At the beginning of August, I finished the first draft of the sequel to Warrior of Light. The manuscript comes in at 211,279 words, making it 15% longer than Warrior in its current state (the final word count for Warrior of Light was 182,659 words). That said, the immediate length is an apples-to-oranges comparison, as my first drafts are generally longer than subsequent ones. In revisions, I focus on trimming prose and modifiers (in a first draft I might say “unnecessary” modifiers; however, at a second glance one realizes that “unnecessary” is in itself an unnecessary modifier and hence shall be cut. Got it?). So, I expect the finished product for Book Two to run anywhere from 190k-200k words.
That said, there’s still a fair amount of uphill work before publication. A first draft is just that—my first go-round and getting the story on paper. I don’t revise much when generating the initial content, as I would rather focus first on completing the story in the aggregate and do the cleanup later. So, during next few drafts I’ll drill down on fleshing out characters, polishing scenes, correcting inconsistencies, and satisfying myself with the general flow of the narrative. I expect to complete at least two solo revisions, after which I’ll send copies to my beta readers and use their feedback to complete the fourth draft. Then it’s off to the editing team for the line and content edit, which involves working with a trained editor to review the manuscript from an overall perspective, again reviewing things like character development, plot consistency, narrative flow, et cetera. After the line and content edit, I then proceed to work with the team to complete a copyedit, which is a more technical edit to review the manuscript for grammar, sentence structure, verb tense, and so forth. The last step is to compile the manuscript into a print layout and conduct a final proofread. In short, I expect to go through about seven drafts total before the book is ready for publication. As it stands right now, this is my best guess at what my timetable looks like:
- Draft two (solo revision) – complete by November 30
- Draft three (solo revision) – complete by January 31
- Draft four (beta readers) – complete by April 30
- Draft five (line and content edit) – complete by July 31
- Draft six (copyedit) – complete by September 30
- Draft seven (proofread) – complete by October 31
- LAUNCH – November 2018
For what it’s worth, that will put me exactly two years after publishing Warrior of Light. Also for what it’s worth, I hope to beat this timetable. We’ll see. Either way, it’s a quicker pace than Warrior of Light, which was a three-year process (split into non-consecutive blocks over an even longer period of time).
In the interim, my short story Malichon Manor is definitely on track for an October release this fall. If you haven’t read my previous blog on Malichon Manor (check it out here), a few quick notes: this was a side project I explored last spring because, absent the release of another novel, I still wanted to release some form of new content in 2017. It’s a classic haunted house story, which I selected because I thought it would be a fun fit for the Halloween season. As the subject matter suggests, it’s a bit darker than Warrior, but I hope that fans of traditional fantasy will nonetheless appreciate the fundamental conflict between good and evil that still serves as the foundation for this story, too. As for the significance of the word malichon itself—well, this short story takes place in our world, not the world of Warrior of Light, but sometimes bottles wash up on a beach, and who can say where they’ve been?
That’s all for this week’s blog. As always, thanks for reading, and may the rest of August treat you well.