It’s hard for me to believe it’s only been three weeks since my last major update. During that time I wrote ~9,000 words and completed the twelfth proper chapter of Book Three.
To describe this pace as blistering would be an understatement. I haven’t written this quickly since before I had kids. Part of the explanation is that the infrastructure improvement which occupies so much of my free time (lol) during the warmer months has been foreclosed by snow, but, more pertinently, I’ve passed a momentum event horizon. Having already done the grueling work of setup over the past several years, I can now flick the dominoes and watch them fall. It’s exhilarating.
If you’ve read Brandon Sanderson’s “Oathbringer,” you’ll remember that there’s a point about 700 pages in where a plodding plot abruptly transforms into a climax that doesn’t stop till it’s blown out your adrenal glands 200 pages later. Well, the entire second half of Book Three is my version of that. I’ve barely gotten started, and already I’m feeling high. By the time I’m finished I may need medical intervention.
Anyway, I can’t wait for you to read the preceding ~300,000 words in the series so you too can get to this point.
Here’s what my Book Three Part Two outline looks like now:
Good news: I’ve finished the first “proper” chapter (not counting the standard intermission-esque Cadenza) of my third novel’s second half. Whew, that’s a mouthful. Maybe a visual will help. Remember that outline I showed off a couple months ago? Here’s how much of it I’ve gotten through:
So yeah—only nine line-items. Not all that much. And now for the bad news: clocking in at over 11,000 words, this latest chapter is the second-longest in the whole series thus far. At this rate, with sixty line-items remaining, I’m looking at over 60,000 more words before I can wrap this installment.
Fortunately, I don’t think things will continue at this rate. As the action accelerates (and the upcoming action is truly insane) I’ll need less and less establishing detail, and I’ll be able to cut back and forth with greater rapidity. Book Three’s still gonna be my longest to date (it’s already at 97,000 words), but not quite that long.
The title of Chapter 11 is “Welcome to the Party,” and that encapsulates my vibe. This night’s still young, my friends. There’s a wild ride ahead.
Okay, so this is kind of a big deal. Last night I sat down and made an outline. Crazy, I know.
What you’re looking at is the remainder of Book Three. Each line represents a separate story beat. Each color represents a separate POV character.
That’s all of it folks. Six chapters of mad-dash bedlam. From where I stand now, all the way to the end. I can’t tell you how empowering it feels to know for certain what’s about to go down. This preparatory step—which is highly unusual for me but quite necessary in this case, as you can see from the structural complexity—will ensure I waste as little time as possible in the trenches.
I just finished this year’s editorial pass of everything I’ve written in books One, Two, and Three. That’s roughly 305,000 words: just over the cumulative total of The Two Towers and The Return of the King—which means the entire tetralogy will probably end up roughly equal in length to The Lord of the Rings (or a single Brandon Sanderson novel, lol). In terms of technical errors—typos, comma splices, etc.—what I caught can be numbered on one hand. What I was doing with my revisions was refining the clarity and power of my language, making sure it flowed naturally and effortlessly, sanding out any syntactical rough spots. I’m very pleased with where it’s at.
Now, as the sander falls silent and I wait for word from six publishers whom I’ve queried, it’s time to forge ahead into the ridiculously epic conclusion of Book Three. The board is set, its pieces arrayed. The proverbial fan is huge, and revved up, and deafening, and I’m just standing here holding a bucket of poo.
Won’t somebody warn my poor protagonists to duck and cover?
Having subjected A Sea Sought in Song to one last editorial pass, and having submitted it to five indie publishers, I’m now churning through Book Two—Wrath and Crimson Rime—to give it a once-over as well. I really do think this will be the final edit on my part. The sequel was always in relatively better shape, since I already had 116K words’ worth of voice-development under my belt before I started it. So by the end of the weekend, I’ll have two full novels fit and trim and ready to face the world. Again. Theoretically.
In the meantime, I thought I’d re-up my heretofore greatest claim to fame: the chapter from Book Two which won an Honorable Mention at the prestigious Writers of the Future contest in the 1st quarter of 2019. As a flashback to Hugh Conrad’s past, it’s a rip-roarin’ noir adventure set in 1947 Iceland. It’s fun, exciting, tragic, and intriguing. It’s worth a read. After all, just look how it begins:
Anyway, if you want to give it a gander just click here.
[Language and violence advisory notice: these are adult novels I’m writing, after all.]