This is just a heads-up to let you know that I’ll be starting the readalong of The Butterfly Assassin on Sunday 17th September. This was an idea I proposed in my last post, following the timeline of the book to discuss each chapter/scene in real time. It will be running at a fairly breakneck place for the first three weeks, as the first half of the book all goes down in pretty close succession, but we’ll have a little more breathing room after that.
For those who plan to join us, I highly recommend reading The Butterfly Assassin before we start, as I might sometimes reference later events within a chapter’s discussion, but I’ll try to primarily keep my posts focused on the scenes in question for those who haven’t got that far yet. But all of the posts will naturally involve some spoilers, to varying extents.
One thing I realised while drafting the first couple of posts is that I don’t want to over-explain what’s already on the page, and in doing so, foreclose the possibility of alternative interpretations. I want the book to stand on its own two feet, and I don’t want my intentions to overshadow your readings. I might sometimes highlight symbolism or my intentions where they seem particularly relevant/important, but on the whole, this project isn’t about analysing the words on the page.
Instead, I want to focus on discussing the writing process – previous drafts of scenes and how they changed over time, for example, or research rabbitholes – and worldbuilding details that didn’t make it onto the page. I have a lot of these, as you’ll discover very quickly once we start. (And this is a great chance to refresh my memory of some of the details before I embark on line edits for book 3!)
Whether you count these worldbuilding details as canonical is entirely up to you: while many of them underpin the info on the page and explain why I made certain decisions, if they were important enough to be on the page, then they would already be in the book itself. So, since they’re not, they’re just fun bonus information. Extracanonical, if you like.
Likewise, I’ve got some exclusive scenes from my notes to share with you which, while they shape my view of the characters involved and how I write them, aren’t technically canon, because they exist only in one random worldbuilding document from 2019 and nowhere else. The books stand alone; the rest is decoration.
So, basically, I’m giving you a load of completely superfluous information that will make you realise exactly how chaotic my writing process is and why it took me so long to reach the publication stage with this book after writing it in 2014 😅
And having said all that about not wanting to close off issues of interpretation, you’re still very welcome to talk about your interpretations in the comments. I love seeing how different people read certain moments! I won’t necessarily confirm/deny whether they’re what I was thinking or planning, but I want to hear them anyway.
So that’s the plan! The first few posts are fairly long, with lots of past drafts coming out to play; the rest, I hope, will be shorter…
And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog via email, WordPress notification, RSS feed, etc, to make sure you don’t miss any of the posts :) I’ll see you back here on Sunday!