Are we there yet?

I started to write my new novel on May 1st. The month is almost over, so… are we there yet?

It usually takes me roughly a month to write a first draft, and another to edit it. That is, if I have time and peace to do my dictation, because I’m not one to sit in front of the PC to hammer on the keyboard for hours. Dictation just works a lot better for me. I produce a lot of words quickly, and editing them in shape can be done with my wife around, and with interruptions that would throw me off if I was in the process of producing new words.

I’m at about 30k words now. That’s 1.200 words per day on average, or about 5 pages. According to Stephen King, that’s his daily output, so I could be happy with this. I’m not, of course, because I’m not SK. I don’t want to take a whole year to write a book, because I’m building a backlist, and I’m producing content for new readers to read through. There needs to be something there before people even pick up one of my books, because an unknown indie author is quickly forgotten in the months it takes to produce a new book, but if said author managed to make an impression, chances are better that new readers will stick around.

Apart from this very business-like model of thought, I know I can comfortably write 3.000 words and more per day, so the 1.200 I’m at right now are rather weak. But all that aside for now. Children of Gaea is my so far most ambitious project, from a craftsman’s point of view. I have four narrator characters and a rather large cast of somewhat important characters, all with their relationships, which might not be relevant in this story (and hence not be a plot point), but will return to the series in other books, so I have to keep track of it all, so I can reference it later.

I just finished the last scene of my transition from Act 1 to 2. If my story was perfectly symmetrical, this would mean the end result would be 120.000 words. Pendulum and Emergent were just a bit more than 70.000 each. So far this is 17 scenes. Act 2 will be 22 scenes, and Act 3 is 14 scenes long. So this is not really perfect symmetry, but the number of scenes alone isn’t necessarily telling the whole story. Some scenes are longer than others, and the pacing is accelerating throughout the book, all the way to the end, similar to how I handled it in Emergent. I believe the book might end up at 90.000-110.000 words, which would still be longer than the other volumes.

Right now, I’m planning to sit on this draft until the end of July. That’s 2 more months and seems doable. Add a month for edits, and were looking at the end of August for the release on Amazon. Of course, I’ll try to be faster than that, but giving myself this buffer seems to be the right thing to do. Even so, it’s not that important right now. My primary goal is to improve with every new book, and I believe that’s possible with the schedule I laid out above.

I will end this post with a small excerpt of the last scene of Act 1.

The large, illegal fusion reactor in the centre of the room hummed, and the desk of the Lurikeen was a busy hub for staff members. Camran Mulloyi was the leader of the project their secret alliance was working on. The cure for the cancer called Aes Sidhe, and the tool she needed to rid herself of her worst enemy, the AI. The two technicians who had blocked her view on the creature, walked away, and she had a free line of sight, finally.

His red beard was in terrible shape. So was his general appearance, but the unkempt curtain hanging from his chin dominated his figure. The dirty spots and holes in what could have looked impressive ruined one’s first impression of the knee high man before he even opened his mouth. Chiharu didn’t care.
This one at least looked as filthy as he was inside. Not like those glittering, pretty little pixies, rotten to the core. Camran Mulloyi was easy to work with, the real-life example of WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get.

“Mulloyi, I wish to have a word with you.”
The Lurikeen moved his head, and his filthy beard scraped over his chest and immense stomach, following the movement of his pockmarked face.
“A word, sentence, paragraph, page.”
She clicked her tongue. The small Aes Sidhe climbed from his seat, landed on his feet after a freefall of about 10 centimetres. His bushy eyebrows were almost connected by a deep frown. When he walked over to her, his gait reminded her of a duck. Lurikeen were supposed to have knees, but Camran Mulloyi didn’t seem to have a need for them.
She gestured for him to follow and turned around to where she had come from.

The elevator doors opened, she stepped inside, and there he was. His face was red, and he was breathing heavily. The door closed, and now they were alone. A signal by her system activated the small bench that had been integrated into the wall. She sat down, but didn’t offer him a seat.
“Do you know why I’m here?”
”Here, there, when, where.”
“I take it, that means no.”
He snorted, and for a second, his face looked even darker than before.
This was the only elevator connecting the four lower levels, and anyone in need of transportation would now be out of luck. There were no stairs connecting the floors. And yet, this was a good place for a little interview. A small, isolated chamber in limbo, hard to get to, and almost impossible to get out of.

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