Perhaps that’s not the best title for a blog post, but it’s true. The end is, in fact, near.

The end of the first draft of My Last Days, that is. If all goes according to plan, I should finish this week and start my first round of edits either this weekend or early next week.

I’m really excited about it and think that it came together quite nicely, though I fear it’s going to need quite a bit of editing. When I write, I tend to just go and go and go without thinking too much. Sometimes that works in my favor, sometimes it means I have a lot of word chopping and scene re-arranging to do.

The story, as a whole, really works. I think I can say that honestly without any bias. But I think there’s some reworking that needs to happen and some more emotions that need to be put into the story near the beginning and middle (the bits I wrote in late 2013.) When I picked it back up again this year, I had a really good sense of where I was going, so I think that helped me stay on the right track.

I’m really stoked to finish this up and get on to the second draft. I hope you’ll check it out when I’m done! In the meantime, grab a copy of A Sour Chord if you haven’t already. It’s on sale everywhere for just .99 cents and that’s a bargain you can’t beat!

Now that A Sour Chord is fully done and for sale in the various market places, I’ve decided to put off all of the other real-world tasks that I have to complete and get back to work on My Last Days.

Last week I started re-reading everything I’d written so far, so I can be familiar with my characters again, as well as the story lines I’d written. I probably could have skipped this process, but it’s actually pretty beneficial for a few reasons. Primarily because I’ve already found mistakes and inconsistencies in the first draft, but also because I’m getting back into the head of my main character, which is important for this particular work.

My goal is to finish reading the last 40 pages by Wednesday and get back to writing later in the week or early next.

This is such a fun journey and one that I’m glad that I’m able to do without very much effort or money. (Though, let’s be honest, I spent more than I thought I would on A Sour Chord, but that was worth it.)

I’m shooting to finish the first draft, first round of edits and a second draft by the end of the summer before turning it over to an editor. Then, this time, I’ll do a bigger group of beta readers than I did with A Sour Chord. Hopefully that’ll spark more interest.

I’m also hopeful that a second book will inherently draw more attention than the first anyway, now that I’m not an “unknown” anymore.

If you grabbed a copy of A Sour Chord, thank you! If not, it’s still on sale for 99 cents through the end of June across all platforms. Grab a copy before the sale ends and read it whenever you’d like. Once it’s yours, it’s yours! Also, if you have grabbed a copy, thank you so much. I hope you enjoy it enough to leave a review on the site you purchased from. I’d love that very much!

I didn’t realize it had been so long since I’d updated the progress blog here.  Over the last three weeks, a bit has changed with things.

My new (wonderful) editor, Lauren, sent me her initial feedback earlier in this month, which I’ve read at least half a dozen times by now.  I agreed on most of what she said and will work a lot of her feedback into the story as we go through the (hopefully) final rewrite in the next month or two.

In order to get back into the mindset of A Sour Chord, I’ve ceased working on My Last Days.  Not for good, just so that I can get my mind back into that of my characters from A Sour Chord.  I don’t know of many (if any) authors that write two books at the same time and it’s probably because it’s so difficult to jump back and forth between sets of characters, stories, locations, etc.

As of now, I’m waiting on Lauren to start sending me detailed feedback on a chapter-by-chapter basis.  That’ll allow me to go through and either edit or flat-out rewrite parts of the book to get to the goal that we’re setting out for the ending.  The overall ending won’t change (I stood my ground on that, despite her recommendation to change it), but the story that gets us there will change a little bit.

What I’ve learned during the editing process

  • It’s difficult to find an editor — I didn’t factor cost into this at all, I’d gladly have spent whatever it took to find someone that I felt would take this seriously — despite just being something I’m doing on a whim.  I counted my emails and I emailed back and forth with 15 editors before finding something that I felt took me seriously enough to want to do the project. Many of them were either outrageous in their pricing, didn’t want to offer me a sample edit (why would you pay someone when you don’t know what their style of editing is?), or said they’d get back to me and never did.  A very frustrating process.
  • Go with your gut — if an editor comes across as pushy or difficult during this process, they’re probably going to be pushy or difficult to work with too.  I’m glad I didn’t go with a handful of them that were really unpleasant via their emails.
  • It takes a long time — I finished writing the book nearly six months ago, hoping to have it published by now.  It’s left me feeling somewhat defeated that I missed my own (admittedly completely arbitrary) goal.  Having friends read it and give me their input as well as the actual editing process has been mentally draining, but hopefully worth it in the long run.

From here, the final edit/draft will be completed. The cover will be designed. The book will be on sale.         And hopefully, just hopefully, at least a couple of people will buy it.

Then I’ll finish My Last Days and start this whole horrible process all over again.

word-countOver the last three weeks, I’ve been chugging away at My Last Days, trying to get through the first draft.  You can see the recent word count history there on the right.  A couple of big days early on, but I’ve been slowing and missing days due to “real life” getting in the way.  It’s been a busy month for me and I’m just now getting back to writing every day.

I’m about 40% done now and am finding it more difficult than it was to get through A Sour Chord’s first draft.  Maybe because I had already known how that one would end and what all the main plot points were since I wrote the short story so long ago.  With My Last Days, I’m honestly making it up as I go along.

My goal is to hit 100,000 words with the first draft, though I think I’ll probably end up closer to 80,000 when I’ve written all that I think the story needs.  I may try to push it a little bit, though. If the editing process is anything like A Sour Chord’s first edit, I’ll lose a few thousand words that get cut out during that process, so I think I’m shooting for more so the end result is a more readable book that doesn’t feel too short.

I wrote another 1,502 words this morning in a single chapter and have planned out the next three chapters to help me through the rest of this week.  I realize that at some point I’ll have to go back through and re-think the entire story, its meaning, and organize the chapters into a more sensical order.  Right now I think I’m just writing haphazardly to get the words out onto the paper.

I wonder if other authors struggle with their second book more than their first.  I’d imagine so.  I think most people that write have a big idea for their first novel and power through it and then get to the second and hope they have as good of an idea as their first.

On the A Sour Chord front, editing continues there.  My editor, Lauren, is working through her first edit and then will go back and do a full line-by-line edit, and probably hate every sentence I’ve written, but hey, that’s what you pay an editor for!

I’m behind my own personal schedule with having A Sour Chord available, but that’s due to my ignorance on how this whole process works.  I thought I could power through it more quickly than was really possible. I’m learning a lot as I’m going through things and am thankful that my life leads me the opportunities to not only learn this process, but to follow through with it.

More updates coming soon and hopefully a sample chapter (once we have a final draft of one!) will go up on the site as soon as possible.  Thanks for checking in!

It didn’t occur to me until I just typed the title of this post that both of my first two books have three word titles.  Completely unintentional, I assure you.

Since my last update, a number of things have happened. So let’s catch you up, shall we?

  • I launched this here website.  It’s not entirely finished as a lot of the behind the scenes stuff that I built is relying on the first book being done and for sale.
  • I finally found an editor that I’ve hired to do the final edit before the book can go on sale.  Turns out one of my good buddy’s fiance is getting her Master’s in Creative Writing, so that’s a good fit.  I look forward to being done with that process — the whole editing part has been my least favorite so far.
  • I’ve made progress on the second book — My Last Days — which I’m 25,000+ words into.  You can see the progress of the word count there on the right in the progress bar (along with the progress bar on A Sour Chord.)

What’s next on my agenda?

  • Finish the edit for A Sour Chord
  • Have the cover art designed
  • Publish the book and hope someone buys it (other than my mom.)
  • Continue working on My Last Days and repeat the process.

Is it wrong or am I insane that I already have an idea for the next book after My Last Days?  I keep coming up with these ideas of stories that I knew or told or heard when I was younger and think they’d make good books.  Since this whole process is rather easy, I figure why not? I’m in my 30s now and have the time and resources to do it, so why not be an author?  I may not be the next Stephen King or J. K. Rowling, but I’m doing the best I can!