Finishing The Light edits, & a new series? – Writing Update 2019 Week 52

Mike Grist Weekly Writing Update, Writing 1 Comment

This week has been a full-time load of editing, with fitting in some family time in the middle. I’ve been working on the secret editing project, thinking about Wren book 4, finishing up The Last Mayor book 9 rework The Light, and ALSO dreaming up a new series.

In turn:

The Light rework

With this last book in the Last Mayor series reworked, I have now completely rewritten the whole 9-book series!

It is a pretty huge thing to do. I had it down for some future date, if I had time, spread out over years. Rather, thanks to sales holding strong over the past 3 months, I’ve burned through it all now. As I’ve said multiple times already, I’ve learned a huge amount. Major lessons?

  • I am capable of some really fantastic, urgent, emotion-twanging writing. Funny, sharp, witty, driven, clever.
  • I am also quite capable of putting that great stuff right next to oodles of backstory, repetitive narrative summary, muddled technobabble and stake-less thrills.

The skill lies in knowing which is which, and hopefully writing only the first and not the second on first writing. Can I do that? I don’t know. Su is reading Wren book 1, and finding that the opening commits many of these same sins – albeit on a smaller, faster scale. Ideally – don’t commit any of them at all!

I am quite excited for what the zombie series might do now. For the first time, I’m getting reviews of the whole set, because people are reading it all the way through. The most recent review said something about how fantastic it all was, but the last book was too esoteric.

That’d be the book I’m editing now. So the changes I made to clear out the underbrush from books 1-8 have worked. They forgive me for book 9. But now book 9 blisters along. I’m actually going back to book 1 to have another edit. It’s the entry point, and now the longest in the series. The others have all dropped to around 50,000 words. It’s 70,000. I can surely drop it by 10 or 20k and speed things up.

Don’t let anyone get away. Don’t give anyone an excuse to put it down.

I’m pleased.

New series?

In the last few days, and largely off the success of the zombie series, I started thinking about writing some more books set in the apocalypse. Lots of zombie authors do this. They do their zombies, then their aliens, then their EMP, then whatever.

So what will mine be.

Well, I have a loose idea. I may have a character. I started thinking through plot threads. The big challenge when sitting down to write something new is, for me, figuring out what the bad guy wants. What the bad guy is. What the conflict and opposition is.

I used to want to delay the appearance of the main bad thing until a quarter into the book. That’s all those writing books on structure talking. But then you need bridging conflict, and why bother with that when there is an actual story to tell?

Start with the story. Right? And the story is the moment something goes wrong. Without something going wrong, it’s a diary entry.

With apocalypse, it’s the apocalypse. What does it look like. How do we escape it. How do we rebuild. My new idea, still floating, does something that I think is very new. It’ll take advantage of what I’ve learned writing thrillers, and apply it to the apocalypse. A new Wild West. Let’s see. I’m tentatively excited. It’d be a whole new landscape. Lots to explore. Questions I certainly don’t know the answer to yet.

Yeah, that’s exciting.

When would I write it? Who knows. If I was full-time, I could write thrillers in the morning and apocalypse in the afternoon.

6 books a year? People do far more. As is, with a new full-time job starting in Jan, I expect I’ll manage 3 thrillers. Maybe one of those could be a new apocalypse.

I’ll do my year in review shortly, and plans for 2020 too.

Comments 1

  1. Word up! or in your case word count down!

    I am glad you got people zipping through the whole series. Really admirable to see you cut through cruft.

    Like your characters, I have been changing as well. I do not have the same stomach for gore as before. Strange how quickly that can change.

    If you write any more non gory stuff, lemme know.. 🙂

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