June 2019 Archive

Progress Report June ’19

There have been various distractions over the last couple of months as we ramp up towards release of A Little Hatred in September.  The slow cycle of publicity beginning, some interviews to do, a tour to think about, and 5500 signature sheets to sign for US editions, among other things.  We’re also nearing the end of a long-overdue redesign of the website, which is looking grand and will hopefully be unleashed upon an unsuspecting world in the next couple of weeks.

But, of course, the main activity is writing those pesky books, specifically books 2 and 3 of the series, The Trouble with Peaceand The Beautiful Machine.  Book 2 was in reasonable 2nd draft shape and had been read and commented on by editors in UK and US, so leading on from proofreading the finished Book 1 the main task was to respond to edits and some concerns of my own, and then generally fettle, tighten, smooth out some character arcs and add some details that had occurred.  I guess we could call that a tight second draft, which has ended up a good deal longer than the first draft after expanding on a few things and adding some extra scenes – it went from 173,300 to 194,500 words even with some tightening.  For comparison that’s a sort of Before They Are Hanged or The Heroes kind of a length.  Book 2 is now in pretty good shape, I’d say, ready for the lighter, more specific rounds of revision I do with an eye on character voice, setting, and finally detail of language, then the final detailed edit.  Maybe 4-6 weeks work altogether, although editors may have some additional thoughts once they’ve considered the last book.

Book 3, meanwhile, was in some ways in rougher shape, as it had only been 1st drafted, but being the last book largely had the right bits in the right places, plus I’d rewritten and added to the last quarter a fair bit after finishing Book 1 and therefore knowing where I was going with the whole thing.  I’m now close to having gone through the first two parts (leaving only that vital final one for attention).  The first part of this final book, funnily enough, needed a bit of cutting down and smoothing off, while the middle part needed some building up with a bit more thought, characterisation and detail, and general attention to the movements and changes in the characters.  Now I’ve just got to tackle that last part, which may take a bit of refining, before I end up with a good 2nd draft of the final book too.  Then editorial comments and those 4-6 weeks of revision.

So there’s work to do, still, but in the main it’s the fine work on the detail, rather than big hacks and slashes or additions.  Feels very good to be finally bringing home such a massive project, one that I’ve spent close to four years writing, and have been thinking about for a lot longer than that.  Details of the UK tour in September are just being worked out and I’ll post the details when everything’s confirmed.

Oh god, soon it’ll be time to think about what comes next…

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