It’s been a while since I was in the first draft of an entirely new series. I’ve started the first book in several, but with difficulties over the last year, they all got left in the dusty drawers of my computer. Now that I’m back in the full swing of things, I’m having mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I get to start all over creating new characters, demons, magic, worlds, and stories. There was nothing, and then there was something. It’s all happening from the ground up. On the other hand, I have to start all over creating new characters, demons, magic, worlds, and stories. The first book in a series, in my opinion, is the most work, and even if you’re writing a stand-alone novel, the same principle applies. Either way you need to build the entire world in this novel, lay out the rules, and develop everything. With a series, you need to make sure this is a solid foundation for all the future installments, and as a standalone, you need to make sure you don’t have any loose ties at the end because there are no other books for you to deal with them. All around, it’s a lot more work that adding on to an existing world, and for authors who don’t write series and only write stand-alone novels, I applaud you.
The last week or so has been one full of progress for Sacred Cities. Just yesterday I added over 9k words, putting me close to the 70k mark. When I set out to start this book, I hoped to finish up my first draft around 85k-90k, but now that I’m here, I realize it’s going to be more like 110k-120k. Now, that’s okay for a few reasons. The first being that it’s a first draft. There is plenty of time to add, subtract, or completely obliterate. The second reason is that there is a lot of world to build. Looking back, and having learned all that I have over the past few years, I see so much potential and depth I could’ve added to Exiled. But I let myself be owned and restricted by the submission guidelines at that time. That was my mistake, and not one I’ll make again. This first book is a different beast, and as such requires different methods to train it. The fact of the matter remains however, that at times it can feel overwhelming. Mostly because I put so much pressure on myself to get this thing done, while at the same time refusing to sacrifice any level of quality or depth to the story. When I published Exiled, I had nothing. No readers, no fans, nobody but me looking forward to the story. That’s not the case this time around. Now I have incredible fans, and a lot of readers anticipating this book. As The Protector series evolved, I felt more and more pressure to deliver, albeit mostly from myself, but still. Now this is a new series, and although it’s fresh, there is an existing bar that previous readers have, and so there is a different type of nervousness within me. Will I meet that bar? Exceed it? Let everyone down entirely? Of course these are natural concerns, and with all things in life, I over think things and give them much more power than they deserve, but they’re real concerns nonetheless. And as such, this has left me spinning a little, but nothing I can’t manage.
I’ve experienced a better writing flow the last two weeks than I’ve seen since I worked on Endure. It’s an incredible feeling when I look forward to diving back into this world and discovering where the characters are taking me. I have a general outline in my mind, but as the story unfolds things change, characters make decisions I never expected, and then I’m back to square one with no clue how I’m getting from A to B. This has resulted in having to go back to the beginning and add/remove things as the story changes, and I imagine the first level of revisions for this novel are going to be intense. Alas, I am enjoying every minute of being back in the saddle. With the feedback from fans based on the teasers I’ve released, and some running thoughts that are coming from my progress readers (those who read chapters as I write them), I can’t move fast enough. As you can tell, I’m waffling back and forth about getting this done and taking my time. I have to take my time to give you what you deserve, but I’m excited enough I just want to throw at all of you already.
All this is to say, progress is going great and I’m so excited about this story I’m living it every second (between my newly found addiction for The Walking Dead. I’m almost caught up!) I constantly day dream, I rush to get the computer so I can write, and I am bombarded by ideas and new additions to include in the overall story. For anyone who hasn’t noticed, the last ten months or so I’ve been lacking in the excitement department in a big way, and now that it’s back, I’m overwhelmed (in a good way). On some level it feels like the first time all over again. I’m here, then I’m there, then I don’t know what I’m doing or where I am. Don’t worry, I’ll get it back under control, but until then, I’m letting random things happen and unleashing this story however it wants to fall on the page. If that’s a half-garbled slew of incoherent sentences, so be it. I do feel bad for my progress readers as they try to figure out just what the hell I was trying to type though. Sometimes my imagination and my brain don’t translate properly.
So there you have it: Randomness, Jibber-Jabber, and an update. Just what you were looking for on a Monday, right? Right!