Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Writing Update #16

I had a pretty decent writing week this past week: 25 pages edited, leaving 339 to go, and I reached my week's goal, exceeding 10% completion of this second pass edit.

Here's the page progress chart:

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% completion trending upward:

imageWord count trending downward.

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This is a good thing.

I'd previously established that, for fantasy, publishers are looking for novels in the less than 110,000 word range. Of course there are exceptions to this, but as a new writer I don't want to give anyone any excuses, so I'll play by the rules. It took some work getting the word count down to this level. When I started, it was upward of 130,000. That's OK, though: One thing I'm learning as I continue to edit is to be concise. Why say something in two sentences if you can do it in one? That, and oftentimes there are 'extra' words that can be whittled down, making the prose more direct.

That's it. I hope to have some more good progress to post next Monday. Until then…

Writing Update #15

Last week I reported that I had finished the first edit of my WIP and that I was now moving on to the second edit.

Briefly, I continue editing on the computer until I feel all the pieces are in place, that the obvious snafus have been fixed, sentences all makes sense, and scenes play out as I had envisioned them. While editing my previous book, I did this as many times as it took to get all of these things right—about 3-4 times, as I recall. After that, I go to paper, printing out each chapter in order where I basically start the editing process over again. Of course, it all gets easier and easier as all the pieces fall into place, or at least that's the idea.

Enough about the future; let's take a look at my current progress.

I reset everything, so I'm back on page 1. Or, I was, until I put some work in this past week, editing 16 pages out of a current total of 380. Here's a bar chart:

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Not much to look at right now.

Percentage complete is a bit more interesting:

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OK. Still not really that interesting. I'm 4.21% complete with the second edit. Still a long ways to go.

Last, I like to look at my ongoing total word count:

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It's come down a bit; it's going to continue to fluctuate at least through this edit as I still need to fill some holes in here and there and add or remove pieces as needed to get everything to flow. Some of that flow was disrupted, for example, when, across the board, I removed one of the characters from the story.

Going into winter, with the days shorter and there being less light for outdoor activities, I intend to have more time to write. But, of course, we've got Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, both of which have a whole host of obligations to go along with them. Such is life, though, right?

Till next time.

Writing Update #14

First edit of the rough draft of my fantasy adventure novel: done.

I actually finished about mid-week last week, at which time I took a few days off to concentrate on my reading of Bujold's Sharing Knife series (of which I committed to reviewing for EOS Books). I've finished books one and two, by the way. But this blog entry isn't about my reading progress, it's about my writing progress, so…

Here's what 100% done looks like:

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and,

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Here's how total word count wound up finishing:

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That's it. First edit done. It's a step towards completion.

Total word count stands at 112,737. Page count at 382.

Now, I reset the graphs and start over. My second edit will still be done exclusively on the computer. I don't waste paper until I feel I've done most of the editing, or at least until I have something wholly coherent that flows from start to finish. I'm not there yet.

I expect to continue these updates each Monday (this one is coming a day early b/c I won't have my laptop with me tomorrow), if not for your benefit, than certainly for mine. I've found they've been a useful tool for accountability as well just a way for me to gauge my progress.

Until next time.

Writing Update #13

I'm almost done with the first edit of my fantasy novel, The Five Elements.

I'm on page 381 of 385, which gives me a completion percentage of 98.96%.

A bit of explaining: Last week I'd related how I had to essentially axed the last chapter, so instead of editing I've really been engaged in new writing. At that time I also came up with a guesstimate on the total page count, pegging it at 388. Now that I'm a little closer, I dropped that down to the magic number of 385. Bottom line: 4 more pages to go.

I probably would have had that last bit done if I hadn't been without my laptop all weekend. In any case, there's a definite end to this road in sight.

Weekly progress is this: up to page 381 from page 372, pages remaining dropped from 16 to 4, and total word count (see graph at bottom) rose from 110,885 to 112,386.

Here's the graphs:

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Percentage complete (almost 100%!):

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Last, I've got a new one that shows Total Word Count. It's kind of interesting to see the beginning total of about 125,000 shrink as I edited along, chopping out unneeded words and, in some cases, entire sections. All part of the editing process.

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Writing Update #11

image Just a quick writing update this time in which I dispense with the graphs at least for this one time.

All told, this past week was not a good one for writing. I started strong, finishing off a crucial, second-to-last-chapter section, but then I got sick and everything came to a screeching halt. It was one of those "your brain now belongs to us" sort of colds that I only just got over yesterday.

So, I got a little break, whether I wanted one or not. It did give me a little time to reflect on how I truly want to wrap the main storyline up. Most of it is already there, but I had made some mid-novel changes that, like a row of dominos, had ramifications all the way unto the finishing line. Those loose ends have almost been wrapped up at this point. Once that's done, I can get back to the actual writing where I will soon have this thing wrapped up.