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Decimation Log #2 - Draft Complete

It's been a few months and I've reached a new milestone, so time for a blog post! As the title says, I've finished the draft for Decimation. I'm that much closer to achieving one of my biggest author goals: To publish two novels in one calendar year. For many full-time authors, this isn't a problem, but for someone who works a full-time job and writes during his free time, it's not so easy. What cunning strategy have I employed to reach this point, you might ask? By having absolutely no life outside of writing!

You think I'm kidding? I'm actually serious when I say the past two and a half months have consisted of me going to work, coming home, working out, and then writing with what spare time I have left. Not much else, aside from real-life responsibilities that I won't go into details on. No reading, no video games, almost no tv, and I watched a grand total of one movie during that time (Top Gun: Maverick, a good choice!) And even then, with how long of a process getting to a true release is, I still might not reach my goal.

To put it in perspective, I finished the first draft of Ruination last December. Between beta reads, a second draft, professional editing, a third draft, formatting, and the book cover, I got the final product out this past March. So, with Decimation, I might be cutting it close to reach the goal.

In all fairness, there were some hefty fixes to make after Ruination's first draft. I added over 5,000 words while cutting and fixing up scenes to make it all fit. It's like rereading something while also writing in between. Not a quick or simple process by any means.

On the other hand, I may have to do something similar for Decimation. It is currently being beta-read by some of the readers I used last time. In a week or two, I'll have a better idea of what needs fixing. Fingers crossed that it isn't anything huge.

For now, I'm writing the latest Dark Savior Series short story and also trying to relax a bit. I figure this post is a good place to go over where I'm aiming to take these books while saving topics like where I struggled and where I succeeded with Decimation for the post-release blog.

After Decimation, I have one more novel planned, Confrontation (Title pending), that aims to bring the first two stories together for one satisfying conclusion. It's hard to describe without spoiling anything, but the first two novels are divorced from each other in a way; or at least it'll seem that way to the reader until they reach the halfway point of Decimation. As I've previously mentioned, the goal of Decimation is to give readers those "Aha!" moments that explain some mysteries from the previous book. But both books feature entirely different characters with a few exceptions.

Whether it will pay off or not, I'm unsure. That's part of what I asked the beta readers to look out for. Is it noticeable when I call back to the first book? Is it satisfying, even? Decimation was a bit of a risk, because I left the first book on a cliffhanger and then chose not to focus on the characters that it centered around in the sequel. Rest assured, those characters will get conclusions... in the next story. :P

At the moment, I'm thinking of calling this The Ruined Trilogy. The main theme that connects all three stories is that its main character's lives are being ruined, after all. That, or maybe the Ation Trilogy! Man, readers and authors sure do love it when books in a series have titles that sound similar! Ruination, Decimation, and Confrontation. Not bad, right? Maybe that'll drive some sales. :D

Oh, and before I forget, I wanted to follow up on the thousand words per day strategy that I had been using for this novel. I kept up with it over the months, but eventually a weakness became apparent: Intentional or not, I was putting fluff into the story to hit those numbers sometimes. Reading through the draft, I'd find these nonsensical bits that were uninspired, to put it kindly. On the other hand, there's no doubt in my mind that I only stand a chance at releasing two novels in a year thanks to the pressure that this put on me. Admittedly, there were some nights where I wasn't feeling it, but that wasn't all the time. Near the end, I had a day where I wrote over 6,000 words! That's the most I've ever recorded, although not necessarily the most I've ever written in a day.

Before temptation (There's another "Ation" I could use if I ever want to go beyond a trilogy!) overcomes me and I start going over all the worries and successes of Decimation's first draft, I'll cut it off here. Got to save that one for the next log! In between that, I'd like to get some short stories and website maintenance done. We'll see how it goes. I have some ideas for how I can make myself more visible to potential readers, but it feels like I have to go full-time author to get the most out of these ideas. Still, I think it could be a fun random blog, so we'll see...

Until then, happy reading and writing!

- Jim

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