This week, I reached the halfway point of my third draft for the sequel to Warrior of Light. When I provided my estimated timetable last August, I’d predicted draft three completion by January 31—so, unfortunately, it’s time to admit that I’m behind schedule.
The uncertainty of my release timetable is one of the reasons I chose to write Warrior of Light as a standalone story, rather than the first part of a multi-volume series. Though I love multivolume epics like The Wheel of Time, I didn’t want readers to commit to a volume with a cliffhanger ending without a solid plan for Book Two. I’m rather particular about staying on schedule, and I don’t like announcing that I’m not on track. Is it possible for me to make up lost time? Perhaps, but I’d rather not set that expectation (under-promise, over-deliver is the name of the game). And, while I do take deadlines seriously, I’d also rather take the time I need to get the story right. I’m having a blast with this book, but it’s also a tricky one. Sequels are tough, because they require writers to strike the right balance between capturing the beats that made the first story successful without repeating oneself. In short, I have to deliver new content in a familiar world, and it’s proving to be an interesting challenge. I treated Warrior of Light as a first novel and as a foundational exercise in storytelling: it follows a traditional three-act format, incorporates several elements from Campbell’s hero’s journey, and threads parallel plots before converging them at the climax. When writing Warrior, I attempted to answer the question “what makes epic fantasy successful?”. With the second novel, I’m asking “where do the characters go from here?” As such, it’s a more complex story, and a lot of my current efforts revolve around ensuring the number of threads in play provide a proper balance of value among themselves, while also advancing the larger story.
And so, here’s my best guess at a timetable as of today:
- Draft 3 (solo revision) – complete by February 28
- Draft 4 (beta readers) – complete by May 31
- Draft 5 (line and content edit) – August 31
- Draft 6 (copyedit) – October 31
- Draft 7 (proofread) – November 30
- PUBLISH – December 2018
Over the next few months, one thing I’ll do to help accelerate the work is change to monthly instead of bi-weekly blogs. Though regular blogging is important to me (I see it as a way to engage people with regular and diverse content outside of my novels and stories), for the short term any time I spend blogging is time I don’t spend revising. Therefore, I’ll continue to release blogs, but once a month rather than every other week. That should snag me a few hours of extra time, which will add up in the long run. I do expect to shift back to bi-weekly releases after I get a better handle on Book Two progress.
So, that’s where things stand for now. I’ll continue to keep folks updated, both here and on my Facebook page, as I make progress. Until then, hope you’re staying warm this winter and enjoying a good book to read.