Well, this has been a journey. Four and a half months of writing… Aug 13th to Jan 3rd… including the three prologue chapters. Without those, literally ended on Christmas with the lines “merry fucking Christmas”.
Not my first big writing project, but definitely a massive improvement in my skill from what I was doing a year ago.
So, where did I succeed? Where did I fail.
Characterization: I think I managed to make every character complex and believable, with deeper motivations than they appear on the surface. I introduced some favorites, both old and new, while managing to control myself and not create a cast list of 30 major characters.
Tone: I kept it dark without making it overwhelming, with enough light and breathing room to make the darkness contrast well. Sure, a matter of taste, but I think I landed exactly on the mark I set.
Worldbuilding: Yeah, I know, there wasn’t a lot of it, but I didn’t want there to be a lot of it. Not in this book. This is the introduction… more will certainly be introduced in future books. I think this one told enough to make it interesting, without overwhelming the narrative or being so sparse as to be useless.
Failures to learn from:
Size: The hope was for a roughly 60-70k story at maybe 30-ish chapters. I ended up with was 61 chapters and 150k words. Heh. Oops.
Focus: I made a few mistakes, like putting too much emphasis on “slice of life”, leaving lulls in the story that lasted longer than they should. I mean, that was partly by design- I firmly believe the “full nitro burn” method is toxic to good storytelling, and you need ebbs and flows in action and drama, to create points of relaxation and seeing your characters in relaxed situations.
Plus, I had to establish the world for the late game. Alex and Cassie wouldn’t have had nearly the endgame impact that they did, if not for the early emphasis.
I play a long game with my writing, it’s just in my nature, and to the point that there are things that are shown in chapter 1 that don’t show their true significance until the final epilogue.
This is fine… except it takes so damn long to get to the final epilogue that I fear people forgot the significance of those first few chapters. And expecting my readers to go back over 150k words to find those little gems is a bit much to ask.
This is something I need to fix.
(Hint: go reread Zach’s Surge in chapter two now that you’ve seen Alex). Oh, incidentally, Alex was one of very few characters whose names I did not roll. There’s a reason for this.
I’m taking a week long break where mainly I’ll be chewing over the website, changing the layout of the table of contents to support multiple books… I’ll probably just end up creating a page and copy/pasting the whole DoaH list to that.
I need to think up a better title for this book as well. Le sigh.
Maybe I’ll get Patreon going. I’m trying to think up incentives, but the truth is I have an artistic objection to charging for bonus chapters. Either it belongs in the story, and so you should write it, or it does not and you shouldn’t. So other than putting up a list of nice supporters on the site, I’m at a loss for what to offer.
And everyone thank Wargonzola for donating to see the Laura-Glen smut chapter. That’ll be up soon as well.