This is actually a list of ten things we ARE improving in the rewrite. PLEASE NOTE: New readers should skip this one, because there are a few big spoilers on this list.
In the rewrite, we will:
1. Introduce Ireneo much, much earlier, not as Althausen’s servant, but as a clerk for the Kriminalpolizei. Herr Inspektor’s vague, quickly-abandoned attraction to Klaus will be aimed entirely at Ireneo instead, and it will be implied that he’s had these feelings for some time, and Ireneo has always been sort of wishy-washy about it. This way, Ireneo will be a potential love interest before Jemand ever appears, which will solidify Ireneo’s involvement in the story and the effect he has on Herr Inspektor. The discovery that Ireneo works for Althausen and has been essentially a spy all this time will be a huge betrayal and Herr Inspektor will get super depressed about it, and later conflicted when he realizes Ireneo may be in danger at the meddling hands of Rainer.
2. Lose the cards altogether. That’s right! No more cards! FUCK those cards, man, they were dumb and confusing, and we still include them now because we have to, but we never figured out really what they were for (apart from Rainer’s sort of shallow explanation in Chapter 35) and we just felt like they were way too convenient. And also too clean and not creepy enough. In the rewrite, to differentiate between E-murders and S-murders, the letters will be literally carved into the hands of the victims. This does produce a slight problem in that Jemand’s introduction into the story was somewhat dependent on those cards, but whatever, we can figure something else out!
3. Drastically minimize Biermann and Blau’s involvement from the get-go. We love those guys, but they were always comic relief in a story that has no comedy, or at least a different kind of comedy, which is much better suited to the droll humor of Ritter, Klein and Rainer. You have probably noticed that they’re basically gone anyway; every time they show up it’s like “oh yeah, those guys.” In the future, they may still exist as named Schupo, but they’ll be no more than extras.
4. Try to create more of a sense of what Weimar culture was like, specifically how it was a time of great upheaval and transformation, where no one quite knew where they stood and the city was existing in a weird flux of old and new. We will also be exploring how influential and important police were at the time.
5. Change the location of Schumann massacres from Pankow to a different location that actually makes narrative sense. That’s another thing that we did randomly before realizing we should have done something else, and now we have to sleep in the bed we’ve made. We have a narratively-apt replacement location all figured out, but we can’t tell you what it is.
6. Change the name of the Underworld to the Undercity, since this isn’t strictly the whole world of magic we’re talking about, just… Berlin. Also Undercity sounds cooler and more original. Similarly we’re going to come up with a different title for Herr Inspektor that isn’t Man Who Survives, but we’re still working on that.
7. Write Herr Inspektor more effectively (that’s easy, right?)
8. Construct a clearer network of foreshadowing, themes and symbols (sure we can do that no problem!)
9. Have greater balance and a smoother, streamlined progression, which will in part be achieved by this last step, drum roll please:
10. Split the novel into three separate novels. This is one of those things people have been suggesting to us since day one, when we were first realizing how absurdly long this story was going to be and wondering what to do about it, since shortening it was pretty much the worst thing we could think of. For a long time we were like NOOOO THAT WOULD BE TERRIBLE, mostly because trilogies are just so overdone lately and also we felt that parts one (which ends in a cliffhanger) and two (which ends at kind of a strange junction) would not make good stand-alone books. But whatever! Separating them into three books would free us up to make a really clear distinction between the separate genres as earlier discussed, and would allow us to take the amount of time we need with each part, specifically with part two, which involves so many different conflicts and characters. And we wouldn’t necessarily have to release them separately, and could market them in such a way that implies they ought to be read as a unit. In the end, this turned out to be probably the best idea, and we’re pretty excited to one day explore it.
And now seems as good a time as any to reveal the new title. The series would simply be called Berlin, and the three parts would be called The Overcity, The Threshold, and The Undercity (Die Oberstadt, Die Schwelle, and Die Unterstadt, respectively).
There you have it. You heard it here first.