News Progress Post

Progress Report 2023 Week 48

I’ve noticed a trend that might throw off my estimated page length for The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Firebreak — but that might turn out to be a good thing. I received the beta reader’s feedback from Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities. Is that good or bad from the perspective of the book’s future? And finally, how many Real Life Family Events (RLFEs) or Real Life Work Events (RLWEs) struck this week? Let’s look at the numbers before we explore these questions!

Progress Report 2023 Week 48 By the Numbers

I almost hit 10,000 words this week — which really isn’t bad, considering!

I added about two or three chapters this week to The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Firebreak. Considering we had two RLFEs (and one was Thanksgiving), that’s not too bad. When I can force time to write, the story’s coming together. The characters are moving forward, and the plot’s threading together better than I expected. I’m still finding it a little tough going, but in a good way: I’m trying to be more aware of the demands the story places on me and how the story looks to the reader. I want to get it right!

Fewer POVs Mean More Depth

The six books of Evolution’s Hand each had six primary points of view. I liked the scope of telling a story at that level. That said, I know all approaches have their pros and cons. A con to six POVs, at least with my approach, is that the story tends to be higher-level. I feel like I skim over some details that I might otherwise like delve into. But with Evolution’s Hand averaging about 156,000 words per book, I didn’t want to go into too much more detail!

I noticed that whereas I’d average 1 to 1 1/2 chapters per major plot point in Evolution’s Hand, The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Firebreak is coming in a 2 to 2 1/2. It feels right, given the number of POVs (three). The characters seem to demand that much detail. I guess the real test will be in how the readers react to it!

I’d love to be able to take the parts of my subconscious that insist all’s well and convert them to elements of conscious deliberation. I think I’d like to understand the creative process better!

Beta Reader Report on Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities

I’ll be honest with you. Split Infinities opens a completely new direction for the series. With two books left (Split Infinities and Unnatural Crypsis), I needed to establish one more aspect of my prime universe: the existence of perpendicular universes and added details about how the unseen villains introduced in Blind Exodus interact with those perpendicular universes. It was very different from what came before. And I was terrified at the reaction it would provoke.

Split Infinities introduced characters that look like the characters from Uma Musume: Pretty Derby. In fact, two of the main characters are based on Rice Shower and Ikuno Dictus. Everything felt right as I wrote it. But I’m not the reader, am I? I felt more anxious about how the beta readers would react to Split Infinities than I did about Evolution’s Hand Book 1: Executive Orders.

So, how did one beta reader react? Here’s a quote.

“I loved this latest installment—it absolutely blows the top off the uppermost range of the tension around the success of the Sirius Project and the danger that Earth is in.”

It’s hard to describe how cool it is when a reader enjoys your characters.

It’s hard to describe how amazing it feels to read a beta report, where the beta reader understood the story and discussed the characters in detail. It’s an affirmation, you know? I should probably be at the point in my career where I’m in “steely-eyed missile man” mode. But I’ll tell you what: seeing that someone enjoyed my writing, and — even better! — describe why, is one of the best feelings in the world.

On top of that, the beta readers were able to point out areas that needed a bit of touch-up paint. Now, if I could just figure out this marketing thing!

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

Here’s how I did against last week’s goals:

  1. Finish Luisa Brunner’s Pitch 1: Done! I had thought it would be a single chapter, but it extended into two.
  2. Finish Owen Payne’s Plot Turn 1: Done!
  3. Finish Owen Payne’s Pinch 1 Part 1: Started!
  4. Start Owen Payne’s Pinch 1 Part 2: Not started! Instead, I moved Malhotra’s Plot Turn 1 Part 2 up in the beats.
  5. Evaluate Executive Action Book 5: Split Infinities’ beta feedback: Done!

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2023 Week 48

Here’s what I hope to accomplish this week:

  1. Finish Owen Payne’s Pinch 1
  2. Finish Malhotra’s Pinch 1
  3. Finish Owen Payne’s Midpoint
  4. Finish one other chapter — the plots are intertwining to the point I’m not sure which will happen next
  5. Evaluate the results of a BarginBooksy ad and a Fussy Librarian ad

What Do You Think?

What’s your favorite part of the pre-publishing workflow? Writing? Receiving beta (or editor) feedback? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!