…And I’m back! Welcome to Outpost Dire, home to the shared Dire Universe of epic, grimdark fantasy, military sci-fi, thrillers, and more! Let’s dive right in.
So, first thing’s first: Draft 2 of THOLAC is complete! I added quite a bit on the second round, roughly 25,000 words, bringing the total to just over 140k. Some weak spots needed a lot of TLC, mainly minor characters. I still have one who just seems ‘there,’ but in terms of that character, I had a shower thought recently that almost made my head implode. One of those twisty twists I’m so fond of. Unfortunately, it won’t manifest until at least book two or three, so I’ll have to figure out something in the meantime.
So, what are my draft cycles, and how many do you do? Well, on my first book, I did seventeen. That’s a lot, and a lot of years. None of it was wasted as I learned so much in the revisions and grew as a writer, so I won’t need much in the redrafting stage; besides, I don’t have twenty years for each book. Nor do I have that level of patience anymore. I’ve found that as I’ve grown older, I am both more at ease and impatient. I know that makes as much sense as an oxymoron, but there you have it.
Draft one: That’s the vomit stage. Just spew that story onto the page. Write as much or as little as I want. Pants and power my way through it! I’ve had interesting feedback on my first drafts, from ‘this is absolute garbage,’ to the surprising, ‘damn, I wish my third drafts were like your firsts!’ Since I’ve had years to refine my craft—or a specific novel numerous times—that means there’s less to do in the revisions.
Draft Two: This segment really focuses on the characters themselves and cementing their tones. Some characters come very easy to me, others not so much. In this case, Amice is a co-lead to the book, or at the very least, the 40% to the 60%. However, in the first round, I didn’t have her tone down, nor a great detail of her personality. This is the second draft. I focus on broad internal thoughts, voice, narration tone of the POV, mannerisms, etc. If it revolves around the character, it’s done at this stage. For Maro, someone’s voice I nailed early, I did his last, and Amice, I did hers first because I struggled with her so much.
What comes next? Draft three, of course, but I might do something else in the meantime, take a short break. What takes place on the third go? The senses, bringing the world to life with smells, weather, visuals of the world around them, etc. All those things I skipped over on the first draft and just said, “he sat behind a desk,” now that furniture is going to get some sparkling details. These little things are important and give your world/work a little more Mmph.
So, what will I do during the break? Well, I actually might go write some portions of THOLAC 2, or at the very least, flesh out some kind of plotline, the tent poles of where I need to go. I’ve found that the older I get and the more into the novels I write, I plot more. Again, it’s not a detailed plot, just a few notes on direction, but still, it’s 1000% more than what I used to do. Also, I’ve long neglected my fantasy series. I need to go back and get into it. I’ve readied Volume III for the editor and self-edited volume IV, but I haven’t written anything in years beyond that. With hindsight, I’m starting to see some reoccurring themes or glimmers of repetitive plot points that I’ll need to finagle. I definitely need to reread my fantasy series, take notes, and start building up for the end. There’s also a possibility that I may split volume IV into two separate books.
Stay tuned for some incoming news about a new book release … we’ve got a short suspense date inbound!
That’s it for this round, short and sweet. I shall return…
If you enjoyed this content, check out my books, The Bearer of Secrets, Mark of the Profane, The Demon’s Fate, The Dark Portal, For Heathens of Heaven, and Flawed to the Core: Building Memorable Characters and Writing on Amazon. All works are available on Kindle Unlimited, eBook, and print. Reviews can be found on Goodreads and Amazon.