Last week a lot later than I had intended, I finally sent Book 1 to my editors. I had planned to send it just before my holidays in august but some valuable comments arrived just too late for me to process properly and I decided to finalise the fifth draft after I came back. I hate delays. It makes me feel like I’m swimming in molasses. However, there was no point rushing these things and making snap decisions I’d regret later. After this last draft, I’m satisfied that it’s ready to go. I found myself quibbling over smaller and smaller details.
All in all, it’s about six months since I started the 2nd draft. Hopefully, Book 2 will go faster. Things with respect to Covid restrictions have eased here somewhat. My daughter has gone back to school which pretty much gives me the mornings to work. My office moved upstairs out of the kitchen just in time for our puppy to figure out how to get on the kitchen table if the chairs are left a little out from it. She’s a good dog but she would have seen my computer set up as an exciting range of chew toys.
I had already gone about halfway through the 2nd draft of Book 2 in between revisions of Book 1. However, I need to refamiliarise myself with what I’ve done. Plus, I may have a surprise traitor on my hands from Book 1 (It was certainly a surprise when I thought of it) so I need to work that into the story.
So, we’ve been in lockdown since mid-March. My wife works from home from my old desk so I’m working on one half of the kitchen table. I get up early before my wife and daughter to fit in a few quiet hours to get some writing done and fit in what I can throughout the rest of the day.
I finished that alien short story the end of March. It came in at 45k words so I guess it’s not a short story any longer. I wrote a fourth story which I initially thought might be as an epilogue but is probably a separate story.
I then did another draft of a fantasy short story which I’ve been working on for several years. I’m still not happy with it, but the current draft is a big improvement on the last one. I’ll tinker at again at another time.
I also started editing the first book of my six book fantasy. Draft 2 took until the end of April. Draft 3 took about two weeks. I enjoyed Draft 2. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the first draft. Draft 3 was less fun. It was staring at the individual strokes of an impressionist painting. Stare close enough and the structure disappears, the dots lose their meaning. I was glad to get to the end and send it off to my beta readers.
Anyway, on to Book 2. I have a feeling that parts of this one will take a lot more work, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. *crosses fingers*
I finished Book 6 which is now *cough* Book 5. I’m very happy with the ending of the book, but after already experiencing the high of writing the series finale, it felt a little anticlimactic. Nonetheless, the first draft of the full series (6 books) is in now complete. It’s kind of luxurious to see the story from start to finish. I plan to start work on the 2nd Drafts early this year.
I was kind of at a loss what to do immediately after I finished so I toyed about with a short story about alien invasion. This has turned into three stories and more will possibly be added. I have no outline for them. I find that if I know the ending it’s relatively easy to put the rest together. But sometimes, I don’t know the ending or rather I have two diametrically opposite endings that both will fit the story. I don’t know which one until I finish. This sort of story is the most exciting for me to write. It’s like I am reading the story for the first time as I write it.
Overall, in 2019, I wrote 209k words, comprising mostly of the first drafts of three novels. That beats the previous year by about 25k words. I missed writing only ten days in the year. My philosophy is to be honest with myself and not to overly worry about streaks and so on. I write whenever I can but sometimes life intrudes and I have to accept I can’t. On the other hand, there are days when I have the time but not the inclination. On those days, I grit my teeth and write; I write my quota clinging onto every squeezed out word for dear life. It’s amazing what can be achieved in little steps. I have to say having Scrivener on my phone made a huge difference to my productivity.
I plan to achieve the same rough word count this year (ca 183k words or roughly 500 words per day for the entire year). I also plan to start overhauling those first drafts. I am approaching the first book of the series with excitement. I’ll probably end up changing every word I wrote, but, as I remember it, the backbone of the story should hold up pretty well.
I also published Alienity this year, finishing out four short stories. I plan to publish more as I finish them.
If you squint really hard you can possibly see me tottering at the top of that tower of books. I had a very busy first four months of the year. I finished the first draft of the Book 4 in the series about a week ahead of schedule. It came in about 62k words and was the probably the easiest to write since Book 1. I’m confident of finishing Book 5 by the scheduled date. I’m really looking forward to revealing the main villain. It is my concept of him that really transformed a standalone short story into the prequel of a five book series.
However, perhaps of more immediate interest, I am going publish a bundle of four short SF stories that I recently finished. It’s been a while since I published anything so I am really looking forward to releasing them. They range from humorous to quite dark, but they all center around aliens in some way. More detail to follow on the very near future.