An End-of-Yearish Update

I’d meant to make a number of posts over the last several weeks, but, well, here we are. This appears to be all that’s going to come of such plans, despite the fact that I have several such posts written. After all, at least two of them had to do with Christmas, which many folks celebrate, and which I still enjoy with my relatives despite some philosophical differences about the particulars.

Ah well. I’ll revisit them next year, maybe, and we’ll see if I still like them (the posts, not the relatives).

I’ve been busy lately, as members of my social media horde can attest. Mostly this has to do with wrapping up the rewrite of Oath of Blood, which has been limping along for an unholy age. I started the first draft sometime in August of 2012 or so, and figured I would be done cleaning it up by December of that year. Then I assumed it would be good enough that I wouldn’t have to do all that many revisions.

Well, you know what they say about when you assume.

So here we are, two years later, and things are at last rolling along. Initially I thought I might get done by the end of this December, and I will actually be very close to done at that point. But it’s looking like the last hurrah for the rewrite draft will be January instead, sometime in the first week or so. Which—I’ll take it, even though I’m frustrated about not sticking closer to my estimate.

But enough of that. You’d probably like to see numbers, especially if you’ve been following the revisions all these many, many months.

Right now, things are sitting at about 80,000 words.

When I wrote the very first rough, ugly draft of Oath, it was barely 25k, and was more or less a fancy outline—or a badly paced novella; take your pick. It grew to 50k in the first real draft and hovered around there for a long while. How it got so big in the rewrite process I couldn’t actually tell you. It just seemed to come together that way as I fleshed out the underdeveloped parts and addressed problems in the pacing.

The weird part, though, is that I began Oath shooting for 40-60k because I was convinced I couldn’twrite a longer work, much less one that might, by the end of it, come close to rubbing elbows with 100,000 words. Yet now, looking at the story as it has shaped up, I don’t believe I could cut it down again. (But again, we’ll see what the editor says.)

Is that how book series spiral wildly out of control, I wonder? Just—they grow on you, as you come to know the people and the places better? It makes me rethink all the frowning I used to do at Robert Jordan (despite his being nice enough to answer a letter of mine way back in high school).

But there you have it. On average, I’m putting about a chapter to bed per day, when I have a good day. Thankfully, that’s been most days since I got the last of the knots ironed out. But there are some bad days (anxiety wedded to clinical depression is, and remains, a real bitch), and there is the matter of The Holidays, which I’d smugly assumed would have no influence whatsoever on my ability to work—but which have now sucked away a sizable amount of time. Again, you know what they say.

So I’m looking to wrap all this up in early January. After that, I’ll be going back through the manuscript and polishing like mad, getting it to the point where I’m incapable of seeing any more problems with it. Thoroughly problem-blind, I will then be running it past a handful of trusted readers, some of them fellow writers, and others brave souls who have been willing to subject themselves to Oath since it got started. I’m imagining that, between us, we will probably wrap up bashing on the thing in the spring.

At that point, it’s back to the editor. Once that’s dealt with, I’ll see what changes need to be made, then make them, and then start the process of finishing up design, layouts, and formatting. I’m guessing that will take us into the summer, but we’ll see. Could be a bit faster. Could be a bit slower.

After that? Well, that feels like an age from now, but suffice it to say I’ll have plenty to keep me busy once I kick Oath out the door and into your lives. I’ve got another manuscript sitting on the desk, waiting for an overhaul, a detailed outline for a couple more (including the sequel to Oath), and some ideas for short fiction sitting in the “to-do” box. I’ve also got some blog posts, reviews, and the like on backlog, and I think (or at least hope) that you’ll enjoy them.

In the meantime, I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with Revisions Hell, and it doesn’t appear to be an oncoming train. Now to just keep on pushing.

But before I go, I feel obliged to make some remarks, as people do at the end of the year.

For all of you who have gone to bat for me, supported me in other ways, and generally been cool people this year, I thank you with all my heart (or spleen, or whichever part pleases you most). We get through this life, in large part, due to the help and generosity of other people, and I have in no small way been the recipient of such.

For those of you who do some variety of celebrating this time of year, may you have a good one, whatever it may be, and for those who don’t, may you have a good wintertime in general, full of enjoyable times and short on drama and stress. As for me, it’s back to work. I’ll peek my head out again soon when I have a heroic-looking stack of manuscript pages to show you.