Writing Acts of War II – Week 6 Update

Six weeks down, and I’m starting the third act of Acts of War: Aftershock. The epic conclusion is in sight, and, well, they don’t call it “WAR” MACHINE for nothin’.

Progress: I wrote 11,062 words and ended on chapter 24. Some of these chapters got a little long, so they might get broken into multiple chapters in revision. My total word count is just over 66,000 words, and we’re targeting between 90,000 and 100,000 for the book. In other words, the end is in sight, and a finished first draft is starting to become a tangible reality.

The Best Part: More secret stuff. I know, I’m kind of rubbing it in now, but I got the go ahead from Privateer Press to do some things in this book that will be pretty exciting for WARMACHINE fans. In the third act, I’ll be dealing almost exclusively with the shiny new coolness Privateer has put at the mercy of my grubby little keystrokes. Again, I will be revealing some of this stuff as we get nearer the novel’s release.

The Hard Part: So. Many. Characters. There’s no avoiding it with a novel that features actual armies of people doing big, exciting things. You’re gonna have a lot of secondary and minor characters in addition to your main POV characters. It can be easy to lose track of all those names. So, I keep a little spreadsheet of minor characters (names, where they appeared, and so on), so I don’t have to go hunting back though the manuscript when I want to use that Storm Lance lieutenant in chapter thirty-five that I created way back in chapter four.

Mini Excerpt: This week’s mini excerpt features two of our main characters, Asheth Magnus and Lord General Coleman Stryker forced into a situation where they have to work closely together. If you’ve read the first book in the series, you know these two have a bit of a checkered past. We also get a glimpse of a villain (and there’s no gray area with this guy) from Flashpoint returning to torment our heroes. This weeks concept art showcases some early designs for Magnus and Stryker from Matthew D. Wilson.

cmdr-stryker-pose_mw magnus-concept


More bullets slammed into the crates, kicking up splinters. It wouldn’t take long for Harrow’s men to reduce their cover to kindling. “We can either make for the door and get shot to pieces or make for Harrow and get shot to pieces,” Magnus said.

“Unless I can give them something to think about from here,” Stryker said, glancing around the ruined warehouse. “This place is already falling apart, so maybe I give it a little nudge.

“I think I know what you have in mind,” Magnus said, shaking his head. “Didn’t you just have a building fall on you?”


The threat of imminent death can heal all wounds. Well, a few of them. It was more than a little fun to write a scene where Magnus and Stryker work together. They actually make a pretty badass team. I just can’t decide which one is Riggs and which one is Murtaugh. I guess Magnus is kind of getting too old for this shit.

Got a question or a comment about the book or my writing process? Fire away in the comments section below. And if you’ve missed the progress reports for the previous weeks, you can find them right here:

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Check out the first book in this series, Acts of War: Flashpoint, if you haven’t already. You can get the e-book at 25% off from the Skull Island eXpeditions website by entering the code ACTSOFWAR1 at checkout.

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