It’s been a while since I’ve done a writing update post. Last one was mid-Feb which was (counts on fingers) 6 months ago. So, what’ve I been up to, writing-wise, in that time?
Stuff. I’ve been up to stuff. Words and suchlike. Some editing. Some publishing, even.
Big stuff out of the way first because it’s stuff I’ve already posted about plenty. 3 books of the Jazz Healy, Reunion Series have been published. Miltan Epsilon and Chak’r’Das dropped on May 4th, while Garbadon Major charged into the world on August 3rd. Speaking of which, if you haven’t bought Garbadon Major yet, what are ya waiting for? Get on it, already!
Onto the other stuff. On the words front, I’m 76K+ into Spider’s Hub. I gave myself an extension to get it done, seeing as I put it aside for nearly 3 weeks while I did final edits on Garbadon Major. September 1st is the new finish-by date but I’m not sure I’ll be done by then either. Writeometer tells me I need 1,500+ words per day from this point to reach 100K and I’ve also still got half my outline to go! I’ve been doing some rearranging on the fly but I think the draft will finish up around 115-120K.
As a note, when I posted on August 3rd I mentioned I was 58K into Spider’s Hub, which means I’ve added around 18,000 words in just over 2 weeks, which works out to about 1,200 words a day. I’ve picked up steam in the last week or so, which has been good. More on some of the contributing factors to the output increase later in the post.
I quite like how the story is shaping up. Lincoln Reilly is proving to be an interesting character to write. Now for a quick flashback! When I did first edits on Miltan Epsilon I found that Jazz changed a lot throughout the book. Change is good, of course, we want our characters to grow, but I realized I’d made fundamental changes to her being as I got to know her better through the first draft. Which sounds pretty weird – after all, she’s a fictional character I created – but it’s what happened, and having spoken to plenty of other writers, I don’t think it’s so unusual a process. Anyway, I had to smooth those fundamental changes out to make sure her growth across the series worked (at least I hope I did so🤣) and so readers wouldn’t start scratching their heads midway through the book wondering who this new Jazz was (I hope I managed to do that, too). My point? I’ll probably have to do the same for Lincoln. I wrote Miltan Epsilon over a lot longer period of time than I’m writing Spider’s Hub, which might account for some of the aforementioned, but still, I feel like I’m also getting to know Lincoln in more depth as I write this story.
Also, while I’m planning on writing more novels featuring Lincoln Reilly, I don’t have a set character arc for him. There are elements in place already that will be important on that front but I haven’t mapped out how he’ll develop across the series as I did for Jazz. Which is to say that if he grows as a person in this book it won’t be planned, though it would be a nice surprise!
The supporting cast has been fun to get to know, too. There are several secondary characters who fade in and out throughout the course of the story, though 2 spend a lot more time in the thick of the narration than the others. As well as Lincoln being consistent, I’ll also need to make sure the rest of the cast stay so throughout (or stay consistently inconsistent, for some).
I know I really shouldn’t be thinking ahead to edits just yet but sometimes I can’t help it.
I also mentioned in my last post that I’m dabbling with short fiction again. Now, this will definitely sound contradictory but I decided to do that to increase my output on Spider’s Hub. How will that work, exactly, I hear you asking. After all, won’t the short story words be taking away from the novel words?
Not necessarily. My typical routine is to get up early, write novel words, then do the primary job and get more novel words in where I can. Except I generally find my writing brain is pretty fried come the afternoon, so I get few novel words in. I’ve also been finding that I’m struggling to string together consistent novel output. A good day or two followed by a few poor days. Partly because brain needs time to recover from being fried, perhaps? Recently, I thought why not try some short fiction, stories where I’m not working to an outline or on a self-imposed deadline? That might be invigorating for the ole noggin, right?
So far I’ve found that to be true. I’m not working on short stories every day but I am finding them a nice change of pace, and I do think these little breaks/changes I’m giving my brain are helping me with the novel. I’ve hit my daily 1.5K goal 6 of the past 8 days, for instance, and the 2 days I didn’t I hadn’t planned to. Previously, I’d been hitting my word goal perhaps 1 or maybe 2 days a week and missing badly the rest of the time.
Right now I have 2 short stories on the go. I’m using randomwordgenerator.com to get writing prompts (I’ve always enjoyed being given a set of words and seeing what blossoms from them), with the setting at 3 nouns. I have to use the prompt, even if I don’t much like it at first.
My 2 prompts have been:
Development – Mud – Investment
Explanation – Memory – Penalty
I’m progressing better with the second prompt right now but I’ve got good starts for each (though I have a feeling story #2 might end up being longer instead of shorter). There’s no outline, except what I make in my head. Just writing to see what happens. That means there’s no expectation, either, and no deadline. That’s the thing that’s invigorating me, in my opinion. These are purely for fun. If a story comes out that I like then great, if not, that’s all good, too. And it means I can approach my novels knowing that when they get tough (and they do, quite often) I’ve got other projects I can escape into for an hour or two. It’s like a reset button.
And that’s where I’m at right now with all the writing stuffs.
What’s coming up? Well, once I finish the first draft of Spider’s Hub I need to finish the outline for the second Lincoln Reilly novel, and perhaps outline the third. I also need to do final edits on Bil’Tross, which has a release date of November 2nd. My plan is to be mostly through the first draft of the second Lincoln Reilly novel by the end of the year. I’m also hoping to have 5 short stories finished and polished by year-end too. I know I just said I’m writing the shorts for fun only at this point, which is true, but at the same time I’d like to have some stories to share with you over on my Buy Me A Coffee page, and possibly even to sell to some zines, so I’ve given myself a semi-goal.
Finally, a big THANK-YOU to all who’ve read, rated and reviewed Miltan Epsilon. We’re up to 11 ratings and 3 reviews (all very nice!) on Amazon.com, with an overall rating of 4.5. I haven’t quite got my head around the rating system across the different Amazon stores but I think a few of the ratings on .co.uk and .ca are different from the ones on .com. There are some nice ratings and reviews on Goodreads, too (4.71 overall), and there’ve also been a pair of 5-star ratings on Google Play, which is pretty cool!
Also, a big SHOUT-OUT to the reader from France who was the first Kindle user to purchase Garbadon Major. You rock! A shout-out, too, to you other fine folk who’ve bought the third book in the Jazz Healy, Reunion Series. Don’t worry, the final book is a ripper (though I am admittedly biased 😋) and will be out before you know it.
Talk to you all again soon!