May 23, 2014

for those of you wondering what i'm up to...

I’ve been rather quiet as of late, but I’m slowly getting back into the swing of being social with people again. I’ve been swamped with freelance editing work in addition to working on my own stuff. I’ve edited five books since the beginning of the year, totaling approximately 265,000 words. I’ve run The Wizard’s Heart through another draft and have started the revision notes for the next based on beta-reader feedback. And, on top of all that, I’m taking care of a six-and-a-half-month-old full-time. So, you know, I’ve been busy.

But, as an update, I wanted to let you all know where I am on things.

Some of you will recall a bit of desperation when I received beta feedback for The Wizard’s Heart. I received a lot of negative comments—flat characters, predictable plot, dull setting, clichéd concepts, subpar writing, outright boring to the point that a good number of beta readers didn’t even finish the book. You know, happy stuff. I was angry. I was upset. I wanted to just burn the book and forget I ever wrote it. I’m tired of working on it. I’m tired of it not being good enough. I’m tired of trying to make it better. All of that led to a particularly whiny post that basically said ‘fuck it, I’m just going to publish this stupid thing and get it over with’. But with some distance and perspective, I realized that I can actually tackle the seemingly overwhelming edits to make this a good book—maybe even a great one.

So I’ve been spending this week, outside of freelance work, putting together a revision outline. I’m up to 77 items to address so far, not including spelling errors or word choice issues or anything nitpicky like that. That’s 77 items gathered from two readers. I expect to double it by the time the revision outline is done, but I’ll have a map for how to revise the novel.

I have a lot of work to do. I’m not going to pretend otherwise. But I think I can do it. There are several big changes I need to make—adding a few scenes to the beginning and middle of the book, strengthening the character arcs—and then I have even more small changes—clarifying this or that, better describing the setting so that the reader doesn’t get confused, adding a line of dialogue here, changing a line of introspection there, cleaning up combat scenes, and so on.

 Unfortunately (and you knew this was coming), that means I’m going to have to push the publication date back for the thirty-thousandth time. I really wanted to have this book published this June. I really doubt that’s going to happen. I have hope for July, but realistically, I’m probably looking at an August release, assuming my editor doesn’t find any horrible problems with the next draft.

As a result of The Wizard’s Heart being pushed back, The Guild Conspiracy, the second Chroniker City novel, will have a later publication date. I can’t start writing it until the fantasy novel is published. That’s just the way of things. Depending on how drafting goes, I might be able to publish the book by the end of the year, but realistically, I’m looking at March of next year, and that’s with a great big helping of optimism.

And now, in order to facilitate actual writing and publishing of my own books, I’m cutting back on my freelance editing. I just do not have the time to work on other writers’ stories and my own. I have to choose, and because clients are paying me now, they get priority. I don’t want anything—beyond being a full-time parent—to take priority over my writing. If not for my editing, I’m pretty sure The Wizard’s Heart would be published by now, and I’d be well into writing The Guild Conspiracy. But, it seemed like a good idea at the time, and I’ve learned a lot from the editing projects I have done. That’s not to say I’m not going to quit editing altogether. I have a few clients that I’m hanging on to and will edit future projects for them until I deem that my time—and their money—is better spent elsewhere. Truth is, I just want to write again. Maybe if I wasn’t taking care of a six-month-old, I could do both the editing and the writing each day, but it’s just not possible. I basically get to choose two, and I would rather choose writing over editing. That’s just how I feel. So, I may take on more editing projects in the future, but I’ll be extremely selective in what I edit.

So, that’s where I am right now. I plan to start the next draft of The Wizard’s Heart in early June, hopefully finishing in July for publication in August. Things may go more or less quickly depending on how I handle the revisions. Once The Wizard’s Heart is published, I’m going to read over The Clockwork Giant to refamiliarize myself with Chroniker City and Petra, and I plan to make a few improvements to the story as I go—nothing major, just strengthening what is already there. Then, I plan to dive into plotting The Guild Conspiracy again. I have a plot outline already, but I expect it needs some fine-tuning before I start drafting. That puts me at probably starting the first draft in September. Assuming the book is 80,000 words, which is what I’m planning, it will take me roughly three months to draft, finishing by the end of November. And then of course, it has to sit and mellow before I move on to the next draft.

Writing takes time. But I’m doing the best I can with the time I have.  

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