I’ve just done my last pass of the proofreading and editing of The Prime. The corrections were getting pretty trivial, so I decided it was time to move on. Now I’m going to try something new with this book. With my previous books I went on from final proofing to formatting the final presentation version of the ebook. Only after that did I record it for the audiobook. My reasoning was that it was a lot easier to make corrections to text than to audio, so don’t do the recording until you have the final text version complete. That is changing this time. I’m going to use the reading and recording as the final proofing. Reading it out loud can sometimes expose errors or awkwardness, so it will give me one last chance to improve it before releasing it into the wild. On the downside, it means a longer wait for publication. On the upside, it means a shorter wait for the audiobook after publication.
There’s something else I have to sort out. The Prime has been my working title, and I’ve begun to think of it as the real title, but I’m not sure about that. I’ve been trying to think of something to replace it with, but nothing is coming to me yet.
The recording of The Plainsrunner is finished. It comes to a total of about ten hours of listening. Now I need to polish it up, which includes running it through a normalizer to to ensure continuity across all files, and adjusting the gain so the audio is at an acceptable volume. Then comes the conversion to formats suitable for normal audio players, MP3 and OGG. Not long after that I’ll be releasing it into the world.
The OliverOnline Book Club serialization of The Plainsrunner is now officially and irrevocably over. The files containing the chapters have been removed from this site, and the links to them on the OliverOnline site are now dead. Thank you to all who participated and I hope you were able to complete your set of chapters before they were destroyed.
Shameless plug: You can still get the complete set bound in a beautiful book, available for a reasonable price at Kobo Books along with all the other book stores listed in this post.
We have been running this experiment since the middle of March, posting one or two chapters a week of the novel I am currently writing — The Plainsrunner. It is a bit of a shock to realize that we’ve been at it for four months already. That’s a lot longer than it took Sage to get to the city, and she had to walk.
It occurred to me that I should write this halftime report, to explore the process and how I feel about it. It’s what people do, right? They always do it in hockey and soccer games. People working on an extended project usually take some time partway through to assess their progress and make plans for its completion. So why shouldn’t we do it for this book? …
The first thing I’d like to say is that I’m enjoying writing this book, and I’m enjoying sharing it as we go. I’ve never done this before, at least not just like this. I have shared portions of uncompleted novels before. While Green Comet was released whole and complete, the sequels in the trilogy — Parasite Puppeteers and The Francesians — were released in portions. What I called extensions, because I was just adding extensions to the Green Comet universe. Parasite Puppeteers had eight extensions, but The Francesians had only four, because I discovered that there’s a lot of work involved in proofing and formatting and releasing and announcing several different versions of a story, and four is easier than eight. Now, with The Plainsrunner, it looks as if I’ve taken a step backward. Maybe even two or more steps. Because instead of releasing it in four or eight parts, it looks as if it will end up being around thirty parts by the time we’re done. Fortunately I’m only releasing one version, PDF, so that cuts down the work quite a bit. Enough that I’m still able to enjoy the process of writing and sharing the book.
So, what have I enjoyed about it? Primarily, what I always enjoy about writing novels. The months, or more likely years, of focusing every day on adding to the growing story. Watching the story develop as I write it. Seeing what happens next. Learning more about my characters as I get to know them better. Pointing them where I want them to go, and following along, describing what they do to get there.
I have the advantage of you, my readers, because I know what my characters are going to do and what is going to happen to them. I know how the story is going to end even before I start writing it. I know whether this character is going to die, and whether that one is going to live happily ever after. But at the same time, they can surprise me, just as much as they can surprise you. I will know what has to happen in this day’s writing as I put in the necessary points to move the story along, but sometimes the characters can surprise me by how they do it. Sometimes new characters can even appear out of nowhere. For example, I met Buzzard, a major character in the Green Comet trilogy, at exactly the same time you did: when the door to the shop swung open. So there is a lot to enjoy about writing, and it’s all there in the writing of The Plainsrunner.
How could it be better? More downloads. More readers. More feedback. Especially more feedback. We’re in this together, you and I, and you can help by letting me know how it’s going. Is it worth your effort to read it? I know it’s worth it to keep writing it, but what about all that extra work to share it?
And that is the halftime report on the serialization of my novel, The Plainsrunner, on OliverOnline. Briefly: so far, so good. What do you think?