Updated: Aug 14, 2019
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Hello from Iowa,
It's a steamy July here on the river. I've spent most of my day at my desk, working on a revision of the next Horizon Cycle book. That's book 5, for those of you who are counting. It's been a long time coming, but I'm making progress. Of course, it's slower than I would like.
Every writer has their own process. I'm what they call a "pantser". That means I don't outline prior to writing the first draft. Usually, a story comes to me and I write it down as quickly as I can. I once managed to write a 120,000 word story in a little over two weeks. That was a personal record for me, but even when I'm not writing at quite that speed, I still write quickly. As they say in the writing world, "Write hot. Edit cold."
When inspiration comes, I seize it and follow it through to the end. When the muse knocks, I don't stop to think about terrible grammar or implausible plot points, I just get it down on paper. After it's written, then begins the real work. Editing.
Editing is where I believe so many writers lose their way. Whether the writer finished their first draft in two weeks or two years or two decades, the flushed glow of "having written" is swiftly replaced by the hard, cold reality of revision. It's a bit like trading the bliss of new romance for the daily ho-hum of a long-term relationship.
Editing does not simply mean running the draft through spell check or even having your best friend read it to point out that on page 23 your character was wearing a red sweater whereas on page 52 the sweater was green. If only it were that simple. No, it means countless read-thrus by betas and editors, it means me going through all of their notes, word by word. And yet somehow, typos still get through! It's maddening.
What does this have to do with you, dear reader? Why everything. It's the entire reason I've started this little vault.
I've written countless first drafts on my journey to publication. Some of them will never see the light of day, and for good reason. Several have made the rounds with my beta readers, but at the end of the day, they simply languished in my proverbial drawer. Over the years, I've had my betas bring them up from time to time. "Hey, when are you going to get back to that one story...?"
Sadly, being a pantser, revision takes me quite a long time. Perhaps if I plotted things out beforehand, my drafts wouldn't require so much attention post-creation. I've attempted to alter my process many times, believe me, but... old habits, as they say.
Naturally, I'm an introvert. I find small talk exhausting. Every moment I'm on social media or catching up on the latest Netflix release, I'm chastising myself for wasting time. I only have one life and I know, without a doubt, that I'm meant to spend as much of it as I can writing. So, it's been difficult for me to find ways to reach out to my readers.
As far as I'm concerned, the best thing I can do for readers is write more books. But I realize how incredibly slow that process is. And while my family and friends have been wildly supportive of the amount of time I invest in this work, not to mention that I have a full-time job outside of writing, real-life demands further diminish my output.
Nevertheless, I wanted in some small way to give to my readers, even while you wait for the next published book. And so, I'm dusting off some old computer files and publishing them here, chapter by chapter.
They are purely first drafts. They haven't been through the rigors of multiple revisions and editing passes. A part of me cringes to think of how rough they are. That same part of me is frantic at the thought of releasing these drafts into the world, even in a limited capacity. But I have the singular reassurance that my beta readers have enjoyed these stories, as unpolished as they are.
All I can hope is that they bring you a little break from your daily stresses. Please know that I'm sharing them with you as a small token of my appreciation for your support and readership. I'm deeply grateful to each and every one of you, my readers.