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Progress Report 2023 Week 52

If you celebrate this holiday, Merry Christmas! You might be wondering why I’m writing this on a holiday. Well, if you’ve read Stephen King’s book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, then you’ll know that he, too, often writes on holidays — or did when he wrote that book. I consider myself in good company! But to be honest, I wrote because I have to write — I can’t not write. That explains the post today. But what about my goals for last week? Have I chosen a new title for The Sword of Sirius Book 1? Are the characters still off doing their own thing and taking the plot with them? Let’s take a look at the infographic first!

Progress Report 2023 Week 52 By the Numbers

You can tell there was a holiday this week. Also that no Real Life Family Events (RLFEs) or Real Life Work Events (RLWEs) attacked my schedule!

I suspect the first draft of the new novel will come in between 90,000 and 95,000. The average word count of the first five books of Evolution’s Hand was 161,600 words, so this is considerable shorter. That’s by design. I’m not exactly writing to market, but I’m not exactly not writing to market, either. I’m using the tropes of military science fiction and space opera, and the book is an appropriate size for those markets. But I think my adaption of the tropes is different enough that it will either repulse the audience or delight them.

I’m hoping for the latter! I guess we’ll know when I publish it! Before that, though, I need to finish it. If I can keep up my current pace, that should happen around the middle of January 2024.

What About Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities and Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis?

Changing jobs introduced a lot more chaos in my life than I expected. Most of that chaos revolves around health insurance, pay periods (specifically, how the new periods interact with the old), and changes in time allocation. The latter I can handle. I’m working through the first two. I think should have those things sorted out within two weeks, or around the time I finish writing the new book.

But if you’re curious (and thanks if you are!), here’s the current status of the last two books in Evolution’s Hand:

  • Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities: As you know, the beta read is complete. I’m now waiting on the proof read, which I should get back by New Years. If I do, I’ll order a cover, get it formatted, and maybe even publish it by the end of January, 2024.
  • Evolution’s Hand Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis: It’s waiting for a second draft (or third draft, depending on how you count it). If I finish the new book before I get time to begin Unnatural Crypsis’ next draft, it’ll be the first time I have two book in that stage at the same time. I’ll try to publish this book in late spring/early summer.

Right now, I plan to end Evolution’s Hand at Unnatural Crypsis. With that book, I’ll have introduced the foundation of my fictional world. That includes the main characters, institutions, and broad concepts. It will likely be the world in which I write subsequent series. Again, that’s how I see it right now.

New Title for The Sword of Sirius Book 1

With the help of my trusted advisors (i.e., my wife and daughter), I’ve settled on a new title for The Sword of Sirius Book 1. I present to you the new title, along with the other two titles in the trilogy so you can see it in context:

  • The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Red Flag Warning
  • The Sword of Sirius Book 2: Collapse Zone
  • The Sword of Sirius Book 3: Firebreak

I hope the theme is obvious, but not too obvious. It’s not a fire-fighting series, after all! But I used imagery from that subject to give the titles some unity. I hope the series title makes it clear this is science fiction. I’ll make sure that the covers reinforce that idea!

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

Here were my goals from last week, along with whether I hit them:

The characters continue to exert more influence on the plot than in previous novels I’ve written. That’s a reflection of fewer POVs bouncing more intensely off each other. I like it! This is how the new book looks as of publishing this post.

  1. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Beat 13, which is post Midpoint and pre-Pinch 2 (thought come to think of it, beta 13 might actually be her Pinch 2): Done!
  2. Finish Luisa Brunner’s Midpoint: Substituted! Instead of her Midpoint, I had to write an intermediary chapter leading up to her Midpoint.
  3. Write another Malhotra chapter (I think; see #1): Done!
  4. Finish Owen Payne’s Plot Turn 2: Done!
  5. Make a final decision on the title for The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Done! The first book is now called Red Flag Warning.

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2023 Week 52

Here’s what I hope to accomplish this week:

  1. Write Ira Malhotra’s Pinch 2 Part 1
  2. Write Luisa Brunner’s Midpoint
  3. Write Ira Malhotra’s Pinch 2 Part 2
  4. Write Luisa Brunner’s Pinch 2
  5. Write Owen Payne’s Pre-Resolution Chapter
  6. Receive the proof edit for Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities

What Do You Think?

Do you like the new title, The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Red Flag Warning? Do you like the titles of series to carry a theme, or does that not matter to you? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!

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