The first draft of Acts of War: Aftershock is complete. Well, complete-ish. More on that below.
Here’s my report card for week nine.
Progress: I wrote 5,864 words and ended on chapter 35. As I said above, the first draft of the novel is complete, but this is what I call my first, first draft. What that means is I still need to go back through the manuscript line by line, clean it up, fix the issues I know are there, and get it into shape for the handoff to Privateer Press. That’ll take me a week or two, but I’m still well ahead of deadline, so I have time to be thorough. The first, first draft sits at 95,303 words, and even though I need to add at least one scene, the manuscript will undoubtedly shrink a bit after I clean it up.
The Best Part: Finish line! When you’ve spent weeks banging away at a manuscript, watching it grow, watching it become something that actually resembles a novel, and then you get to the end and type that final word, it’s an awesome feeling of accomplishment. It’s fleeting, but it’s great while it lasts.
The Hard Part: Finish line?! Yeah, now the real work begins. First drafts are that raw process of creation, brain to fingertips, go, go, go! What you’re left with, usually, is something that gives you and the publisher a clear roadmap to the final product. There’s still a lot of dialing in that needs to happen with characters, with the plot, with the setting, and a dozen other things. Now, it’s your job as the writer to make the revision process as easy a possible, but no one, and I mean no one, gets it right in the first draft. So, there’s still a lot of work to do, but the first draft is a big milestone, and I’m thrilled to have reached it with another book.
Mini Excerpt: This week’s mini-excerpt focuses on one of my favorite secondary characters in the Acts of War series, the trollkin sniper Corporal Horgrum. He’ a fun character because he’s got that fish-out-of-water thing going for him. Also, he’s a seven-foot blue-skinned chunk of muscle and sinew who uses a weapon that’s really more of shoulder-fired cannon than a true rifle. What’s not to love? Today’s concept art is not an exact depiction of Horgrum, but it’s a trollkin with a big gun, so those unfamiliar with the Iron Kingdoms can get a general idea.
It looked like the Khadorans were going to fight to the bitter end, then a single booming report rang out through the canyon, and one of the Man-O-War toppled forward, a smoking, fist-sized hole in his helmet. Stryker looked around for the shooter, and saw a tall, blue-skinned form he recognized atop the east wall of the canyon, smoke pouring from the muzzle of his mammoth rifle.
Horgrum’s shot had an immediate, demoralizing effect on the Khadorans. It took the fight out of them completely, and they threw down their weapons.
Also present were Sergeant Sharp and the trollkin sniper Horgrum. Stryker smiled at seeing the two; they were deadly efficient, but they amused him to no end.
“Hell of a shot, Corporal Horgrum,” Stryker said. “Looks like about four hundred yards, give or take.”
“473, sir,” the trollkin responded, adjusting the sight on his weapon. “Big target. Hard to miss.”
The trollkin sniper Private Horgrum and his human spotter/handler Sergeant Sharp were minor characters I included in the first book for a bit of flavor and fun, but people really seemed to dig them, so I expanded their role a bit in Aftershock. They definitely have more screen time, and they are involved in some pretty pivotal moments in the book. So, if you’re one of the folks who liked them in the first book, there’s even more to love in the second book.
So, what come next, now that the first draft is done? Well, I’ll keep doing these weekly updates, keeping you apprised on the revisions and offering more mini-excerpts. Down the line, we’ll get to more substantial excerpts, more character details, and cool stuff like the cover art and some goodies that are secret for the moment. So, 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:
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.