News Progress Post

Progress Report 2024 Week 22

I have good news and bad news regarding progress writing The Sword of Sirius Book 3: Firebreak. I’ll give you a hint: it’s almost done! That’s the good news. The bad news? About that… Also, I think I’ve selected what series I want to write next. The problem is that I’m not sure how to box it. I might take Dean Wesley Smith’s advice to answer that question. Before we talk about those things, let take a glance at the key performance indicators.

Last Week’s Progress By the Numbers

The Monday Reclamation Project seems to be helping with word count!

A few weeks ago, I talked about how I tried moving the time it takes to write this post from Monday to Sunday night. Since I did that, not only did I exceed 10,000 words a week, which was my previous target. I’ve hovered around 15,000. In other words, it looks like the switch is helping!

If all goes well, I might finish the first draft of Firebreak this week. That means I’ll have finished all three books in this trilogy. Before pushing the trilogy, I need to:

  1. For The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Red Flag Warning
    • Complete one more draft (read aloud and ProWritingAid)
    • Send the manuscript to a beta reader
    • Incorporate their feedback
    • Send the manuscript to the proofreader
    • Incorporate their findings
  2. For The Sword of Sirius Book 2: Collapse Zone
    • Send it to my alpha readers
    • Incorporate their feedback
    • Complete one more draft (read aloud and ProWritingAid)
    • Send the manuscript to a beta reader
    • Incorporate their feedback
    • Send the manuscript to the proofreader
    • Incorporate their findings
    • Obtain a cover

I’ll repeat most of step 2 for Firebreak, but I think I’ll wait to work on its second draft until I write the next manuscript. I’ve found that bit of distance to help me be more objective. I think I still plan to publish all three at once, and only on Amazon’s platform. I want to see how that works.

The Next Series: A More “Pure” Set of Tropes

I had tried to make The Sword of Sirius a little closer to writing-to-market than Evolution’s Hand. Specifically, I intended to write The Sword of Sirius so it aligned with Amazon’s Science Fiction -> Military -> Space Fleet category.

I came close. But the characters took me in a direction that ignored (rather forcibly) two important tropes: a strong male lead and massive fleet-on-fleet battles. Of the three point of view (POV) characters, one was in fact a male: Owen Payne. But both fleet officers were female: Ira Malhotra as the antagonist and Luisa Brunner as the antagonist.

This next series is going to take another step or two towards market-aware tropes. I’m still working out the characters details, but Luisa Brunner is going to return. She’s a good antagonist, and I found that my theme of “There is No Level at Which Nazism is Good” is working well. I still need to cast either the single protagonist or two (if I continue the three POV structure that I used in The Sword of Sirius). To hit the tropes, one of those at least will be a male.

The second thing I want to try is more fleet-on-fleet action. I have some ideas I want to play with in terms of tactics and what-not, and I’m wondering if a more action-driven plot will be more appealing. The Sword of Sirius offered some of that, but it’s theme is different — it’s trying to dispute the saying made popular right now because of Fallout: “war never changes.”

I’m still a little surprised how close I am to finishing this book. I’m afraid to think about it too much for fear the spell will break, and I won’t be able to write anymore!

No title yet. I might channel Dean Wesley Smith and not plan it as a one, two, or ten book series. I might just let it be open. This is going to sound cryptic, because I don’t want to give anything away: I need to decide how much work I need to make for myself. It could be merely a lot; or it could be a ton. I might elect to keep it on the “merely a lot” side until I retire. That argues for an open structure.

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

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

  1. Finish the Helper Plot’s “Ungrateful Receiver” chapter: Done!
  2. Finish Luisa Brunner’s Pinch 2: Done!
  3. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Pinch 2 Part III: Done!
  4. Finish Owen Payne’s Plot Turn 2: Done!
  5. Finish the Helper Plot’s “Consolation Prize” (stretch objective): Done!

I also finished Luisa Brunner’s Plot Turn 2, which came as a surprise. Came as a shock to her, too!

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2024 Week 22

Here’s what I hope to accomplish this week:

  1. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Plot Turn 2
  2. Finish Owen Payne’s Resolution
  3. Finish Luisa Brunner’s Resolution
  4. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Resolution
  5. Incorporate the proofread edits for The Sword of Sirius Short Story: Fallback Position
  6. Begin Marketing Fallback Position as the lead magnet for my newsletter (in preparation for launching The Sword of Sirius)

Number six is actually part of the bad news I talked about in the opening. I’m historically bad at marketing. But this time around, I want to be better at it. I want to try to give The Sword of Sirius a strong launch, complete with newsletter coverage and preorders. I’m not looking forward to the effort, but I’m not going to be happy with myself if I don’t at least try.

What Do You Think?

Do you write to market? What’s that even mean to you? I’d love to hear about your thoughts in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Progress Report 2024 Week 22

  1. Hahaha! Write to market… My first series was an alternate history, vampire, zombie, Arthurian mashup. In the rewrite, I’m toning it down to just a dark fantasy with Arthurian inspirations so that might indicate that writing to market may be the better way to go. Of course, I tend to have fairly niche tastes. I like most things, but it’s the real niche stories that grab me. That makes it harder to write to market since the audience isn’t as big.

    That said, I don’t have any qualms about writing to market. I think it’s a great idea and will probably try to implement the Mark Ruffalo principal where I will alternate, using the written to market stuff to fund the passion projects that few people will like.

    1. You know, that’s a great point. “using the written to market stuff to fund the passion projects that few people will like.”
      I would like my next books to be about the Perpendicular Universes. But they’re too genre-imprecise. Maybe these Fleet/Thriller books will perform better. Over on Goodreads, the ratings for the first three books tend to be higher than the last three, even though I’m convinced I’m a better writer. I think it’s because I strayed from the implied promise of the material in the three.
      I’ll have to think about that if I package them into two trilogies…

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