Done, done, done!
It’s been a long haul, indeed, but With Blood Upon the Sand, Book Two of The Song of the Shattered Sands, is now complete! Actually, I finished about a week ago, but I dove right into the edits of the last quarter of the book to polish it a bit.
A few stats on the new book. It clocked in at 234,000 words. A hefty tome, to be sure, but it’s about par for the course for me. Twelve Kings in Sharakhai came in at 209,000 words, but I added another POV character in the new book, bringing the total POVs to six (including Çeda’s younger POV).
There are sixty-nine chapters in all, meaning each chapter has about 3,300 words. I tend to shoot for about 2-3,000 words per chapter, but in some of the non-Çeda POVs, I bend this rule a bit because I want the focus to be on Çeda. That is, Emre and Ramahd don’t have as many chapters dedicated to their POV, so I tend to pack a bit more into those.
In terms of elapsed time, it’s hard to get an exact count on the number of months it took me to write this. I cut about 50,000 words from Twelve Kings and moved them to this book, but they ended up needing a ton of work. They weren’t the “free” words I was expecting them to be. I probably ended up putting as much time into rewriting those chapters as I would have put in just writing them from scratch. I didn’t really start in earnest until April last year, which means I spent roughly nine months on the draft. I probably averaged 25,000 words per month. Not bad, all in all, especially considering I was doing other things along the way like fulfilling the rewards for the Six by Six Kickstarter I ran early last year and finishing the final draft of Of Sand and Malice Made, which I ended up selling to DAW Books in fall.
So, what now? Finishing the draft of a book is always a thing worth celebrating, especially the first draft. I had a nice dinner. I watched The Martian, which I’d been saving until I’d finished. I’d also had my eye on an Xbox One or PS4 for quite a while. I finally pulled the trigger on a PS4 and picked up a few games. Need for Speed has been great so far. And Witcher III is waiting for me to find some free nights.
I’m not done with the book, of course. I can’t even really relax too much. As I mentioned above, I’m going through the last quarter of the book to give it a good polish before sending it off to beta readers. That should be done in about a week. Once the ms is off, I’ll take a break from the book just to clear my mind. I have a few short stories I’d like to write. And there are two proposals I’d like to flesh out just to get some new projects cooking.
For now, I’m still in the glow of finishing the novel. It was a tough one. They always are, I guess, but this book was odd because I had the ending from the words I cut from Twelve Kings, which was good in a way (to have the ending in mind), but it was difficult to reconcile where I was headed in the book NOW versus where the ending was when I had written it a few years ago.
I think it all worked out in the end. I’m too close to it at this point to tell what’s working and what isn’t. Help me, beta readers, help me! And then it’ll be off to Draft 2, which will go to my editors, after which I’ll work on the (hopefully) final draft.
Wish me luck!