March Writing Update

march writing update pen

See These Bones

Status: 65k words / ~130k projected length


For the first time in far too long, I had both the time and the motivation to get some writing done this past weekend. (2017 has been about a lot of things so far, but writing new material hasn’t been one of them.) 3.3k words doesn’t sound like a lot–largely because it’s not–but it’s still a nice jump from the zero words I’d managed in the first half of March.

See These Bones has been a challenge in a few ways:

  • a first-person perspective featuring a protagonist who is both a lot younger than I am and very damaged
  • the struggle to handle world building primarily through dialogue with other characters without having the book deteriorate into an endless sequence of talking heads
  • a cast that is 5-8 times larger than anything found in The Many Travails of John Smith

That said, when I’m not banging my head against the desk, it’s been fun to write. Where the John Smith series uses a very casual writing style, this series is slightly more lyrical, and I’m having a good time with the distinction. I’m coming up on the next significant shift in the story, and am puzzling through exactly how I’m going to communicate certain aspects of that plot point. (No spoilers!) First person perspectives are great in some ways, and a serious pain in the ass in others. We’ll see which one this ends up being!

I’m hoping to finish the first draft this summer–I’ll be taking a week off from my real job in July to presumably put the finishing touches on it–but if past performance is any indication, the actual completion date could be anywhere from May to… well… next May. Only time will tell!



I’m also slowly making progress in my efforts to self-publish the first four books of The Many Travails of John Smith. We’ve hired a cover design company and will start reviewing designs in Q3 of this year. Sometime before that point, I’ll need to do final passes on all four books so I can provide their exact page count to the design company. (Page count impacts the thickness of the book, and therefore how much space is available on the spine.)

As the first step of that process, I’m currently formatting all four manuscripts for both e-book (epub) and print formats. It’s an obvious thing in hindsight, but until about a month ago, it never occurred to me that the formats would be all that different. There’s a wealth of resources online for self-publishing, but a lot of it is tool-specific and some of the rest is already outdated, so it’s been interesting. As I get closer to self-publication, I’ll do a blog post with what’s worked (and not worked) for me.

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