Finishing things is weird

homerchapterWelp, that is that. After slogging through 10 months of various levels of productivity and distraction, I finished the first draft of book 5. And I feel…happy, I guess?

Completing a book is a strange event. It’s a lot like finishing a half-marathon. (It may be like finishing a full marathon as well, but I’ve never run one of those.) Near the end of a long run, the gas tank is empty. Your internal pep talks have become ineffectual. Everything chafes. The only thing that gets you to the finish line is stubborn determination. You force yourself to grind out the last hundred steps to get to the end.

And grind I did, to the tune of 110 000 words. That is a whole lot: in fact, it’s the longest thing I have ever written. Keep in mind, the thing hasn’t seen the merciless eye of the editing process, so the word count is going to change. But for now, the size of the book 5 word heap is 100 grand and change.

You may have noticed that I’ve referred to it by the rather uninspiring title ‘book 5’. That is because a real title hasn’t jumped up and bitten me on the nose yet. Actually, a title did present itself months ago, and I was excited to slap it on as a working title: “The End of All Things”. And then I googled it and found John Scalzi had already used it for one of his books. Dang it. (I still like the title and am tempted to use it, reader confusion be damned)

I should also mention it is the final book in the Spellbound Railway series. Not only did I finish a book, I wrapped up the whole series. You would think that I would have a tremendous sense of elation, accompanied by a wistful melancholy. It took me about 10 years to write all five books. Ten Years! A decade of work! I am getting old! Ah! Wait, that’s a different topic. Nevermind the oldness.

But even though I referred to the book writing process as a gruelling feat of endurance, this one wasn’t as exhausting as previous ones. I think my writing muscles have become stronger.  No amazed declaration of “I can’t believe I actually finished!” this time. I can believe it, because I’ve done it before, and I’ll keep doing it.

Wait a second….is this what being confident in your own skills feels like? Weird.


Why, hello there!

You know that thing, where you think you did a thing, but you actually forgot to do that thing? I did that thing.

I decided a good while ago to call it a wrap on my daily video post. It was fun for a bit, I learned a lot, but it and me were running out of steam.

I had meant to pop over here and do a blog post about it. Imagine my surprise today (weeks later) when I discovered there was no such post in existence. Whoops!

That’s the long and short of it, in terms of the videos. An experiment that had run its course. Might I do more video in the future? Ah, anything’s possible.

Here’s what I am working on:

-Book 5 of the Spellbound Railway is at 65000 words and growing. Hopefully I can get the first draft done by the end of summer, but summer is a time of anarchy so no promises

-the complicated secret project is still complicated but becoming more likely as days go by. Think subscription-based serial fiction, a chapter at a time, with additional background and side story bits for the premium buyers.

-a growing sense of dread over the deteriorating state of geopolitics.

-maybe renting some drums to be a two man band with the lad.

More of me, now in video form

First, the boring ol’ updates:

-Book 5, the final, totally last, all done instalment of the ‘Spellbound Railway’ (which most people just call the WitchKids series, despite my feeble protestations) is underway. I will finish the chapter summary by the end of this year and launch myself flailing and shrieking at the first draft in early 2018.

-secretive new project is secretly in the planning stage, centred around that detective thriller that has bad people doing bad things. Mid-2018 is when it potentially sheds its secretive skin and prances about in all it’s gory strange glory.

And on to new business!

I have advice! Writing advice! And I am going to capture it raw and fresh each work morning in a video segment I call ‘Bad Writer Advice’. Here’s the first video, explaining the whole thing.

You ask, quite rightly, why I would shove bad advice down your already engorged gullet. I would answer that all advice is bad…unless it works. And once I got over my own cleverness, I would explain it like this: following advice is like running through a maze with hints being yelled back from someone else in the maze. More often than not, their advice will lead down dead end alleys and wrong turns, chewing up time and effort. If you are lucky, you’ll pick up a few useful ideas from these wrong turns. And occasionally, the advice will be exactly what you need and you’ll find the end of the maze. Hurray for you!

So by noon each work day, I’ll have a (less than) 5 minute video prepared hot and ready for you over here on my youtube channel. Vacations will happen and you will not get videos during that time. the videos will be unpolished. They will have no production values at all. But they will be an honest look into my daily writing process, warts and all. (Please note: no actual warts will be displayed. Ew)