Alright, so you’ve seen this picture before. Not a big deal; it only serves to illustrate my broader point with today’s post. The fact is that I’m in a serious groove with my writing right now, I am dishing out two to four thousand words a day, every day. No stops on the weekends. In fact, the weekends are some of my most productive times. I haven’t deciphered why that is, but it is so.
This latest streak started back in December, maybe late November as I recovered from an illness. I wrote a fanfic for John Birmingham, this was the first thing I had written since concluding an unpublished series last May.
I started to feel it. I wrote three commissioned shorts, and the bug hit.
It was time to write. But what, I asked myself, should I do? As you all know, I lost my indie publisher a few years ago, I have published nothing in my name since Immolation in 2017. However, I had left a one-off, still classified alternate history in the stack.
Perhaps, I wondered, I could turn it into a trilogy. Even better, I could plan the entire trilogy in advance and write it all at once, some planned 270,000 words strung together, hopefully in one cohesive whole.
I’ve learned the hard way that the first thing you need is a detailed outline. Now, when I say “detailed,” I don’t mean a blueprint that shows each and every interaction. That’s not how I roll. How I do it is I write out my chapters according to a three act structure, where Act I is the set-up, Act II is the body of the work, and Act III is the finale. Basically a 1:2:1 structure, where Act II is twice the length of I and III. Then for each chapter I write a sentence, maybe two. Sometimes I describe POV shifts, but often I do not. In any case, as I write, I have the original outline to return to. It keeps me on track.
So I did exactly that in mid December. I wrote the outlines for Books Two and Three, and made sure they formed a cohesive whole with Book One, whose manuscript has been sitting in the slush pile for nearly two years.
Once the outlines were done, it was time to sit down and write.
A quick note. One of the joys of writing is that it costs exactly nothing. Nothing. However, getting your pride and joy in front of readers can cost A LOT, especially if you want to produce a quality indie product.
Trust me, I know. I’m still underwater on my original sci-fi trilogy, The Valley series. I loved those books, but they blew a hole in my wallet.
But I digress.
So yeah, I started to puke words onto paper in my bridge novel of the series. Where does the effort stand as of right this second?
64,426 words written in MS 2 of the series as we speak, and I am closing in on the finale of Book 2. I would have liked to have reached the planned length of 90K words, but I think this one is going to land north of 80K and it’ll settle there.
This isn’t an issue. “The Captain’s Cauldron,” Book 2 of my original trilogy, stopped at 84K, so these are charted waters. I’m satisfied with a RD that hangs out at ~80K.
So there. I offcially started writing on the 21st of December 2020, and I anticipate that MS 2 will be Rough Draft complete NLT 31JAN21.
This is the internal deadline I’ve set for myself, and it looks as if I’ll meet it.
But when, you ask, will these books be published? So my readers can, well, read? That’s kind of the whole point to this exercise, after all.
I don’t know.
Right now I’m writing on the “Field of Dreams” concept. “Build it, and they will come.” Much as Kevin Costner thought he was crazy for erecting a ballfield in the middle of a corn patch, I have moments where I doubt what the hell I’m doing.
But that’s OK. It’s all part of the journey, I suppose.
“Write it, and they will come.”
Worst case scenario I can start a Patreon page and release the series one chapter at a time.
I guess we’ll see.