Write on, Commander!
Well, you all know where that play on words comes from. I’d like to think I made it up, but I’m sure it’s been independently thought of a number of times.
Needless to say, it’s apt this week. I’ve started writing. This is generally considered a good thing if you’re trying to produce a book.
A quick detour in to statistics if I may, allowing me to explain how I intend to report progress along the way.
I’m anticipating that my book will be around 80-90k words in length when it reaches a final draft. That will be somewhat trimmed down from the first draft, which will be somewhat longer as a lot of stuff is chopped out during the editing process.
As a guesstimate then, the first draft may be in the order of 100k words or thereabouts. To “stay on target”, I need to have this ready in half a year; six months; twenty six weeks.
Thus my writing target is around 4,000 words a week, or 1,000 words a day (I have 4 days each week during which I can write). I’ll update these stats on the website as raw figures and a percentage on the ‘plan’ page from now on. You’ll see facebook and twitter updates too, if that’s what floats your boat.
At the end of this week I’m at 4,505 words. Not a bad start at all. So far I’ve completed the ‘Prologue’. This is effectively the backstory for the book. The main story takes place in 3299 (the year before the game starts) and the backstory goes back a couple of years to 3297, setting a few things up that are necessary for the story to work. I’m pretty happy with that, we’ve already got some tragedy and political machinations going on. Chapter One is well under way, though I’ve yet to introduce any of the major characters.
So much for progress tracking. I’m now entering the ‘fun’ part of the book writing process. This is where I get to see the characters come alive, often surprising me with how they form, working through the nuances of the interactions, figuring out the scenes and segues. This is the creative part every author loves.
I’m very keen to share some of this with you all, partly because I hope you’ll be interested and partly because there will be dark times ahead where I’ll need encouragement and positive vibes. I’m not usually cursed by writers’ block, but it has happened, and sometimes I’ve had to junk sections of work and backtrack over otherwise ‘good stuff’ which is pretty demoralising. ‘Real life’ also has a habit of trashing the best laid plans.
I intend to be honest and forthright about the good, bad and ugly of this process, hoping you’ll stay with me on the ride.
I’m mindful that some of you don’t want to see too many details about the book – it may spoil it for you. I don’t intend to reveal the plot for instance, or divulge whole chunks of the manuscript during its creation. You’ll have to wait until it’s polished and ready to go. Anticipation is a wonderful thing.
I’m also not at liberty (yet) to divulge much from the writers’ forum either, though we can certainly discuss what has and will be revealed via Michael’s “Writers’ Diaries”.
Meanwhile I’ve got a question for you.
Other than the progress numbers, what do you as my pledgers and supporters, want to see in these updates from now on?
I’m considering perhaps some character bio information, comments on the scenes and location (though being careful to avoid spoilers of course!). There’s also an interview with my publisher in the works so you folks can meet them.
I’d also be very interested in interviewing some of you as to why you decided to back me. Would some of you be up for that? If so, please get in contact and I’ll do a feature on you. 😉
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Engaging with you fine folks directly is very rewarding for me, and I hope you get something out of it too.
See you next week.