October 2018 Archive

Progress Report October ’18

So I’m really sticking to this whole progress report thing, huh? Impressive. No doubt that means I will immediately go silent for a year or two. We shall see.

Settled back in our house now and the major building work almost complete. Had a lot of sorting out to do, which is by no means finished, but things are steadily getting back to normal, whatever the hell that is. Worked out the other day it’s been nearly 3 years since we were last completely settled, so it’s nice that things are calming down. Whether you get more done when everything’s calm, or in fact you’re more productive when there’s loads going on, it’s hard to say…

To the matter! Finished the second draft of A Little Hatred in September and sent it off to editors both in the UK (for detailed notes) and in the US (for a first opinion).  Any of you who have actually followed my ramblings on process may recall that for me this is a revised and hopefully coherent version of the book that has the key characters’ voices working and the plot beats in the right places, incorporates a first round of big picture editorial comments and is probably 90% of the way there. I was wondering about cracking on with it while I waited but in the end it felt like it might be better to give that book a rest for a while and come back to it refreshed and with some outside opinion.  At this stage it’s all about getting the most out of each round of revision and not falling into a pattern where you’re just saying ‘yes, yes, fine’ to everything and really reading it through without changing anything.  

So I’ve spent the last few weeks working on the second draft of the second book, The Trouble With Peace.  Feels good to have tackled it, actually, since it was probably the book that needed the most work, and it did remind me of a few things I need to keep in mind when revising the first book.  I had a big multi-PoV sequence to add as well as a few extra scenes – something significant for pretty much every major character in fact.  Then many of the issues I was tackling on the first book applied here as well – working on the voices of some characters and getting some more personality into some key secondary characters, as well as building up a few plot lines that have ended up a little ill-served. As with the first book, I’ve been going through one Point of View at a time, and I’ve now got through three of the seven, though probably the most difficult three – the ones that have the most complex relationships, the most development and drive the plot most.  So you could say I’m half way through the second draft.

Looking forward, notes have now come in, so I’m ready to go back to the first book. November I’ll try to tackle editorial notes and also work on the setting – giving a bit more thought to some telling details, time of year, weather, that sort of stuff.  Then December will be for a final run through on the detail of the language and the voices of the central cast.  The aim is for A Little Hatred to be all done bar the copy edit by new year. That, I hope, will give plenty of time to get proofs out early in 2019 in preparation for publication in September.  Then, with any luck, I can get the second draft of The Trouble With Peace finished and off to editors by the end of January, leaving me time to tackle the bigger stuff on the third book, The Beautiful Machine.

Realised just the other day that it’s now an astonishing 6 YEARS since Red Country came out.  Where the hell does the time go?  In fact more time will have passed between the publication of Red Country and A Little Hatred than passed between The Blade Itself and Red Country. I did publish three shorter novels in another world plus a collection of short stories and draft a whole new trilogy in that time, so it’s not like I’ve been idle, but even so – it’ll be great to get a new First Law book out into the world.  Though clearly making no promises, it looks very likely the other two books will follow Sept 2020 and Sept 2021.

Although Red Dead Redemption 2 just got here so maybe I’ll just play that for six months…

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