Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Weekly Writing Progress & Other Business #1

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.

Back when I was writing The Five Elements I posted weekly progress updates. At that time, it was mostly to keep myself motivated and so I knew when I was falling behind (or getting ahead). Those posts contained a lot of charts and graphs showing Total Word Count, % Complete, and Pages Edited/Remaining. I found value in seeing my progress graphically throughout the process. But I also found at times the numbers, such as word count, became more important than the writing itself. That's a hard one to explain, but I was putting more of an emphasis on being able to update the spreadsheet than focusing on the content of the writing. One sort of feeds the other, though, and in the end it all worked out. The novel was completed and I was able to move onto the next. Which brings me to where I'm at now.

Outline & Worldbuilding

The Nullification Engine is the second book in The Alchemancer series. I actually started the writing process on it last year. Since my writing process begins with a thorough outline, that's where most of my initial time was spent. Of course, along the way I also worked up character profiles, names and background info on places, geography, etc. The usual worldbuilding sorts of activities, in other words. You can see what I'm come up with so far on the World of Uhl site. I completed the outline and started writing the book. But as I got deeper into it I realized some parts of the plotting needed more work. I went back to the outline, revised, and got back to writing. I wrote about 150 pages when, again, I realized something was missing. More time was spent on the outline. This time, though, I had it.

As it is now, the outline for The Nullification Engine contains 30 chapters. At an estimated 20 pages per chapter and 250 words per page, the novel will come out somewhere around 150,000 total words.

Maps & Artwork

I've commissioned an illustrator to work on some maps not only for The Nullification Engine but also my other two novels. More on this later. For now, I'll just say that The Nullification Engine takes place entirely in one city. This was the #1 rule I intended to adhere to for my next novel. The city map should be very detailed and very cool. (So should the others.)

I'll also be commissioning a designer to work on the book cover. Most likely I'll go with Derek Murphy of CreativIndie.com, who worked on the cover for The Five Elements.

Writing Progress

With the outline really complete this time, I got back to writing. Almost immediately life got in the way. Long story short, I started a new job which was requiring all of my time. Now, however, things have settled down and I'm back to a regular writing schedule. Thing is, the outline had been refined to the point where the existing 150 pages wasn't quite in the right order or even relevant in some cases. So, it was back to page 1.

Using one week ago as my zero starting point, here then is my current state of progress:

Date Current Word
Count
Words
Remaining
% Complete
12/1/2012 0 150,000 0.00%
12/8/2012 20,019 129,981 15.40%

It doesn't make a lot of sense going from no words to 20,019 since I wrote far less than that in the past week, but that's how it is. Given the word count I'd reached previously, and considering some of that content will be incorporated into this new revision, the word count could jump significantly in the short term. With that content included, I'm about 45% done with the novel.

The Word Count charts looks like this:

image

% Progress looks like this:

image

I think that does it for this time. I'll continue to make writing updates each Saturday as part of my blogging every day initiative. Future updates will not be this long, either. I'll keep them short so I can get back to actually making some progress on the novel.



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