I published Freefoot, a collection of all six of my Elf Quest stories, including the one which would have appeared in Blood of Ten Chiefs 6, if the series hadn’t been cancelled. The books were selling, so we had no idea why that happened. I revised each of the stories just a little, and corrected a few problems. I rewrote one of them completely, and put them in chronological instead of published order. I’ve sold Freefoot to Elf Quest fans who wanted me to autograph their copies of the original books in the series.
Then I wrote Sturgis, something I had been wanting to do for a long time. It’s about a serial killer who turns out to be a vampire. I was inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula, not by the movies, which made vampires unable to bear sunlight, or repelled by crosses of any kind. Dracula did his own banking in London, and many windows have divisions in the shape of a cross, none of which affected him. I had only three plot points to begin with, and wrote the whole story without any other outline. It’s a very different story for me, but I really liked my protagonist and, were I forty years younger, I might have liked to have his job.
I published Dead Hand. I had developed it from extensive scene sketches which I had written years before. I had created a list of objectives for each scene, as I had done with The Planet Masters, and then developed each scene to reach its ending. I took it with me when we went to England for three years, and though my obligations there meant that I couldn’t make (not just take) the time to write, I decided to cut out all those scenes which didn’t actually advance the plot. Anything that doesn’t move the plot forward should be cut, according to received wisdom.
But when we came back I rethought that. I still had those scenes and decided to put them back in. They did not advance the central plot, but they developed the characters and background, gave a larger context, and revealed more of what the story was about, which was not just a haunted house, but how the neighborhood was affected by the haunting that was leaking from it. On finishing that draft I knew that it had been the right thing to do. Had I not done so, the story would not have been so deep, nor would it have had so satisfactory an ending. I read through it again, made a few revisions, copy-edited it and published it.