Just a quick update on my progress this week… It is my first week of writing full time since I really buckled down on The Timekeepers’ War. And it feels incredible. I didn’t meet my goal of 5 full days this week. I helped my sister move and had family visiting. But I am sitting at 90 good, usable pages of my first draft. Not a rough draft. A real draft. I will likely do one round of edits before submitting to my publisher, and one round with my editor before it goes to print. If I am able to keep this pace my goal of having a complete draft by the end of November is completely attainable! And that means we should have The Children of Bathora in our hot little hands by next summer. That’s great. Because I promised a lot of people that TKW Book 2 would be out by next Comic and Entertainment Expo!
Also, my latest Goodreads Giveaway had a record number of submissions. Over 1700 people entered to win a copy of The Timekeepers’ War and I just spend the last half hour signing, packaging and addressing books to send around the globe. The winners were from the United States and Canada, as well as Germany, Great Britain, Australia, the Philippeans, and India. It’s so exciting to imagine my book in the hands of people across the world. I hope it is well received!
That is all for now. Wish me luck for week two! My goal is to make it to 150 pages…
Sometimes the hardest part of writing is actually just sitting down and doing it. Unless you are lucky enough to already be making a living off your trade, writing often takes a back seat to other obligations. Life tends to intrude on what precious time is left for writing. At least, that’s how it goes with me.
I have managed, in the year since The Timekeepers’ War was released (August 2014), to do some extensive planning for Book Two in the trilogy. I’ve told this story a hundred times, in a hundred different ways, without ever actually committing a word to paper. But I’m mentally much more prepared to write The Children of Bathora than I ever was it’s predecessor. The Timekeepers’ War evolved organically. I let the characters and the situations write themselves.
It was an interesting, if wasteful, process. I ended up cutting over 50K words from my first draft to the version that actually went to print. The trouble with free-writing and entire novel is that you end up spending a lot of time and energy on writing scenes for yourself, rather than your reader. A lot of thought and detail went into building the City and its History that never made it into the finished book. I needed it to write the rest but, as I learned in the editing process, the reader didn’t need it to understand the story. All those details that were so necessary to my writing process simply bogged the reader down, and robbed them of their own vision.
This time I’m trying a different tack. Last week I completed a point form summary of the entire plot. Yes, and even wrote it down! I’ve honestly never written with an outline in mind. This is new to me. Even in my university days, I wrote long research papers without a concrete idea of where I was going with my thesis until I got there. Then I used the editing process to make the whole thing coherent. It usually worked.
The trouble is, I don’t have ten years to write my next novel. Not if I actually want to be a writer of any prolificacy (is that a real word?) So I need to do things differently this time around.
I wrote the first 100 pages of The Children of Bathora before I even found a publisher for The Timekeepers’ War. I needed something else to do besides hounding agents and publishers, and I knew the story wasn’t finished yet. I was still on a roll. But after those initial ideas ran their course, I realized I didn’t really know where I was going with Book Two yet. I didn’t want to have to cut 50K words from another novel. As cathartic as the process was, it would be better to have not wasted all that time and energy in the first place.
Since then, I’ve been mulling it over. I’ve been telling myself this story, and playing with alternative plot lines, and trying to get a feel for the next stage in Ghost and Lynch’s adventure. I even toyed with the idea of shifting the locus of the story from Ghost to someone new. Last week, something clicked. I found the piece that was missing to tie everything together, the thread I needed to pull to tighten everything up. That’s when I wrote the summary.
Today was my first full day of writing. 8:00am-4:30. A quick break for lunch and eight solid hours of work. It feels amazing!
Not only that, but I realize that much of my initial draft is usable. I’ve chopped, re-ordered, and re-written the first 25 pages. If I can keep up this pace with recycling the original draft, I should have the first third of the book done by the end of the week. The last two thirds will be a little slower going, since I will be doing new writing rather than reworking old. But knowing where the plot is going makes me confident that the process will be much smoother this time around.
My goal is to have a completed first draft by the end of November, with The Children of Bathora submitted to Bedlam Press at the beginning of the new year. My mother-in-law is kindly staying with us for a month (or more?) so that I can write full time, while she spends some quality time with the grandchildren and makes sure I don’t starve to death. It is an amazing gift! And it means I can’t procrastinate, which is just what I need.
So here’s to writing full-time. It’s been a couple of years, but the groove is still there. I am looking forward to this!
I did a Hallowe’en Giveaway last year, and it went really well. So I figured it was time for another one! Enter to win one of ten signed copies of The Timekeepers’ War by clicking >>>HERE<<<
Good luck, everyone!
Attention all reviewers! I’m offering a free e-copy of my novella Cold Metal War to anyone who buys and reviews The Timekeepers’ War. Just send me a link to your review and I’ll gift you a copy. You are under no obligation to write a positive review; free copies will be given out even if you hate TKW (of course, I hope you don’t, haha). But the two pieces are different enough that even those who didn’t find their groove with TKW might still enjoy CMW. Whether you have a book blog or just review on Amazon or Goodreads or something similar, I’m always looking for feedback!
And if you’ve ready reviewed TKW, I’m happy to honour this promotion retroactively. Just send me a message with a link to your review!
Thank you so much to everyone who came and helped to make The Saskatoon Comic and Entertainment Expo a Roaring success in 2016! Thank you especially to those who spent some of their time talking to me about The Timekeepers’ War, science fiction, writing, and publishing. I learned so much from my fellow exhibitors and a few visitors, too! And I nearly sold out of my stock, so that’s a pretty big bonus as well 😁 Next year I will be better prepared in every way!
Some highlights from the show:
-I was in the same building as William Shatner!
-I scored a couple of reviews, a magazine feature and a TV interview! So stay tuned for those…
-I literally promised everyone I talked to that Book 2 in The Timekeepers’ War trilogy will be out for next years’ show. So it’s crunch time for finishing The Children of Bathora.
I have once again been sadly absent from the online world. But I have been writing! I promise the sequel to The Timekeepers’ War is coming soon…
In the meantime, if you are local to the Saskatoon area, please come visit me at the Comic and Entertainment Expo September 19-20, 2015 at the Polaris Press booth (X35 on your handy little floor maps). I will be there with lots of paperback copies ($15CAD), a few limited edition hardcovers ($40CAD), and lots of time and enthusiasm for talking about my writing, your writing, or just writing in general. Probably some other stuff too. I like to chat!
If you bring your own copy I will be extra happy to sign it for you and might even have a little surprise for you. I also have a special offer for book clubs and book bloggers, so don’t hesitate to schmooze…
Hope to see you there! As always, thanks for reading😀
Psssst! If you don’t already have a copy, you can get your ebooks here and your paperbacks here. Bedlam Press also has paperbacks and Limited Edition hardcovers! Please support us little guys😉
I apologize for my absence the last few weeks. I had an unexpected hospital stay (don’t worry, everything is fine!) Now that I’m home again, and everything is settled, I am hoping to get back to business. I will be answering reader questions on Goodreads’ “Ask the Author” feature until the end of January. Please sign up or log in and fire away! Thanks!