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Work-in-Progress Update for November 2011

Tuesday I talked about being a publisher as well as a writer. I was a little surprised when no one (yet) piped up to complain, because I’ve had a lot of people asking me with vigorous interest, “When will book two be done?!?!”

I always want to feign a little bit of bafflement at that. “Book two? Of what? Ghost Targets? That one’s out. Released it in February. Several hundred copies sold. Or did you mean Sleeping Kings? I finished book two of that one, The Shepherd, for my very first NaNoWriMo, way back in 2007. 130,000 words in one month. What a rush!”

Of course, under the circumstances, I know exactly what they mean. Taming Fire is my big seller, and it does stumble into something of a soft ending. There are plenty of people anxious to read the sequel, and I’m utterly thrilled at that.

I’m also not forsaking any of them in favor of the publishing. In fact, most of the publishing work I’ve done lately has been focused on new tools that will make my record-keeping and production duties far simpler, freeing up my time to focus on the more interesting projects.

I also posted to Twitter Wednesday morning:

I hereby withdraw my bid for a 2011 #NaNoWriMo win. Thank you all for your support. Keep the faith. See you next year.

Just like the publishing improvements, that decision was aimed directly at freeing up my time to focus on a more immediate project. And that is?

The Dragonswarm

Affectionately known as “Book Two,” The Dragonswarm is the sequel to Taming Fire. Like Taming Fire, this project is a rewrite of material I developed twelve years ago while pursuing my undergraduate degree in Writing. Also like Taming Fire, when I started on my rewrite I discovered there were some major pieces missing, including 1) an antagonist and 2) a recognizable plot arc.

I’d had to fix similar problems in the first book, and that involved writing a whole new ending to it (the last three chapters or so), and as a result the beginning to this part of the story became pretty wobbly. So I put in a couple months writing five or six new chapters to get the story set, and since then I’ve been moving more quickly through the cleanup.

The biggest change is that I’ve actually locked down all the rules of the magic this time around, and I’m really letting Daven use it. That makes for a much better story, but it means a lot of double-checking and re-evaluating and balancing powers to keep the story moving from 0ne end to the other.

I’m having a lot of fun and making a much better story, but I’m also running out of time. The book is scheduled for publication in December, and even though digital publishing and agile little indie presses can turn a book around much faster than traditional publishing (which tends to take about 18 months), I still have to give my people some time to get the book reviewed, edited, prepped, and produced. And a significant percentage of “my people” in that case is “me,” so I’m not doing myself any favors by running late.

As I said, I set aside last weekend to finally get the manuscript finished. And then I didn’t get it finished. Well, I’m setting aside this weekend to do the same, apart from a couple short hours Saturday morning to attend a photoshoot for the cover art! I’m really looking forward to that. You can see a really rough snapshot of a tiny portion of the painting at the top of this post, but I promise we’ll get a higher-quality image for the official cover.

Homework

I’m also still hard at work on my Master of Professional Writing degree at OU, and that brings with it a significant workload. For my Master’s Project, I’ve been working on The Dragonprince (which will soon be honorably known as “Book Three”). Honestly, that’s the main thing that’s kept me from finishing The Dragonswarm already.

I’ve done a surprisingly good job of juggling the two stories without too much interference between them, but I’ve had 25 pages of Dragonprince due every Wednesday since August, and while that has led to some remarkable productivity, it’s also accounted for about 80% of the time and energy I have available to work on novels, so Dragonswarm has only sputtered.

I’d also made Dragonprince my NaNoWriMo project, hoping to put in the last 50,000 words and get it out of the way, but that meant spending even more time every week working on it, and it was costing too much. So around the same time I threw in the towel on NaNoWriMo, I went in to speak with my Master’s Project adviser and told her I needed to back down on my weekly commitment. She heartily agreed.

Meanwhile, for a Nonfiction class, I’ve put together a (rather impressive) official proposal for a textbook/self-help book called, How to Write like a Boss: The Handbook of Professional Writing. It’s based on my experience teaching Tech Writing to a bunch of non-English majors, and focuses on using document-type templates to make the writing process easier, faster, and to make your documents look professional and effective at the same time.

And in my short story class, I’ve written “Building Plans” about a young window in Catoosa, Oklahoma, who has to figure out what to do with a mountain of debt and the front wall of a castle, and “Handle with Care” about a lonely, shy programmer at the Post Office who’s trying to find the nerve to talk to the pretty new receptionist.

Other

I’d planned to have a section here about all my current novel projects that are on temporary hold, but it’s far too long and far too interesting. And half of them are getting reactivated in January for the classes I’ll be taking in the spring. So I’ll save that for a January Work-in-Progress update.

And then, of course, there’s business. I could spend several pages telling you what’s going on with the Consortium right now…but that sounds like a post of its own, doesn’t it? So I’ll save that one for next week.

Two days to work my way through two hundred pages. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

Wish me luck.

One Response to “Work-in-Progress Update for November 2011”

  1. [...] my lovelies, is the cover art I painted for Aaron Pogue‘s upcoming fantasy novel The Dragonswarm (December 2011!). If you wanna know what the title [...]

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