The Halfway Point

We’re about halfway through the month of November, so I thought I’d give y’all a little status update on Book 6.

I’m currently sitting at a little under 24,000 words on the book. About half of that was written before this month began, mind you, but things are proceeding apace.

I’ve already commissioned the cover, from the same artist who did the cover for Book 5. I’ve seen the rough sketch for it, and I’m pretty pleased. I’ll share the final art when I get it.

I’ve got the book plotted out. I’ve got lots of surprising revelations in store for you; I am, as always, doing my best to just put Hazzard through the wringer.

I’m excited for this book. I feel like it’s one of my strongest to date so far, and I really cannot wait for you to get your hands on it. In the meantime, Book 5 is available to buy!

TFW You Scrap 33% of Your #WIP

Writers are full of advice for one another. “Write every day,” some of them say. “The first draft is you telling the story to yourself.” “Kill your darlings.”

Kill your darlings.

It’s a simple idea: you can’t be afraid to cut stuff you really like if it doesn’t fit. Even if it’s the best scene you’ve ever written, with dialogue crafted into perfect prose, if it doesn’t fit in the book, you have to cut it.

Now, most authors will keep scraps and bits they’ve cut like this in case they find somewhere to put it later on down the road. Just because this particular scene doesn’t work in this book doesn’t mean it won’t work in another book. Your darling may still see the light of day.

And then there’s what I’m experiencing. I’ve been going through book 4, giving it a once-over before sending it off to my editor at the end of the month. And…

…and dear lord, the first third of the book is just dead boring. It’s flat, lifeless, and doesn’t really do much besides move the proverbial pieces around the board, getting them in place for when things do start to pick up. It bored me when I was reading through it. I hated it. It plodded in the worst possible way.

So I cut it. All 20,000 words of it. A full third of the book, just gone.

Am I insane? Couldn’t I have just worked on it, made what was there more interesting? I mean, I’d already invested all this time and effort and energy into the thing.

But no, you gotta kill your darlings, even if they’re not quite as darling as you’d like. You can’t be afraid to put massive swathes of your book on the chopping block if they just don’t work. And this 20,000 words just did. Not. Work.

I’m going to try to rewrite that chunk of book over the next couple of weeks. I’d still like to hit my (self-imposed) deadline to get the book off to the editor by the beginning of June. I spent a bit of time yesterday plotting out what I’ll do in the rewrite. It has me far more excited than what I had originally.

This book has been the most challenging for me to write. It was the second Hazzard novel I ever wrote, way back in, like, 2013, and it’s now on its third major draft (where I’ve rewritten massive chunks, not just little tweaks here and there). This damn book is my problem child, but it’s gonna get written.

Even if I have to kill half of it in the process.

Just Like Starting Over

I’ve been busy in the few days since Royal James disappeared.  I’m just waiting for them to take The Invisible Crown down off Amazon and other sites so I can reupload it myself.  In a bit of a holding pattern on that because, as I just said, I’m waiting on someone else to do a thing.

But! in the meantime, I have not been resting on my laurels.  No, I have been very busy getting things up and running for the next book.  The year with Royal James taught me several things, among them (1) work with people you trust and (2) you get what you pay for.  The last time I was doing the self-publishing thing, I tried to do everything by myself: editing, formatting, cover design and layout, marketing, etc.  And, when I could snatch a free moment from all that, I’d even manage to do some writing now and then.

This time around, I’m taking a different approach.  A book is not all that dissimilar from a child, and both take a village to bring up right.  To that end, I’ve contacted various individuals known to me to help out with editing and cover design.  I haven’t decided whether or not to bring in outside help on formatting; I have the formatted files for the first book, and I think I could just use those as a guide (and create some internal style consistency, which would be nice).  That’s all still a few months down the road, though.  I anticipate being able to get the second book out in September or so, and the third book probably by summer next year.  I want to accelerate the timeline Royal James had been planning (a book a year) to something that puts more books in people’s hands faster (I’m leaning towards a release every nine months or so until I’ve put out all the books I’ve already got written, then we’ll see how long it takes in between new ones after that).

Additionally, I’ve decided to pursue something of a mad idea I came up with back when TIC came out: an audio book.  I know, it seems silly to do an audio book of a novel only a few dozen people have read, but (1) I’m hoping to get more readers in the coming months and (2) it’s my book, shut up.  All that said, I’ve got several friends who’ve stepped up and offered to contribute their vocal talents to the project, and I started working out what characters are in each scene yesterday so I can have an idea how many different people we’ll actually need.

I’m also – and this might be the most relevant thing of all – writing again!  It’s been a few months since I felt like putting words to the page, for whatever reason.  But lately, I’ve started up a couple of new stories, at least one of which will probably turn into a novel (or even a series of novels!).  It’s a good feeling, to have words showing up when I sit down to write.

Anyway, stay tuned!  As soon as I’ve got complete control of the book, I’ll do a giveaway with some fabulous* prizes!

 

* – Quality of prizes may be slightly exaggerated.