First drafts complete, reflections

13 April 2015 10:00

Many people will know I have been working on an Urban Fantasy series for some time now. It’s listed prominently on my current projects post (which I should probably upgrade to an actual page sometime, so people can find it more easily), and each successive book in the series has gradually been upgraded to first draft as I finished them.

As you can see, all five of them are now at first draft stage or higher. I finished first draft of the final novella last Tuesday, and will soon start editing the series (starting with a quick re-read of the first book, and then a comprehensive edit of books 2 to 5). Once this is done, my alpha readers will get a go at them, which is likely to result in quite a few changes as well.

After these changes, my editor will check the document for spelling, grammar and style errors (and find loads of them! There’s nothing like an editor to remind you that you are human and capable of mistakes), after which my beta readers and hired proofreaders will take care of any spelling errors still remaining.

But right now, none of those things are all that important. I’m going to take a moment to reflect on this project. The idea to write a series of 5 novellas was meant as a small side project, which would take me nine months at most (1 month per novella, and then 4 months of polishing and editing). Instead, by the time they’ll be published, I’ll have worked on them for almost two years. I’ve talked about this before, and there have been many factors causing the delays, but the main lesson I’ve learned from this experience is that the length of the book isn’t the primary factor in time spent writing. Outlining a 20K word novella takes at least as long as outlining a 90K word novel, and while writing them doesn’t take nearly as much time, all the extra delays and recovery phases between novels add up quickly. As such, I’ll doubt I’ll do a project like this again, focusing on novels instead, with perhaps a short story or single novella thrown in every now and then.

For the time being I’ll be focusing on getting these novellas ready for publication (I’ll start revealing covers to my mailing list once I get closer to finishing them - they’ve been finished for quite some time now). My next writing project will most likely be a novel, but what the subject will be depends on the reception of the upcoming series. It might be a continuation or spin-off, it might be a different series in the same genre, or it might be an Epic Fantasy series that’s been playing around in my head for some time.

Time will tell, though by all means, tell me what you think!