Thursday, November 10, 2011

The first draft of Crimsonstreak 2 is coming along nicely. I'm currently camped at 79,700 words after a solid 2,000-word outing last night.

I was aiming for 80,000 words initially, but I will definitely exceed that (unless I can wrap up my story threads in fewer than 300 words).

I'm juggling all kinds of things in the sequel: an alien invasion, more parallel universe tomfoolery, a lovable man-bird, a Green Lantern-like interplanetary peace corps, and the "return" of a character who didn't make it through the first book. Seriously, I've ratcheted the crazy up to 11. It's kind of embarrassing. The thing is, I know right now that it doesn't totally work because this is a first draft and first drafts must be destroyed!

I abandoned some very important characters who were prominent earlier in the book. I need to fix that. The motivations of the bad guy aren't clear. I need to fix that. I don't introduce the bad guy early enough. I need to fix that. My main character needs a more solid character arc involving his relationship with a certain someone. I need to fix that.

By the weekend, I'll probably have the first draft complete. I'll then sketch out some ideas for extra, supplemental material and get to work on some of that. After a few days or even a week, I'll hastily reformat Crimsonstreak 2 in HTML and email it to my Kindle, where I'll read through it and find out how epically I missed the mark on the first draft. I'll make corrections, I'll change plot points, move some characters around, and generally make another mess. After that, the manuscript goes to some beta readers for feedback and more general destruction.

For me, revisions generally take much longer than spitting out the first draft.

I wrote the first book, for example, in 2007. It really didn't take all that long (a few months, like this one). I played around with submitting it a couple years later, but I didn't know what I was doing. I went through several revisions until the book felt polished and then got some feedback from readers. This summer, I submitted it to a publisher. That's a four-year development cycle, with the majority of that dedicated to revising.

Of course, I was not as polished of a writer (that was my second attempt at a book while this is my seventh), so I expect this process to go a little more smoothly.