I decided to keep a log of the second book with a word count and progress update to keep me on track.
The second book follows on from the first as I decided to continue it as a series. Not sure yet if it will be a trilogy or beyond – but I suspect I will know after I am halfway through book three.
The premise is…
Stranded aliens form symbiotic relationships to carry on their journey. Dr Ben Sharman, experienced in alien abduction, investigates the mystery of a drowned man brought back to life which leads to victims possessed by extraterrestrial forces.
I had an idea of the alien craft crashing into a reservoir. The reservoir in question was where I used to fish for trout and not too far from where I live. I did consider other lakes and reservoirs but thought. What the heck! I know the area really well – It will make it much easier and far less research. It also had everything I wanted for the location. I also pictured the end scene of the book.
The problem was the meat in between. I had intended to plan the second book every inch of the way but have discovered that I work better with an opening idea, know how the story ends and ‘pants it’ for part of the way. once I have several chapters under my belt I can start to plan and put a framework up.
I started this project on Tuesday 26th May 2020 (still under Covid-19 Lockdown).
So here is my week by week account of progress on book 2:
Week ending Sunday 31st May
Spent the first two days agonising over the plot. Wrote mind maps, tried to use Scriveners Corkboard to map out the plot and by day three decided to plough on with my original idea for the first chapter and see where it would take me. Completed chapter 1-8 and very happy with the way the story is progressing. I can see much further up the road now and should be able to start plotting large parts of the book shortly.
Word Count approx. 6,500
Running total 6,500 words
Average daily word production 1,083 (over 6 days – started on Tuesday)
Average daily word production to date 1,083
Week ending 7th May 2020
A better week in terms of more words produced but still not nearly as many as I would have liked. I did some basic plotting for chapters 9-18 which has turned out to be really helpful. I am learning this craft as I go along and keeping the pieces that take me forward and discard those that do the opposite. The storyline is developing well at a good pace and I am in pants mode inside a very loose framework.
I am finding the story more and more interesting to write as it develops. The word count this week is roughly 1350 words per day on average. It should be higher but there has been a lot of research involved. The storyline takes in several regions of the UK and I have been checking buildings, locations, distances (to work out travel times) plus many other factual tidbits that I needed to know. This has taken more time than writing. I think that as the book develops there will be less research and the book could pick up speed.
Word Count approx. 9,500
Running total 16,000 words
Average daily word production 1,357
Average daily word production to date 1,143
Week ending 14th May 2020
This has been a much better week as expected and I have been fairly consistent every day this past week at getting the words down with a daily average of over 2,200 words – a considerable leap up from the previous 2 weeks. It is still slower than I would like as there is still a fair chunk of research time involved. I have also started to look ahead for an editor and was intrigued at the variations in price. Those recommended on some of the established writer’s web sites were generally out of my current budget. One, in particular, worked out at over £20,000 to do a trilogy. Unfortunately, my budget isn’t quite Stephen King yet!
I have found a really good editor who has a great track record and is in the UK, which is good from the perspective of time zone difference. I took a look at the previous books she has edited on Amazon and they generally seem to be doing well. Obviously, sales are out of her hands but it was a good exercise to look at the blurb (as she includes editing for that vital component) and ‘see inside’ section of each book to get a feel for the end results that she has been involved with. Happily, I was very impressed with what I saw.
The added bonus of seeking out an editor is the extra injection of motivation. My determination to move this project on has now become a habit with no resistance. I need to write each day to feed the habit which is a great feeling. Up early each morning and at it!
Word Count approx. 15,500
Running total 31,500 words
Average daily word production this week 2,214
Average daily word production to date 1,575
Week ending 21st May 2020
A week with other work dragging me away from the keyboard but all good stuff. I spent two days working on drawing caricatures and my monthly article with a cartoon for Brass Band World Magazine. Another day was spent prepping the first two chapters of my first book for my editor to run through and also prep’ a 4000-word short story I have written, again in the sci-fi genre. The result was only four days of writing.
This coming week I am planning to make up for the shortfall and will be well over the halfway mark with a book-length planned at around 80-85,000 words – akin to the first book.
I have booked my editor for mid-October this year to edit Books 1-3 which I need to complete well in advance to enable self-editing and Beta reading. I plan to use the short story, currently being edited to boost the email list and use as a source for beta readers.
Word Count approx. 5,500
Running total 37,000 words
Average daily word production this week 786
Average daily word production to date 1,321
Week ending 28th May 2020
Six out of seven days this week were productive. there was one day in midweek where the temperature ad humidity was about te degrees of sweat above being bothered to type, so I gave myself the day off ad collapsed with a cold beer!
I planned to be over the halfway mark this week and with a total of 45,300 mission accomplished. In fact after re-evaluating the storyline this week I have downgraded the total of the book by a fair chunk to 65,000 words as I think it will be about right for the total structure. The original 85,000 was an arbitrary figure based on the first draft total.
This coming week I am planning to reach 8000+ Words which would give a running total of 54,000+
Word Count approx. 8,300
Running total 43,300 words
Average daily word production this week 1,185
Average daily word production to date 1,321
Week ending 5th July 2020
Not a good week on the writing front but I was very productive on the cover designing and editing front which took up a bulk of the time. I looked at book covers and decided against all the professional advice to design my own (see my post on the covers and why I did that here…)
Reaching 50,000 words is a nice milestone but fell well short of the target I set last week so I will aim to make up for lost ground particularly as the 15th July has been my target date to finish book two to first draft stage from the start which isn’t far away but I am determined to make it happen.
I am into the final section of the book where all the subplots start to come together to reach the finale which is exciting. I have also had an idea for book three and will take the main characters out of the UK…to Egypt.
Word Count approx. 6,700
Running total 50,000 words
Average daily word production this week 957
Average daily word production to date 1,220
Week ending 12th July 2020
A much better week than last week with just over 10k words in the bag. I have also reached the final two chapters, so my target of 15th July is on target.
It has been a productive week altogether with a short story prepped, sent to the editor and received back ready for me to update, and I have also produced the cover for it myself. I am so pleased to be on the home straight with book two.
The finale section has been quite difficult to put together to make it authentic and no doubt it will go through a few editing transformations before I am totally happy with it.
The eventual word count for the book to first draft is going to be around the 65k mark which, although shorter than book one – works for this story.
Word Count approx. 10,250
Running total 60,250 words
Average daily word production this week 1,464
Average daily word production to date 1,255
Book 2 finished to first draft!
I had it wrapped up on Tuesday 14th July as it only took an additional 2000 words to complete it. I am now leaving it to rest before I start the third book in the trilogy. I am feeling very pleased with myself! #smug!
I believe that the book is pretty good with a very good storyline. The first draft is the rough version and I am under no illusion that there will be a considerable amount of polishing and hacking and adding to do to turn it from very good to something I will be proud to put in the public domain.
Word Count approx. 2,000 (2 days only)
Running total 62,250 words
Average daily word production this week 1,000
Average daily word production to date 1,250