Marty’s First Draft Is Complete!

Well, here we are. It’s 10:30am on Tuesday July 25th, and I just wrote the last words in the first draft of “Marty”. I’m still using quotes there. You’ll see why in a minute.

Yesterday I wrote around 9,000 words, and today I wrote another 4,544 to wrap the whole thing up. The last few chapters just started flowing out of me and wrote themselves. Which seems cliche to write, but it’s true.

It clocks in at 116,435 words and I finished the draft 6 days ahead of my completely made up, self imposed schedule. Around 20% longer than my previous longest work, if memory serves (yes, I’m too lazy to go check.)

What’s next? I’m going to take a week (maybe a little more) off from it before starting editing. I need something as a palette cleanser so I can hit it with fresh eyes.

As for the quotes around the name: I started off just calling it Marty because it was intended to be a completely different thing from what it ended up as. But, when all is said and done, the title of the book is “My Best Friend, Marty.”

It’s the tale of Marty and Matt, who become best friends after a random encounter meeting, and all the things they go through in life together as they grow from young men to adults.

Stay tuned for updates as editing happens. If you’re interested in reading an early copy once I’m done editing (known as Beta reading) and providing honest and thorough feedback, drop me a line at and we can discuss.

More Progress on Marty

It’s been a little more than a month since my last update. On June 9th, Marty was just over 63,000 words. Today, the first draft of Marty sits at 84,018 words. About 21,000 words in the last month. It’s amazing what I can do when I set a goal for myself, isn’t it?

I’ve still got my target set at 90,000 words, though I know, for absolutely sure, I’ll go well over that. The remaining chapters I’ve outlined (which is just creating the chapter with a title, so I remember all the points I wanted to make when I get to them), will surely be more than 6k words. I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I’m sure some of the first draft will end up in the Trash folder of my writing app. It always does.

My goal is to have the first draft by the end of July. If I stick to my daily writing sessions, that should be no problem. Editing usually takes a few months, then all the other nonsense that comes along with a new book, which I’m sure you know so well, if you’ve been following along on my blog here.

And, in case you missed it last time, the tentative title for the book is simply “Marty”. It’s a simple story of two best friends and what they go through in their lives together as they grow up.

Making Progress

I’ve been chugging away at the first draft of my next book, throwing a few thousand words at it a few days a week. I’m trying to find a balance between using my free time in the morning for writing, but also reading. I’m sure it’s been said a million times in history, but it’s hard to be a good writer if you’re not a good reader. So, I’m trying to be a better reader, while still finding time to write.

As of this morning, I’m a little over 63,000 words into the first draft. I’m targeting around 90,000 words, give or take. That’s around the average for a full-length novel, though some of mine fall a little shorter than that.

It’s really up to the story and the characters. Have they said all they wany to say and done all they needed to do for the story to be complete?

For me, a second draft usually adds a few thousand words, as well. I find spots that need to be fleshed out more. Sometimes I find entire chapters that need to be deleted. Sometimes I find something I’d previously written and deleted in the trash and revive it. It all depends on how I feel as I read through the first draft.

Often, the first draft for an author makes little sense. It’s just a way to word vomit everything that you want to get out. Then, in the second draft, you try to make sense of it. For me, though, that’s never been the case. My first draft is usually pretty close to what the final version will be. If you’re familiar with my work, you know I write in a stream of conscious. My characters talk and interact the way I do, because that’s how I see life. If a character thinks something, they say it. And I try to make my dialogue as natural as possible. I write how I think people actually talk, even if that, sometimes, isn’t grammatically correct.

In case you’re curious, I’m revealing for the first time that the tentative title of the book is Marty. It has nothing to do with the paranormal or ghosts of any kind. And, I promise, nothing is haunted this time around. While I recognize not everyone loved the shift in genre from my norm to the paranormal with Dudley Road, I felt it was a story I needed to tell. But, don’t worry, we won’t be going down that route again!

I’m hoping to have the last third of the first draft of Marty done by the end of July. It’ll still be a while to get through additional drafts, beta readers, artwork, editing, etc. etc. etc. But, all progress is good progress!

A Slight Hiccup

A little over a week ago, I was on a bike ride, just up the street in the center of town. The light at the intersection was red, so I did what I always do. I rode up as far as I could, alongside the cars, in the space between the car and the curb.

Normally I can get up to the light and wait for it to turn green with the first car in line.

This time, the light turned green when I was about five or six cars back. I had just approached the rear passenger door of — what I think I correctly call as — a dark green Grand Cherokee. As they sped up, for some reason, the drive moved slightly to the right and clipped my front tire with their rear bumper.

I fell headfirst onto the pavement, landing partly on my head, partly on my shoulder.

I was stunned, literally, for a minute, before I could stand up. I shook it off, but I knew I was hurt. The guys in the work van behind me asked if I needed a ride, but I thought I was okay.

Once I got off the road, I called my wife, but couldn’t get in touch with her. Then I called my sister-in-law, who works for the fire department in our town, which was just up the road. She came and got me and brought me back to the fire station, where the EMTs gave me a once over. I filed a report with them, then went over to the police station and filed a report there, as well.

Sister-in-law drove me home, and the pain got worse, so I went for x-rays with my wife.

I fractured my collarbone and a rib. Which, if you’ve ever done yourself, you know is one of those “we can’t do anything, just wait for it to heal, here’s some Tylenol” injuries.

This happens on Tuesday the 16th. Until today, I could not raise my left arm above my shoulder without blinding pain. It’s prevented me from being able to write anything in the last week and a half.

But, that said, I’m typing this, now. So there’s no excuse to not get back at it and finish up this first draft. I’ll be a little behind the completely arbitrary schedule I made up for myself, but that’s fine. And, hopefully, I’ll feel back to 100% soon. And also, hopefully, won’t be terrified to go back out on my bike again.

On to the Next!

I’ve found myself with an abundance of free time, so what else to do other than start my next book, right?

Dudley Road has been selling better than I imagined it would, the reviews are mostly very positive, and it’s helped the sales of my other two books, as well. Overall I’ve been very happy with how that’s all going. Could I be marketing better? Sure. But that’s not something I’m good at.

With that said, I’ve started my next book today. I had the idea for it a couple of months ago — which trumped all of my other existing “new book ideas” notes — and decided today was the day to get started on it.

I wrote for about 3 hours this morning and knocked out the first five scenes, clocking in at a first-day writing total of 5,465 words. Not too shabby for the first day.

I didn’t set myself any specific goals around word count, timelines, etc. I just want to write and see where the story takes me. I told myself that this time I’d plan it out and be organized with character backstories and plot summaries and everything that organized writers do. But I can’t. I’m what they call a pantser (as in “fly by the seat of your pants”) and I love that I write that way. It’s how my brain works best.

As I get further into the book, I’ll disclose more about it via my blog here, as well as my social media. But so far, so good.

Thanks to all of you who picked up a copy of Dudley Road. It means the world to me to have the support of people who’ve been with me since A Sour Chord came out nine years ago. Hopefully there isn’t as big of a delay between Dudley Road and the next book as there was between A Sour Chord and My Last Days. But that’s a story for another time. Thanks again!