Diary of a Book Coming Together: Brother In Arms

I was about two thousand words on the Brother In Arms manuscript with the intention of really hitting it hard come the new year. I started writing in earnest on the first of the month, and decided two days into it, that I really wanted to keep track of what I was doing, kind of give everyone a ‘behind the scenes’ look at what went into one of my crazy as fuck writing benders. I set a self-imposed deadline of January 14th, that’s just two weeks, to get a first draft manuscript done in the 80,000 to 90,000-word range.

Here’s what happened:

1/3/17: I’m about thirteen to fourteen thousand words, and five chapters into the story so far and am really digging it now. I have to confess, I was having a really hard time bringing this one together but I finally busted through that writer’s block and I am working as fast as I can to get it down and out to you guys. My goal is to get this one to my usual ninety to ninety-two thousand word range, so it’s going to take me a minute. I really appreciate your patience with this one. I think last year really kicked a lot of us creative types right in the ass. I’m going to get back to it, so thanks for checking in!

1/4/17: I’m easily going to cross the 20k mark today, I really feel like I should be around 40k into this book by now, but I’m cruising at a pretty decent rate of speed. The bare bones formula of this book is there and I just need to follow the bouncing ball, but still, some of the in between parts I just have to slog through. Additionally, this book is just packed with past lore and little foreshadows for other characters and their books. It’s become very dialogue heavy and there are things going on that later on, you’ll understand why they are there but it’s going to be a long wait. I can’t really do it any other way. Hopefully, this will be one of those books that for those of you that go back and reread the series you’ll have those little “ah ha!” moments for future installments and even have some “ooooohhh, that’s why he was this way or that in X book” moments for others. I’m going to get back to it. See you all tomorrow or the next day.

1/8/17: 47,080 words in and I just got done writing one of the toughest scenes in the book with more tough shit about to come. Violence affects everyone differently and when it’s as in-your-face as it just was for our heroine who has, by all accounts led a rich and sheltered life, I’m wondering if it’s too big of a hurdle I’ve just put in front of her to overcome. I suppose it’s completely dependent on how our hero handles her questions and hoo boy, are there going to be questions. The trouble is, they aren’t all questions he can answer, at least by club doctrine. It’s a tangled mess of seeing if I can keep these two true to who they are while still making enough of a compromise on both sides for them to be able to coexist. That’s a tall order when you try to keep it as real as I do. I’m going to get back to it. I need to get back to it if I’m going to hit that 92k mark by the deadline I’ve set for myself. Keep checking back here for more updates. Later!

1/10/17: 54,000 words and I’m bringing it back together and heading straight for a grand finale. Time for them to get ahead of this thing and outsmart the smart bad guys. I really wish I could say more than that, but hey, we can’t stop here! This is spoiler country! I’m really torn between finishing the writing on this and getting the waaaaaay overdue editing on another project done. I think I’m going to have to go with finishing the writing on this one so it can go off to editing then I can focus on the editing for the other project which has been nothing but a major pain in my ass. I can’t even say it was worth it, either. Until the next update! I’ll see you all sometime in the next couple of days.

1/12/17: I hate writing endings. I’m 76,000 words and some change into this book and it’s time to bring it home, but I’m trying to figure out how exactly to do that. This book has a lot of shit going on, and a lot of it doesn’t really have a satisfactory conclusion. Not for me, not for the characters, but it’s still the way it needs to be because that’s life. We don’t always end up doing what we wanted to or expect to be doing. Look at me, I went to college and got myself a degree in criminal justice. A degree that is now sitting in the corner with twenty more grand in accumulated debt for me to pay through and am I doing anything with it? No. I’m writing books. Am I way happier writing books than working in security or doing anything that actually utilizes that degree? Hell yes, but it wasn’t what I expected I would be doing with my life… and so it is with Bailey, which is really throwing her for a mental loop because she’s stuck in this place between being happy for once in her life and feeling guilty about that happy because it isn’t what she feels like she was supposed to be doing. I have around 14,000 words for her to see the light and get to steppin’ but it’s really easier said than done when she’s being all stubborn about it. Just goes to show, I can think these characters up, give them life, but man! Do they like taking that shit and running with it… Oh, well. Tomorrow is a new day, I’ll tackle it then and see if I can get this sucker done.

1/14/17: The book’s first draft is done and off to the beta readers as of last night. I’m sweating it out, too because it’s way too short for my liking at only 81,000 words. I’ve already gotten some preliminary feedback and it’s good stuff. I have no doubts I’ll be able to add to it and flesh it out, so we’ll see how that goes. I hate this part of the process, it’s almost as nerve-wracking as release day for the finished product.

1/16/17: I love Mondays. I’m probably crazy, but they’re traditionally one of my more productive days of the week. A major inconsistency was discovered by way of a massive POV shift mid-chapter by one of my beta readers yesterday which was excellent. It spawned a whole new chapter in the book, which I was grateful for because it allowed me to clear up some issues another beta had with some character development. I added around 2.7k words to the story which makes this feel more like the quality of length I’m used to producing for you guys. Today I start the reread and get into the heavy rewrites on Brother in Arms. Let’s see how much I add, shall we? Current word count: 83,846 I’ll let you know where I end up at the end of all these shenanigans, but I’m confident it will be someplace good. I have some hefty additions to make.

According to just about every beta reader, there needs to be more interaction between some choice characters. I agree, however, one of the things to remember about these books is that it’s the H/h’s story, so some of the side things with other club members/story is just chaff. We want the wheat. Still, provisos can be made, so I’m going to get to it.

1/17/17: I’m still doing the fidgety re-writes and fleshing out portion of my writing process. I’m at just under 85k, so I’ve added around 4,000 words since my initial first draft went off to the beta readers. I’m only on chapter 17 out of 35 chapters (37 if you count the Prologue and Epilogue) and there is still one scene I have to get to that I know I’ll be fleshing out by quite a bit. I just passed a scene I initially wanted to expand but decided it was better to just leave it alone. I still intend to have that meaningful scene go in somewhere, but I haven’t found the spot for it yet. I know there will be an opportunity for it, and if there isn’t, then there will definitely be an opportunity by way of another SHMC short story. I have a lot of those planned, just finding places to put them, you know?

Anyways, I should, in theory, be finished with the final manuscript today and get it sent off to first round edits. If not today, then definitely tomorrow. I should probably point out that this is the second fastest I’ve ever written one of the MC novels. Cracked & Crushed still holds a couple of records. One, it was written completely and sent off to editing in thirteen days, and two, it’s still the longest MC novel I’ve managed to write, clocking in at over 110k.

 

1/18/17: Well, it’s off to editing. It clocked in at 86,000 words when all was said and done. I think it’s okay but really it’s up to the people who read it. I have quite a bit left to do, between a couple of rounds of edits and getting it off to formatting. Usually, I put my books up for preorder, but after the cover reveal next week? I might just ninja release this one and do a release blitz letting the world know it’s a thing. I hate having to make my readers wait for too long between books.

Next up I’ll be writing Between Brothers, I suppose that means I need to get going on it, and contact my cover artist. Thanks everyone for following along!

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Now that it’s done, I think I am going to make this a regular thing for my books moving forward. When it’s done, I’ll do a blog post about it. Not sure yet if I will keep the progress report up on the book’s actual page, yet. Duplicating it on the blog, though? This way I can keep a record of it to look back on.

I’ll be starting on Between Brothers soon, so keep in touch and watch for it! The cover reveal for Brother in Arms is set for January 24th.

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