days and much luck. I look forward to it.
    New Zealand

  • Greta Verschueren

    6:32 am Feb-3-2015


    Hello mister Blake

    I just read your first book and I enjoyed it very much. I’ll read spellbound (‘de macht der spreuken’ in my language) as soon as possible. I really hope that you finish the last book soon en that it will be translated as soon as possible.
    Thank you for a fantastic story.


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