Blog Post Number 6 Written:05-19-2021 Uploaded: 02-26-2022
I never thought of it as anything special, but I had someone ask about them, figured I’d write a post about it.
Okay, so I have a lot of ideas. It’s probably at least once a week I get struck with an idea, an idea big enough, good enough that I think to myself. “That could be a book.”
But I don’t write those down, I ignore them. Because they’re not ‘thee book’. I have too many ideas, too many projects I have started, and overwhelmed myself with, overloaded my brain with too many different ideas, too many timelines, characters, and so on.
Now that I have an actual book published, a series, cover art, a growing franchise, that is the focus, all else is superfluous. I am putting all my eggs in this basket, for the sake of my time and sanity.
The published book, The Descendant has been an idea growing in my head since high school. Reusing many of the characters, and self-made lore from my grade school days of writing BattleTech fan fiction.
Most importantly is my outline. An old-school roman numeral outline written by hand on lined paper, just like back in school, and that has the timeline, the chronological order of events and characters, and so on. I have then for each line, each event on the outline more specific notes, ideas for specific scenes and moments within the story, usually even a specific couple lines of punchy dialogue. This is my plan, the basis for the story, for every book in the series, and every chapter of those books. I won’t tell you how many books I am planning though, spoilers. Just know I have an unofficial contract to publish as many books as I can write.
Then I get to the fun part, the writing. I sit down at my computer, the same big gaming PC I use for everything else. Hammering away on my RGB keyboard like a chimp, or a savant, or whatever you want to call me. I’ve got a playlist I have been tuning for almost a decade, music is a requirement for me to write. The Descendant was written with the same two songs on repeat. I wrote it in fourteen days over seven consecutive weekends. I write roughly a thousand words an hour for as many hours as I can avoid distractions because the internet is full of those, it’s easy to double-check some tidbit of science and get sucked into the vicious circle of Wikipedia articles. Because there’s always another relevant article linked into the one you are reading. I’ll throw in the links for the two songs that helped me write the descendant at the end of the article.
So I spent seven weekends writing roughly 8 thousand words a weekend and boom, I had a 60 thousand-word book, But ya know, I had ideas, I couldn’t just stop there. When the second book comes out and you get to read that you’ll see how they mesh together. I took about an hour break after I finished writing the first book before I started writing the second book.
A couple weeks after that, I stopped writing the second book, and went back to the first one, with fresher eyes and I started editing it. I ran through it with the Grammarly editing software. ( just the free version, I am a starving writer still.) after getting the low-hanging fruit with Grammarly I did another quick edit, but this time with the spell checker built into Microsoft Word. Then I read it. Front to back, like a regular book, and I fixed stuff. Then I went back to writing the second book, and after a couple of weeks, I came back to the first, and reread it again. Fixing more mistakes along the way. Then I handed it off to my beta readers. And by beta readers I mean my grandmother and father ( my dad being stuck in bed with a badly broken leg after a motorcycle wreck at the time.) the two of them went through it line by line and made suggestions. Since they had printed copies and scribbled on them with pen and ink. I took their hard copies, and rea read them, line by line, word for word adding their edits into my electronic working copy. The new did that again and again. I had draft number seven by the time I submitted it to the publisher. Due to unforeseen and uncontrollable world events and the deal with the original publisher falling though, I did a couple rereads on my own again, and then two more drafts with suggestions from the professional editor. So the published book, the final form in paper back on your shelves, in the reader’s hands. That is draft number fourteen. I have since repeated the process, the second book is done, and sitting on my editor’s metaphorical desk, the third book is done and with my beta readers, the fourth book is done and is cooling on the back burner as I take on other related projects, like recording the audio book version of the first book and writing these blog posts. I have a couple of scenes for the fifth book written, and all my original notes, and outline.
Much like any plan, it doesn’t survive. The characters have made their own decisions, injected their own personalities into the story, made their own events come to pass. So what has been written is vastly different from the outline I originally wrote. I have rewritten my outline after finishing the second book since the events of the second book went very differently than I had originally planned you can blame Lydia for that. (You’ll see.)
Long story short, I make a detailed plan, then I write something that only vaguely resembles what I originally planned and edit the snot out of it, and write the next one after that, gotta keep on trucking, right?
I want to take a quick moment to thank my grandmother the beta reader, without her support and gentle, detailed line by line, word by word edit, I would never had the confidence in my own work to present it, to take it to the big leagues and submit it to the publishers. Now about those links….