Out of the Editing Trenches

The editing is over. Thank goodness! Now comes all that other stuff, like laying out the paperback, creating the ebook, writing the adcopy (!), etc. I don’t particularly enjoy writing adcopy–actually it makes me downright grumpy. Grumpy enough that my wife notices. I think it’s the fact that it’s generally less than 200 words but can take a week to get right. It just feels like progress is sooo slow.

But I have picked a release date: October 24th, 2017! I picked this date based on my time estimates for getting everything done, but when I looked October 24, 2016 is the day I began writing The Brummie Con, so releasing it exactly one year later has a nice sense of balance to it (despite my hope that I would put it out in four months [ha!]). Ah, well. I can’t wait to be done with this one. Even though it took longer to write than I hoped and had a number of setbacks, I think it’s pretty awesome.

Next time I’ll release the cover and blurb! October 24 can’t come fast enough!

In the Editing Trenches Round 3

The end is in sight. The real end. The finally done end.

I finished reading Sunken City Capers 1-3, and I’m about 2/3rds through the final read through of book 4. Once I finish the read through, I’ll have to go back through and wrap up any notes and then … done. Well, at least with the whole writing phase. Then I have to shift into the publishing phase. But that, at least, is more easy to schedule rather than the nebulous writing/editing phase.

I’ve circled a date on my calendar for publication, and I’ve started to plan around that date, but I’m not ready to publicly commit to it yet. Assuming there’s no hiccups in the final read through and edits, then I plan etching that date in and starting up the publishing gears. Hopefully, I’ll have more concrete news next time!

In the Editing Trenches Round 2

Whoops. Looks like I missed a couple of blog posts. The first time was deliberate. Editing is such yucky task for me (at least with this novel) that I chose to use the time I would write a blog post to get more of the editing done. The second time I just forgot—I was on vacation! My wife had a work conference in Vienna and I got to tag along as an accompanying spouse (which I must say, is the preferred way to go to these things). But don’t worry, here’s a shot of me working on editing The Brummie Con right around the corner from the Parliament building. It was … uh … the only actually time I worked on it. Quite a waste honestly to haul that computer and manuscript around (but oh so nice to take a break).

The editing is so close to being done it’s ridiculous. Honestly, this blog post is longer than the words I need to add to finish it up. But, of course, I’ve hit a bit of a wall and the last 200 words are like trying to pull teeth and write with the accompanying blood. I’m hoping to finish today, and then roll into reading the first three novels. After that it’ll be one more pass to ensure book 4 lines up with books 1-3, then I’m done. I’m eyeing a release date on early October. I hope to have set a definite date by the next blog post, which I will post on time!

In the Editing Trenches Round 1

If I could find a gif to sum up how the editing is going it would be from the Exorcist when Regan pukes all over the place (you’re welcome that I’m too tired to go through the effort of finding it and posting it).

I should be done with the first pass of the third act sometime this coming week, but it’s been slow going (the story of this novel). First, day-job work was particularly busy the past two weeks so I often prioritized sleep and self care. Second, things changed as the novel progressed, so it takes extra editing work to make sure it’s all coherent–there are lots of scribbles of “don’t lose the bubble on this” or “is this still true?” And tracking those down takes time. Plus, past-Jeffrey helpfully left notes like “need a simile here” instead of actually writing one. Isn’t that nice? Now it’s present-Jeffrey that’s left holding the shaft and has to come with all those. Sigh.

Oh, oh! And I keep pulling the previous 3 books to check things and I’m like: Yeesh. I think I should really reread all 3 before doing the final read through of book 4 to make sure everything makes sense. So, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be doing that.

All of which means, it’s still too early to estimate a publication date. Goodness, it’s July already isn’t it? So I’ll say, there’s an outside chance publication will be in August, but more likely September.

Back into the editing trenches!

Zero Draft of Brummie Con is Done!

I finished it about four hours ago, a bit unexpectedly and with much relief. This sums up about how I feel about it:

I still have probably a month of edits ahead, but for now: it’s finally done. This novel, you guys. This. Novel. Never have I had such problems and such a glacial pace before. I started it October 24, 2016 and finished today June 17, 2017 so about eight months. Feels like eight years to be honest. It came in at 68k words, but according to my tracking I wrote about 82k on it. So that means I’ve had to back up and toss at least 14k, or about 20% of the novel.

That may not be bad for some writers, but it is for me. There were three separate times I had to back up and toss out significant wordage. Always disheartening when you feel like your pace is already slow. In fact, I thought I was going to be done with the novel last week, but I had a burr under my skin about the climax. It didn’t feel right. The order of the revelations was wrong. The Thing, the Big Thing, needed to go up front, completely changing the last three chapters. I was so disgusted, I didn’t write at all for a whole day, which sounds silly, but it broke a streak going all the way back to the start of April.

Fortunately, the problems with this novel has a silver lining. I’ve already significantly edited the first 2/3rds of the novel  when wrestling with where to go, so the editing process shouldn’t be too painful. I still don’t have a publication date, but hopefully next time I’ll have a better handle on how long the editing process will take and will be able to give an estimate on when it’ll be released.

Into the editing trenches!

Brummie Con Update

I’ve kept to my schedule of 400 words a day and I’m sooo close to being done with the zero draft of The Brummie Con: Sunken City Capers Book 4 I can practically feel it (even if I can’t see the precise ending yet). I’m siting at 64k (which makes this one longer than The Solid State Shuffle and Leverage) and I’m right in the middle of the climax. I should only need another 2-3k after this to wrap it all up and set up book 5.

The problem is, I’m a panster. I work without an outline on this series, trusting my subconscious brain during drafting and then my conscious brain when editing. The climax of book 4 is where everything is finally tied together, the “ah-ha” moment if you will. So naturally, I have to figure that out. I have the overall forest to guide me, but now it’s time to fill in the individual trees. I’ve temporarily switched to brainstorming mode to work out the fine detail structure. But once that’s done, I expect to start drafting again and wrap up very quickly.

I sincerely hope to write next time that the zero draft is done and I’m in the throes of editing. Of course, we have that whole house moving thing happening so we’ll see how that impacts my writing time.

Reading Goals Update

While packing hasn’t quite consumed my life yet, it has begun. My house looks like a staging area for a packing store with all the boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap and wrapping paper. And the boxes have started to pile up. And up. And up. Apparently, I have a lot of books. I knew this academically, but to pack them up is quite another. It also took me longer than you’d think because I kept thumbing through them and setting several aside (“oh, I have to keep special track of track of that one!”).

I recently surpassed my fiction reading goal of ten books this year. Technically, I’ve ready eleven so far, and I suspect I’ll get to fifteen or twenty this year. The next book on my fiction list is The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve read it before, but I’m planning on rereading it and breaking it down as I do to understand the character arcs. The Way of Kings is a behemoth of a book and the process of breaking it down is going to slow me down, so I think it’s going to take several months, but we’ll see.

I’m on target on my nonfiction reading goal. I’ve read five nonfiction books so far, and I’m in the process of reading book number six: Creating Character Arcs by K.M. Weiland. This is another book I’m reading slowly and taking notes on, with obvious intent to then apply it to The Way of Kings.

So even in the midst of all the business and drafting Sunken City Capers Book 4, I’m still managing to find time to read, and that makes me happy.

Book 4 Title Reveal

Since I strategically skipped the last scheduled blog post so I could have more writing time to make progress on book 4, I thought I’d make it up by revealing the title: The Brummie Con: Sunken City Capers Book 4! (The exclamation point is because I’m excited, not a part of the title 😉 ).

Due to the buying of a new home, selling ours, I’ve set myself on an aggressive schedule (400 words per day) to get the first draft done before moving consumes my life. And the new schedule is working! I should have the first draft done in another two weeks or so.

The last time I wrote, I was still in an editing phase about layering in a missing element. That is done, and I’m back to drafting (finally). I’m currently at 54k words out of a target of 60k (so 90% done by that metric!). But I have sneaking suspicion the book is going to run over 60k, and will be closer to 65k. I’m about to start the final sequence, and I think I’m going to need more than 6k, for the climatic sequence and then wrap it up.

Still no definitive release date, but it’s looking to be late summer now. Ah, well. This book was harder to write than the others for various reasons—I’ve been writing it seven months now (the horror!). But it’s almost done!

Sunken City Capers Book 4 Update

Well, I didn’t think I’d get this blog post up today–I couldn’t find the power cord for my laptop. My wife and I decided to upend our lives and buy a new home and sell ours. Even though we chose to do this to ourselves, the whole process is stressful and trying to keep the house picked up and ready to show all the time means things going missing–like laptop power cords. At any rate, I found it.

Book 4 continues to go slow, but at least it continues to go. Buying and selling a home has obviously cut into my writing time, but at least for right now I think the rush of all that initial activity has damped down. The story itself has started to gel. I wrote last time that I found out what the middle of the book was lacking and that I needed to layer it in–I’m still in the process of layering that in, but once that’s done I actually expect the drafting to pick up speed and to be done pretty quickly with the book. I anticipate being done drafting by May 14. But it’s too early to say when a release date will be, I have to finish the draft first, then line up the cover, so hopefully end of June or maybe July.

I am really excited about layering in the missing element, I think it’s going to make writing the rest of the story fast and easy. We’ll see!


General Status Update

Book 4 continues to kick my butt. By my tracking, I haven’t written new words on it since February 8th. I have been editing and brainstorming, but the fact that new words haven’t been produced in over a month  really makes it feel like this sucker has stalled. I got so listless that I broke out a favorite writing craft book this past week and have just been gorging myself on that and it seems to have worked. I think I figured out what my middle was missing and how that will tighten the novel and propel me into the third act. I need to edit the middle to layer in the missing awesome sauce, but after that (one or two more weeks) I’m confident I’ll be drafting again.

My reading as slowed down, but I think that’s just because I shifted to reading nonfiction and my current book Heaven by Randy Alcorn is a bit of a behemoth of a book. It’s good and pretty interesting, but I find it repetitive which makes it hard to get through at times. I’m more of an executive summary kind of guy, tell me what I need to know, in the optimal number of words, no more, no less. So repetition tends to grate on me, both written form and verbal.

My watching of Breaking Bad on the other hand has accelerated rather rapidly. My wife and I were watching one show a week together starting last fall as a form of a stay-in date night on a week day. At that rate it was taking a loooong time to get through it, with plenty of weeks missed due to travel schedules. Eventually, my wife declared she couldn’t take the tension in the show anymore and I was free to watch at will. So now I actually look forward to working out every morning as I get to watch an episode a day. At that rate I think I have about another month before I need to find something else to watch on the treadmill.