I don’t normally post about WIP (Works In Progress). However, I thought I’d provide an update on how End War: Lonely Hunter is progressing. It is my first full length Science Fiction novel. To be honest, I’m a bit burnt out at the moment. Between a demanding full-time job (that has nothing to do with writing), blogging, relentlessly growing my understanding about how self-publishing works, continuing to promote my first novel (to include finishing up the audio book), and working on Lonely Hunter and its four sequels…I’m smoked.
By way of an update, here is some history: I’m not sure what constitutes a draft or a full edit — I’ve always wondered what other people mean when they say this — but I wrote the first pass of my 70k-word novel Lonely Hunter between Dec ’13 and Mar ’14. That includes many nights of tweaking, rereading and rewriting entire chapters, etc. I then wrote the sequel in the next two months. It also went through lots of tweaks and scrubbing. At that point, I started farming both out to family and beta readers, and I started the first novel through CritiqueCircle’s novel system (CC is an online writing workshop). And I went to work writing big chunks of the 3rd novel in the series at the same time.
I share this detail because along the way I came to believe that though the first novel was a coherent story, and though the writing was more or less sound (and a professional editor could polish it further), the story lacked a rich, interwoven texture. That may sound vague and airy, but to my eyes it was under delivering the most important thing a story must have: emotion.
Having written the next two books in the series, and then outlining the final two, I developed a deep understanding of what the story was about, and the MCs’ dilemmas that would power the plot.
So after all the feedback I got from sending it through CC (which was hugely helpful, but very “tactical”), and a few concise sentences from some beta readers that cut to the heart of the matter, I began rewriting Lonely Hunter, and I did a lot of cutting…and adding…until it is now 115K words long. And then I sent it through CC again, which always involves a lot of additional writing, rewriting and editing.
Starting two weekends ago, I began reviewing all the feedback (almost 100K words of it!) I’ve gotten from its second trip through CC. After I get through all of that, then I’ve got a page with about 20 bullets of things I want to go back through and clean up, add (to include two short scenes), delete, make consistent, smooth out, etc.
After that, I’ll probably read it cover to cover four or five times tweaking it further. Then I’ll drag it through an online “style checker” to root out the passive voice, overused phrases, adverbs, etc., that I can no longer see.
Next, I’ll have an automated Text-To-Speech engine read it to me. Invariably you’ll catch new gaffs and strange sounding sentences when you hear your words. You will catch things your eyes can no longer see.
And after that, off to my editor for her to work on it for a month. She is very strong and accomplished. It will cost some money, but in the end it will be worth it. She will catch things that I still have missed, and she’ll clean up clunky sentences and confused syntax.
Once it comes back, I’ll probably pre-release it while I read it through another four or five times. Concurrently I’ll be driving all the marketing and promo activities as hard as I can in prep for the day it goes live.
I have already secured the cover artwork, but I’m still working on integrating it into the cover text. Fortunately one of my daughters is an accomplished artist, so she is helping me with it.
And then…probably around November, I’ll publish it. That night I’m going to drink too much and dance around the room and cry for a while. And before I go to bed I’ll be working on the next one.
So…call it three years to get my first full length novel out. I’d like to think #2 will only be one year behind it. #3 will be at least a year behind #2; it is a big and complicated beast.
Check out a few chapters from Lonely Hunter.