Writing Acts of War II – Week 8 Update

Eight weeks of steady writing has nearly brought me to the finish line on the first draft of Acts of War: Aftershock. One more week ought to do it.

Here’s how I did for week eight.

Progress: I managed 11,282 words and ended on chapter 33. My total word count was just shy of 90,000 words, and I feel pretty confident saying the first draft will be about 95,000 words total. I’m very pleased with the pace I’ve maintained, and I’ll beat my deadline by a couple of weeks minimum. That’ll give Privateer Press more time to review the manuscript, which will in turn give me more time for revisions.

The Best Part: Plot twist! You always want the resolution of your story to be somewhat unexpected. That’s not to say it should come out of the blue, but a nice surprise reveal is fun for both reader and author. Last week, I was kind of struggling with my big reveal. I knew generally what it was going to be, but I couldn’t quite nail down the details. Then I had a conversation with Privateer Press CCO Matthew D. Wilson and lead designer Jason Soles, and it all fell into place. So, thanks guys. 🙂

The Hard Part: That’s just mean. Characters in my stories tend to suffer a bit, and I often catch myself thinking, “Oh, you poor, poor bastards,” when I’m writing a scene.  I’m not trying to be sadistic, but, you know, bad stuff happens. A lot of it comes down to stakes, in that a story needs to have them. The heroes often have to sacrifice life and limb in order to achieve their goals, beat the bad guys, save their friends, and so on. I try not to pull any punches with what my characters go through, and it’s not always physical pain that’s the worst of it. Psychological wounds can be just as awful, if not worse. Stryker’s horror and disgust over the use of devil’s gasp, a type of Iron Kingdoms WMD, in the first book is a good example of a character dealing with a terrible situation that tests his moral resolve rather than his physical limits.

Of course, sometimes characters do lose their lives, and, unfortunately, for the good of the story, I had to say goodbye to a character I really liked last week.

Mini Excerpt: This week’s mini-excerpt sees Asheth Magnus and Ashlynn d’Elyse knocking down doors, trying to find a very important character. Ashlynn uses Crash, her pet Mule (a type of warjack), to do the gatecrashing. Today’s concept art from Geoff Shupe depicts said gatecrasher.

mule



Crash, Ashlynn’s Mule, did justice to its namesake and slammed its shoulder into the first cell door, smashing it off its hinges. The cell was empty, and they moved to the one across from it. Crash battered this one down, and it, too, was empty.

The sounds of combat ahead grew in volume and ferocity, and Magnus saw Stryker was using Rowdy to plug the passageway while he and his men returned fire around the warjack. Strakhov would overwhelm them soon.

Crash smashed in the next cell door, and the slab of wood and steel landed inches from what Magnus thought was a corpse in a tattered gambeson. When the “corpse” raised its head, revealing a tangled beard and a face that seemed little more than a skull with a thin layer of skin stretched across it, he realized they’d found who they were looking for.

Ashlynn pushed past him into the cell, and Crash rumbled down the passageway to join the battle. “Legate di Morray?” Ashlynn said, using what Magnus assumed was the man’s title within his order.



Rescue mission? Who is this Legate di Morray? What else has Crash crushed in the course of the story? These questions and many more will be answered over the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned!

If you have a question or comment about the book or my writing process, ask 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.

One thought on “Writing Acts of War II – Week 8 Update

  1. My favorite part of this piece, “Characters in my stories tend to suffer a bit, and I often catch myself thinking, “Oh, you poor, poor bastards,” when I’m writing a scene.  I’m not trying to be sadistic, but, you know, bad stuff happens.” Exactly! When I make myself cry over what I’ve just done to my MC, I’m hopeful my readers will be as invested and will root for her, too. Good job on your part.

    Liked by 1 person

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