News Progress Post

Progress Report 2023 Week 50

I might have to rethink how I state my goals from week to week: The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Firebreak has a different plot construction than the books in Evolution’s Hand, and it’s throwing off my projections. That said, I think I have an idea about what to do. Also, I’ve come up with some new working titles for The Sword of Sirius Book 2 and The Sword of Sirius Book 3. I hope they capture your imagination! But before we talk about any of that, let’s look at the numbers for the week.

Progress Report 2023 Week 50 By the Numbers

The word count isn’t quite the accomplishment it appears!

At first glance, 14,546 words written is way over my target of 10,000 words. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m on vacation this week, so that represents an extra day of writing. I won’t complain, though, because The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Firebreak is now north of 50,000 words! Given my target is 80,000 to 100,000 words, it looks like I’m more than halfway done.

The Sword of Sirius’ Different Structure

I underestimated the impact changing from six POV characters to three POV characters would have on word count. When I first started writing this book, I thought it would cut the run length roughly in half. I mentioned a few posts ago that it looks like this book like be two thirds the length of something like Evolution’s Hand Book 4: Blind Exodus — instead of half the length. That’s going to make the book a little longer than I’d hoped (probably closer to 100,000 instead of 80,000), but that’s cool — the book will be however long the book will be.

It’s a good learning experience. I’m not exactly writing The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Firebreak to market. But, it’s a step in that direction compared to Evolution’s Hand. Learning the interaction of number of arcs to word count will be a useful thing if I decide to target a specific word count.

I think the difference boils down to six arcs forcing me to take a higher-level view of the plot and action. If I started drilling down into each character in a six arc book, it might top 300,000 words — which would be a bit much. I’m not Alastair Reynolds or Peter F. Hamilton, after all!

On the other hand, a three POV book almost demands more attention to the key characters. Also, I’ve had the luxury of throwing in a purely plot-driven POV from time to time — someone who’s related to the POV characters, but who does not have an arc themselves. It fit well, and it gave me some latitude in terms of how I told the story.

Evolution’s Hand’s books had a roughly one-to-one relationship of beat to chapter. Here, it’s more like 2 or 3 chapters per beat, especially for Owen Payne.

I’m really interested to see how readers react to Firebreak, especially in comparison to something like Evolution’s Hand Book 1: Executive Action.

Still Working on Titles for The Sword of Sirius

I’m still working on titles for the new series. I still like The Sword of Sirius Book 2: Collapse Zone and The Sword of Sirius Book 3: Firebreak as the titles for the second and third books. But the title for the first still eludes me. Titles like Deflagration capture the spirit but not the sound. Blitz Line is closer, but it still doesn’t sound right. I like Accelerant, but there are a lot of books with that title, and some appear to be in the same genre I’m writing in.

So now you know some examples of what The Sword of Sirius Book 1 won’t be called. Maybe by next week I’ll have a better idea of what it will be called!

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

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

  1. Finish Owen Payne’s Midpoint Part 2: Done!
  2. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Midpoint: Started; part two is pending and will share the spotlight with an extra Owen Payne chapter or two
  3. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Pinch 2: Not started
  4. Start Luisa Brunner’s Midpoint: Not started; replaced by a fourth part of her Pinch 1 (which I didn’t expect)
  5. Continue Brainstorming the new title of The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Done! And it will continue into the next week.

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2023 Week 50

Here’s what I hope to accomplish this week:

  1. Complete Ira Malhotra’s Midpoint
  2. Complete Owen Payne’s Midpoint
  3. Complete Luisa Brunner’s Midpoint
  4. Start Owen Payne’s Pinch 2
  5. Continue Brainstorming the new title of The Sword of Sirius Book 1

What Do You Think?

Do you write to market? Do you just follow your muse wherever it leads? Take some hybrid approach? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!