First draft of Apollo Burn is complete and I'm already preparing the second draft to send off to my development editor. Writing is still half preparation, half exploration.
What have I learned from my first novel? Up to you if you find it interesting.
1. I overwrote my first novel by > 50%. Second novel I've underwritten, but still building material from rough to first to second draft, adding ~10% each time. I'm not sure if I'm being cautious or just not willing to waste as many words.
2. I'm writing faster, certainly. I try to write 1000-2000 words a day when in writing mode. I tend to step out of writing when I edit--I don't have enough bandwidth to edit one book while writing. I plan to write when my novel is at the editor, but those windows are small opportunities to do parallel work. I do write new material when I'm in edit mode, but it's more of a 'rip and replace' or missing scene writing. I haven't reached the plateau of writing new every day. If I exclude writing before I put the rough draft together, it took me 1.5 years to bring Fall to Earth to final draft. Apollo Burn will be about a year (started in October), yielding a 33.3% improvement. Metrics!
3. Marketing. This is long term work and finding the right audience while building readership is a balancing act. I've actually learned a lot along the way, but that's a post for another time. Just a couple of notes: FB has been interesting, though not positive ROI; Amazon Ads have been disappointing; Goodreads has been a bit of a dark horse.
4. When I'm not writing, I'm writing about writing. I have a stack of journals now that I started about a month or so after I began working on Fall to Earth's first draft. I'm moving ideas out of my head onto paper. It helps to empty out the space there and consider plot ideas that, until you write them down, you can't accept or reject these ideas.
5. Writing is craft work - you only get better at it through deliberate practice.
I think 5 is enough. I could write a longer post, but this has been sitting in draft for too long. Thanks for reading. If you like more news about interesting things and new material, pop up to the top and sign up!