Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Weekly Writing Progress & Other Business #7

I'm writing the next book in The Alchemancer series. It's called The Nullification Engine and should be out soon. As a way to keep readers updated on my progress and also so I can gauge the same, each week I take a look at my current writing progress and report it here. Also, I discuss some other areas revolving around the business side of things.

Decent week of writing. But, first, some other business.

Maps

The illustrator I hired, Jared Blando, continues to crank out some excellent work. Yesterday I revealed the map for The Five Elements. I think it came out pretty good. That map is already in the eBook, so head on out to Amazon and do a preview if you want to see it inside the book.

In all, I commissioned Jared to create 5 maps:

  1. Map for The Hall of the Wood
  2. Map for The Five Elements (The Alchemancer #1)
  3. Map for The Nullification Engine (The Alchemancer #2, forthcoming)
  4. Map of Brighton (the city where most  events in The Nullification Engine take place)
  5. Map of the World of Uhl

So far, 1-3 are complete. #3 needs a couple of touch-up’s, but it’s more or less done. That puts the ball back in my court as I now need to get the sketches for 4 and 5 to him. I plan to finish the sketch for the world map first as I already have a lot of the pieces in place. The map of Brighton is going to take some more work. It’s a big city and I want to give it a lot of personality.

Even though I’m paying someone to do the artwork, there’s still been plenty of work to do on my side just getting the maps into the electronic and print books. I guess it’s one of those things that once it’s done, it’s done. Or so I hope. At this point, both The Hall of the Wood and The Five Elements, electronic and print versions, have their maps.

New Characters

I created a new, small scene to highlight some characteristics of a particular character and needed someone new for this scene. So, I give you Windolyn, or Winnie, who is a skeva child. Skeva, or ratmen, live beneath Brighton in the city of Xirklx. All this and more can be found over on the World of Uhl site.

Blogging

I'm still blogging every day. In fact, today marks the 3 month mark. This past week I blogged about the following topics:

  1. Wordnik Word of the Day: Uguisubari
  2. Smashwords: All Function and No Form - Part 1
  3. Blogging Every Day Redux
  4. Turning a 1 Star Lemon Into Lemonade
  5. Map Reveal for The Five Elements

Reviews

The New Year has been good to me so far in terms of reviews. In fact, out of four reviews, three of them have been 5 stars. The fourth, which I just got a couple of days ago and is featured over on Fantasy Review Barn as well as Pauline’s Fantasy Reviews, is 4 stars and is perhaps the most thoughtful and thorough review I’ve received to date. Go take a look and judge for yourself.

Good review

Writing Progress

Pretty decent week considering it started with me working on taxes and that I was pretty busy throughout at the day job. My goal is to write 5,000 words per week. At least for now. Unfortunately that means it'll take another 21 weeks to finish this first draft. I'll have to figure out some way to get my word count up.

In any case, here's where I'm at presently.

Date Current Word
Count
Words Written Words/Day Words
Remaining
% Complete
12/1/2012 0 0 0 155,000 0.00%
12/8/2012 20,019 20,019 3,337 134,981 12.92%
12/15/2012 24,425 4,406 734 130,575 15.76%
12/22/2012 30,027 5,602 934 124,973 19.37%
12/29/2012 32,059 2,032 339 122,941 20.68%
1/5/2013 34,757 2,698 450 120,243 22.42%
1/12/2013 38,923 4,166 694 116,077 25.11%
1/19/2013 44,503 5,580 930 110,497 28.71%
1/26/2013 49,628 5,125 854 105,372 32.02%

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Weekly Writing Progress & Other Business #6

I'm writing the next book in The Alchemancer series. It's called The Nullification Engine and should be out soon. As a way to keep readers updated on my progress and also so I can gauge the same, each week I take a look at my current writing progress and report it here. Also, I discuss some other areas revolving around the business side of things.

One of my better weeks this past one in terms of writing progress. You can see the numbers below. But, first, some other business.

First off, I realized I've got a lot more to talk about than just my writing progress on the new book. In fact, personally, I think the more interesting stuff is what's going on outside of me actually writing words. To that end, I'm transmogrifying this weekly post (sounds like something Aaron would say—Aaron is a character in The Five Elements) into more of a generic progress sort of thing. Hope you like.

Maps

The map for The Hall of the Wood has been inserted into the eBook version and released to all retailers. It's a bit hard to make the details out on a b/w eReader, but it looks great on a color tablet, especially when you can zoom in and move around via touch. For those with b/w eReaders, however, I put a link in the eBook to go to the World of Uhl site where you can view a full-sized, color version of the map. It's the best compromise I can offer.

Today I'll be working on getting the map into the print version of The Hall of the Wood. That shouldn't take too long, but the files will have to be submitted to CreateSpace and it takes them a little bit to approve everything. As I reported last week, print versions of my books are back.

As for the map for The Five Elements, I'll be working on getting that into the eBook and print versions this next week. The reveal will be here on this blog next Friday.

Meanwhile my cartographer is busy working away on the next map which is the regional map to go along with The Nullification Engine. It's basically a zoomed out version of the same map from The Five Elements but with more detail as our characters move on to their next adventure.

Reviews

I've gotten away from posting about individual reviews which is something I did early on, especially if it was a good one. However, since I did get a couple of nice reviews recently, I'll go ahead and highlight them here.

I received one review for The Hall of the Wood (you can click-through to read the text):

Click-through to read review

A Top 500 Amazon reviewer, no less. No complaints here.

And I also received two reviews for The Five Elements:

Click-through to read review

Click-through to read review

Humbled is my only reaction. And appreciative.

Writing Progress

Now to what really matters for those waiting for the next book. Here's the numbers:

Date Current Word
Count
Words Written Words/Day Words
Remaining
% Complete
12/1/2012 0 0 0 155,000 0.00%
12/8/2012 20,019 20,019 3,337 134,981 12.92%
12/15/2012 24,425 4,406 734 130,575 15.76%
12/22/2012 30,027 5,602 934 124,973 19.37%
12/29/2012 32,059 2,032 339 122,941 20.68%
1/5/2013 34,757 2,698 450 120,243 22.42%
1/12/2013 38,923 4,166 694 116,077 25.11%
1/19/2013 44,503 5,580 930 110,497 28.71%

So, 930 words/day. 5,580 words written. That puts me at almost 29% done. I'm still working through some previously written words, but the gap is closing. Total I have about 50,000 words in the document. I should hopefully finish working through that this next week and then I'll really be breaking new ground.

Overall, I like where things are going. I'm working from a pretty tight outline, so it's just a matter of putting the bricks in the right place.

I'll close with the usual graphs. I like the way the % Progress one is trending upward.

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Weekly Writing Progress & Other Business #5

I'm writing the next book in The Alchemancer series. It's called The Nullification Engine and should be out soon. As a way to keep readers updated on my progress and also so I can gauge the same, each week I take a look at my current writing progress and report it here. Also, I discuss some other areas revolving around the business side of things.

All in all it was a pretty good week. Coming off the holidays this was the first full week I had to go to work ("go to" being a relative term since I work at home full-time). While my parents were still in town, I think I sufficiently started getting back into the swing of things.

For those just joining us, every Saturday I like to take a few moments to look over the past week in terms of writing and other assorted business. This post is supposed to be primarily about my writing progress on the second novel in The Alchemancer series, but I also cover other "stuff" generally related to my writing.

So, let's get to it.

Maps

The map for The Hall of the Wood has been revealed in all its glory. Click the map below for the post where you'll find a larger version.

I decided maps were important enough that I commissioned an illustrator to make a handful of them for me. This is the first of five. The others are for The Five Elements and the upcoming new book, The Nullification Engine. I'll do the reveal of the next map in a couple of weeks.

Print Books

Back on November 20 of last year I declared that my titles were no longer available in print. There were various reasons for this. You can click-through if you're interested in reading about them. However, I just reinstated those titles. So, print is back.

Why the change?

I think not having print titles at retailers (regardless of the pricing issues of which I'm still not happy with--I'd like to sell them a lot cheaper) actually hurts sales and discoverability overall. Amazon, for example, has separate rankings and sections of their site that are specific to print books. Not being on those shelves is generally not a good idea, I think. So, for better or worse, I'm back to maintaining print editions. So be it.

Writing Progress

I wasn't entirely pleased with my daily average world count but I did lose some time over the previous weekend because of visiting family, so I made what progress I could and actually came out alright in the end, I think.

Here's the numbers:

Date Current Word
Count
Words Written Words/Day Words
Remaining
% Complete
12/1/2012 0 0 0 155,000 0.00%
12/8/2012 20,019 20,019 3,337 134,981 12.92%
12/15/2012 24,425 4,406 734 130,575 15.76%
12/22/2012 30,027 5,602 934 124,973 19.37%
12/29/2012 32,059 2,032 339 122,941 20.68%
1/5/2013 34,757 2,698 450 120,243 22.42%
1/12/2013 38,923 4,166 694 116,077 25.11%

If 25% complete on the first draft is a milestone, then I met it. About 700 words per day and a total word count as shown.

If one considers that I actually have 51,092 words written (I actually started the initial draft about a year ago but wound up revisiting the outline enough that I felt I needed to start over and get everything aligned), then I'm actually 33% done. I'll continue to absorb those words and sometime soon won't bother reporting this tidbit.

Here are the graphs.

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And with that, I'm back to writing.

Weekly Writing Progress & Other Business #4

I'm writing the next book in The Alchemancer series. It's called The Nullification Engine and should be out soon. As a way to keep readers updated on my progress and also so I can gauge the same, each week I take a look at my current writing progress and report it here. Also, I discuss some other areas revolving around the business side of things.

Leave it to the holidays to screw up one's writing progress. I can see why some people just avoid it altogether by taking the time off from writing entirely. That sounds nice, but not possible for me. I've got a book to finish and a day job that keeps most of my day occupied. Big difference between this holiday season and those of the past: I didn't any time off beyond the usual company holidays. Couldn't, actually. New job and all, and we have restrictions on when we can take time off (tax industry, don't ask).

Anyway, let's get to some progress.

Maps

I received the regional map to go along with The Five Elements from my cartographer. It looks great. Next step will be to do a reveal (I have to reveal the one for The Hall of the Wood still) and get it integrated into the eBook and World of Uhl site.

Writing Progress

As noted, the holidays took their toll on my writing schedule. Also, given I had so many posts I was trying to fit in before year-end and the lackluster writing progress, I opted to skip last week's writing progress post in lieu of a some predictions for next year.

However, I'm back to my regular schedule now so let's see where we're at.

Date Current Word
Count
Words Written Words/Day Words
Remaining
% Complete
12/1/2012 0 0 0 155,000 0.00%
12/8/2012 20,019 20,019 2,860 134,981 12.92%
12/15/2012 24,425 4,406 629 130,575 15.76%
12/22/2012 30,027 5,602 800 124,973 19.37%
12/29/2012 32,059 2,032 290 122,941 20.68%
1/5/2013 34,757 2,698 385 120,243 22.42%

Looking at the last 2 weeks, daily progress came way down. However, this past week it started to tick up as I returned to a more normal schedule. Overall, I'm 22.4% done. If you look at the total words written, though (which isn't reported here), I'm actually 33% done as I continue to assimilate previously written content. For all intents and purposes I'm really just at 22.4%, so I'll go with that.

Here's the usual graphs. Until next time.

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Weekly Writing Progress & Other Business #3

I'm writing the next book in The Alchemancer series. It's called The Nullification Engine and should be out soon. As a way to keep readers updated on my progress and also so I can gauge the same, each week I take a look at my current writing progress and report it here. Also, I discuss some other areas revolving around the business side of things.

Worldbuilding

I was watching something on television the other night and saw something that sparked an idea. I don't even remember what exactly it was that I saw, but it gave me an idea for an encounter between Ensel Rhe and a sort of gypsy/soothsayer sort of character. Thus Dasinda, described on the World of Uhl site as a "Sunken Slums fortuneteller", was born. I had fun writing the interaction between her and my favorite taciturn mercenary. Another character got short-changed because of this, but I'll probably find something for him to do later on as the story progresses.

Outline

No changes to the outline this past week. That is a good thing.

Maps

I have a final illustration back from my mapmaker for the regional map to go along with The Hall of the Wood. Maps were something I always wanted in my books as I think they're essential to fantasy novels. It just sort of worked out that now I have the budget to have them created. I'll do a reveal of the map soon. The next step is to have a regional map drawn up for The Five Elements and then two maps for The Nullification Engine. One is an expanded regional map based on the one from The Five Elements. The other is of Brighton, the city where 99.9% of the story takes place. I wanted to keep everyone in a single location for this novel and concentrate on making it a really rich setting with deep characterization. I always wanted to get away from one of the worst fantasy tropes: traveling.

Writing Progress

Now, to some numbers. Not a bad week. I'm averaging 800 words per day, which is better than the previous check-in point. You can take a look at the rest at your leisure. I'll just note that I'm 19% done with the first draft for The Nullification Engine and still planning on an early to mid 2013 release.

Date Current Word
Count
Words Written Words/Day Words
Remaining
% Complete
12/1/2012 0 0 0 155,000 0.00%
12/8/2012 20,019 20,019 2,860 134,981 12.92%
12/15/2012 24,425 4,406 629 130,575 15.76%
12/22/2012 30,027 5,602 800 124,973 19.37%

 

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