Many of you might have noticed that there’s been a pretty big gap – comparatively – between books being posted. With June 1 being the scheduled release date for Book 4, that is nearly 5 months between each book, which is quite different than the 2 – 3 months before.
The simple reason is writer’s block. For me, what happens is that I get doubtful about what I’m writing, uncertain of where the story is going or where it should go. Even if I have a rough idea, I find it difficult to keep writing.
In those cases, what happens is that I start procrastinating. Mostly by reading. Which means a lot of LitRPG authors (and some wushia authors) have gotten a bunch of money from me in the last few months 🙂
But it does make me think that sometimes, we try to push out books too fast. I actually have recently had a bit more of a brekathrough on the book, so things have been flowing a lot better. However, if I had pushed it, I think the book itself would have been a lot worse than what it will be.
Sometimes, I think we try to push out books too fast. There are numerous (financial) incentives to keep pushing a book out every month, but I’d rather slowdown a bit and put out a better book.
Also, I actually want to enjoy my life outside of writing 😛
Book 3 – the last book in the series for a while – of the Adventures on Brad is now out.
There are a number of reasons I’ve pulled the series to a close. Among them is the fact that this is a great stopping point, where there’s a little bit of hope and curiosity but the arc is now over and done with.
However, another major reason is recent considerations about how I write and writing formats.
I call the Adventures on Brad my light novel inspired series. Each book is short and more slice-of-life than ‘plot’ driven, a meandering look at the characters. While many light novels have plots, they also take these long slice-of-life looks at the characters.
In addition, when I wrote A Healer’s Gift (and to some extent, An Adventurer’s Heart), I posted the books on Royal Road, chapter by chapter. I’d sit down, write a full chapter, post it and do it again a few days / a day later. With the structure of specific daily chapters in mind, my writing styled itself to keep each chapter somewhat self-contained.
When writing A Dungeon’s Soul, I wrote the entire book as I do normally these days, picking up from scene to scene, trying to work a plot into it without drifting into random chapters. I think it worked, but it started drifting I think from the initial light novel aspect, with less time with the characters individually.
Unfortunately, between RL jobs and writing at least 1 other series, being able to focus and write a chapter here or there didn’t seem to work anymore. However, looking back, I think the entire series actually benefits from the ‘start and stop’ style, at least if I want to keep it to the same ‘feel’.
You see this as well in the way certain novels are written. The Wandering Inn, is very much a webserial. It meanders, wanders around and does a ton of slice-of-life things and flashbacks, switching POVs constantly and having a slow moving ‘plot’. Then again, it’s a web-serial. Buying into the serial is buying into the idea that you’ve got years to finish this. The medium changes the format of writing.
A ‘novel’ is often self-contained, with a common ‘Western’ beginning, middle and end. It requires significanltly different structuring. Which is something I find a bit more difficult to do with the Adventures on Brad.
I have a bad habit of head-hopping. It’s funny really – head hopping used to be very prevalent in older books but these days is strongly discouraged. Unfortunately, I often find myself doing that while writing and partly it’s because I limited myself to Daniel’s POV when I started the series.
When I pick up the series again, I probably will shift from a limited POV of Daniel for the entire book to shifting POVs for specific scenes to Asin & Omrak. It’d help to make the book a little more interesting I think.
All of this is my way of saying that the series is going on hiatus. Sort-of. What I’ll probably do is write in it once in a while when inspiration strikes me, adding a chapter here and there till I have a ‘book’. When that happens, I’ll be ready to publish, but it probably will take some time.
This will allow the series to continue in its rambling ways without putting too much pressure on ‘when’ it gets released. It’ll also let me play around with the POVs and format a bit.
Book 3 (titled A Dungeon’s Soul) is mostly done. I’m having one last Beta Read on the book because I’m too close to the book to tell if it’s good. If it comes back good, I’ll release the book soon after. If not, I might have to revise the book significantly.
On another note, Book 3 is going to be the ‘end’ of the Adventures on Brad series for a bit. I’m going to put the series to bed while I work on a different series / concept in the LitRPG genre.
I will likely return to the series at some point, but I just want to transition to trying something else. So Book 3 will be the last book in that universe for a little bit.
Book 3 is 2/3 done right now. It’s at about 60k words or so, with one more major section to write and then the ending / conclusion. Surprisingly, this book might actually end up being slightly ‘smaller’ than the previous books. At this rate, it’ll probably end up around 80k words instead of the 90k words previous books have been. Not that I’m trying to hit a word count, just curious.
It’s also very different from Books 1 and 2, so hopefully you guys will like it.
The exclusive short-story for Lana is written as I’ve mentioned before. I haven’t had time / mental space to do an edit so it’s sitting on my desktop. Sorry. It’ll get done before the end of the year, but editing is a different headspace (for me) than writing and between writing and my RL job, I just haven’t had time to get it sorted.
Had a few questions and comments about the System Apocalypse after Book 2 was released. One comment I’ve seen is that Book 2 was more of a ‘filler’ book, which seems strange to me. I guess what people are looking for is somewhat different than what I envision(ed). Here’s roughly what I’m working on:
Arc 1 (First Trilogy)
Introduction of the System to Earth and basically takes place in 1 year.
Book 1 basically sets the scene and deals with John’s response to it. Book 2 is a coming of age for John and a realisation of what he is and what he needs to do. It also continues to play out the changes including the Dungeons and Swarms.
Book 3 has the world shaping up to what it will eventually be with high level zones established, big nasty monsters running around and the conclusion of the Whitehorse arc.
Arc 2 (Second Trilogy)
By the way, everything from this point on is nebulous. I’m a panster not a plotter, so everything I have here is rough ideas.
The three books (and this might easily be more!) in this arc cover Earth. I tenatively have Canada & North America to be dealt with in Book 1 (it might be book 2 for the US actually) so there’ll be timeskips and time compression galore
Book 2 or 3 will cover a wider range of areas and continents. We’ll definitely see what happens in Europe & Asia, and we might see a big timeskip as Earth slowly redefines itself along with humanity.
Arc 3 (Third Trilogy)
This arc basically takes us out of Earth and into the wider Galactic scene. We finally see some of the other worlds that have been hinted at and will basically conclude John’s journey.
A word of caution
Now, I call them trilogy’s because I like writing in 3’s. These arcs are also a bit more malleable since I expect I’ll be time skipping a lot more in Arcs 2 and 3.
Tentatively, what I’ll probably do is write the entire series as best I can in the above arcs and then fill in the blanks later., Part of it is that writing the same thing for each city will get repetitive, and if there’s an interesting plot for a city, it might take up a whole book. Rather than derail the overall arcs, I might hold off on writing that and skip pass to write that plot as an individual ‘stand alone’ book later.
That being said – ‘pantser’. I might have an overall idea of what each scenario / book / theme is going for, but the eventual book is often different from what I planned. Often better too.
Now, before anyone asks. Book 3 is being written right now. I’m about 15% done. It is VERY unlikely to be out before end of the year since my day job gets very busy during this period. Expect it maybe February?
I’d like to write a short story or two that’s exclusive for our newsletter readers. On that note, what would you like to see? Options that come to mind are:
An Asin (Tales on Brad) side story
A Lara (System Apocalypse) side story
A Roxley (System Apocalypse) side story
I considered and have actually decided against writing the background of what happened to the poor ambassador on Earth. There are a few reasons:
I want to keep a little mystery in the universe
I’m deathly afraid of a prequel mess-up. Literally anything I write will not be as good as what you had in mind. I know I was incredibly disappointed when the prequels came out because for me, the Clone Wars were this huge, amazing battle that happened hundreds of years ago. Then we got the prequels. And somehow, the magic was lost. While I’m not writing Star Wars, sometimes, the reader’s imaginations are better than anything we can write.
Leave a comment for what you’d like to see. I do not promise the stories would be written anytime soon… but they will be written.
Let me start by pointing out that this is my process, not others. However, currently this is the way a book for me is created along with the timelines of development.
I generally put together a rough plot outline. This is actual writing time to put it on paper. By the time I’m ready to write a plot outline, I’ve got a shaky idea of what is going to happen already. However, writing it down often crystalizes my thoughts. I’m an exploratory writer though, so what is written in a plot outline and what ends up on paper can be quite different.
2,000 words a day
I write approximately 2,000 words a day if I’m focused. For the System Apocalypse books, each book is roughly 90,000 words. That works out to about 45 days of straight writing. At best, that’s a month and a half if I don’t hit any writing blocks.
Taking a small break lets me re-read the book fresh. Often, I’ll be editing or writing a new book during this period. This break lets my brain ‘reset’ and find gaps in the plot to fill in or to review the second draft.
Approx 5,000 words a day
For 90k words, that’s approximately 18 days. 5k words is actually a bit conservative here, I often end up getting obesses with fixing things and do more.
I give my Beta Readers 2 weeks to check out the book. The last time, they all came back to me within 4 days. Good beta readers are so important – they can tell me if I’m doing something really silly with the plot. Or they find plot holes for things I forgot about.
Revising 2nd Draft
2 – 3 days
Often, there’s a few scenes that need to be brushed up or new scenes to write. Redeemer of the Dead saw me writing 2 new scenes from comments and rewriting about another half-dozen
Variable. Often 2-3 weeks minimum
At this point, I’m ready to send it to my editor. I do NOT use a development editor at this time (who offers professional critique of the book’s plot / etc.). Mostly, they are doing line editing and proof-reading. I have to book editors weeks in advance, sometimes months. In Redeemer of the Dead’s case, it’ll take about a month from when they are booked to start
Again, this is variable. The editor comes back with fixes, I go through the document and fix issues. Depending on the level of editing (and who I’m using), I might get notes about scenes that need fixing which means I’ll be writing new scenes or fixing older scenes.
Now, there are a bunch of things that can happen in-between:
Alpha readers might be brought in. Sometimes, as a writer you have no idea if you’re on the right course. Alpha readers who end up reading a REALLY rough draft get to check that
Developmental Editing is an option that happens after the First Draft (or perhaps even during the course of the book). I don’t do that because I’m poor and paying $0.08 per word would make the book cost US$7,000 before it was even published.
Multiple readthroughs / edits for the 1st / 2nd draft might occur. I occasionally pull out the book before I send it to the editor for more fixing. Often this is to fix phrasing / clumsy sentence construction.
Writer’s block & burn-out. Yeah, writing at this pace can be a lot. So taking a few dysy off happens. Sometimes I run away and spend a weekend reading and with the family.
Work! I do have a day-job and if that eats up my time / energy, writing slows down.
You can see how writing really varies depending on length of book and inspiration.