Good news, I’ve just finished the second draft to Raike 5! I hope to finish the third draft in mid-February, then it’ll go to my editor and beta-readers, and with any luck the book will be out … who knows when? Things often go awry so I won’t really have a concrete date until after I get it back from my editor. And I still don’t have a title, so lots of pacing will be involved until I figure it out.
What’s it about?
Raike is back in his home town of Erast, a few months after the events of Cold Blooded (Raike 3), now working for General Kasera instead of the other side of the law. Unfortunately, Raike’s past as a bad guy starts to catch up with him as he looks into the deaths of a couple of city watchmen, and things go from bad to worse when he realises the killer might be better at this than he is.
When will it be out?
Maaaaaybe April. Probably May.
Anything weird with how I wrote this book?
Yep. I’ve had some success with something called Zero Drafting. It’s basically writing only the bare bones of dialogue and skipping long sections of prose, descriptions, and anything that I can’t think of right then and there. I had fallen into some bad habits with writing the previous books by doing the 1st draft, 2nd draft, and 3rd draft simultaneously. I’d also jump around a lot, sometimes skipping several chapters because I didn’t know the details of what happened but I knew where the story ended up on, say, chapter 19, then while editing chapter 35 I’d figure out the unknown chapters, go back and write that, and sometimes I’d have the finale written, edited, and polished, but still hadn’t even begun a chapter somewhere in the middle of the book. Sounds nuts, right? It was. I needed something drastic to break those bad habits and that’s where zero drafting came into it. All told, the 1st draft (bare bones only) came to 57,800 words, the 2nd draft is now 105,800 words, and the 3rd draft while likely bring it up to around 120,000 words.
Aside from trying to reset some bad habits, I did this because I end up moving chapters around A LOT during the edit. Sometimes a chapter from the first half of the book gets moved to the second half and vice versa. And bits of one chapter get reworked into another chapter, sometimes with different characters saying the gist of what someone else had previously said. Because I no longer bothered writing the beginning or ending of every chapter over and over again, moving them around to see how they fit was less of an issue.
How many head-on-desk moments have I had already with this book?
Two. The first came two weeks into writing. I went into this book knowing the following information: the captain of the city watch is being blackmailed + Raike teams up with someone from the city watch who is trying to sabotage the investigation into the captain’s blackmail. That’s literally all I knew as I sat down to write the story, and for the first two weeks the book was going in a direction that didn’t quite work. What I had was okay, it just lacked tension because of the location. So I cut it out and decided to use what I had in a future book (probably Raike 7, because I’ve already got an idea for Raike 6). And with that, I started Raike 5 again, this time with the goal of having only one bad guy instead of scores of them for Raike to hack his way through.
My second head-on-desk moment is still going on – I don’t have a title. All the titles I’ve tried to come up with aren’t great so hopefully I’ll pull something together soon and put the book on pre-order for all you guys.
What else is happening in 2020?
I’ll start work on Raike 6 in a couple of weeks. We’ll see his return to Solento (the location from book 4 where he may have been responsible for a lot of people being killed) and has to rescue a double agent. No more details right now because that’s pretty much all I know of the story.
I’ve also been tinkering with a side series as well. I have bits of 7 novellas about a dungeons and dragons-esque adventuring group in a world full of elves, half-orcs, dragons, goblins, and bad guys. I doubt I’ll have the time to finish those stories in 2020, but you never know. My plan will be to finish them all and release them 2-4 weeks apart, while holding one back as an exclusive story for my mailing list. A 2021 release is more likely at this stage, so we’ll see.
Anyway, I hope you all have a great 2020!