I... I think I've just sent in the first draft of the new book...
It's rough around the edges, with some bits missing, some chapters blank... I don't mind this at all, because when my agent and me editor look at a first draft like this, they're focussing on the big picture, things like;
Does the story make sense?
Does the story work?
Are the characters consistent?
Is it as tense as it needs to be?
Does it have enough pace?
Is the book any GOOD?
These are all things I don't know, because when your head is down and you're working away, you can't look up and step back far enough to see how everything slots together. I hope they don't have any major issues with it. I hope they like it. I hope they think it's GOOD.
As I explained in a previous post, I scrapped most of what I'd written for this book at the end of December and started again. In the last month, I've had to average about twice my usual daily word amount to reach the deadline. It has been as HELLISH as it has been rewarding. I've barely been able to take any breaks, not even for twitter. The work isn't over, of course it's not, there's still a lot to do — and if my editor or agent find any major flaws in the book, that work will double.
But I managed it. I got the first draft done by writing twice as much per day as usual, and the only way I could do that was by having ridiculous amounts of fun. I wish I could tell you about it — I wish I could tell you the title that spun it off in this brand new direction — but all these things are yet to come.
Right now, though, we are gearing up to release the Armageddon Outta Here paperback in two days. As usual, I found myself in a Catch-22 position. I had a paperback coming out of a book most of you already bought in hardback (or trade paperback — the hardback-sized paperbacks), and I know a lot of you would want every edition available — because you're uber-geeks, just like me. So I wanted to give you an extra story or two (or three, as it turned out) to make it worthwhile. Of course, by including new stories, it kinda also makes people who were NOT intending to buy the paperback want to buy it, cuz they want the new stuff.
I don't like making my readers buy multiple copies of my books. If you want to, hey, go right ahead, I won't stop you, but I've never wanted anyone to feel left out if they don't buy every edition. There are some things, unfortunately, that I can't win no matter what I do. So apologies, for those who feel like they ARE missing out. That was not my intention.
But what ARE these new stories? Well, for those Billy-Ray fans out there, two of these stories are about him. They were sequences that just wouldn't fit in the last few books. Death and Texas throws our favourite hit man deluxe into a Texas Chainsaw Massacre situation, with a notable twist. Eye of the Beholder, meanwhile, explores some of his history — including how and why he lost his eyes.
And then there's Theatre of Shadows. The original version of this was written in an afternoon, behind the scenes at the roleplaying event in Dublin last year. It was at this time that I learned one very important lesson about writing — don't try to write and publish a story in the same day.
The original was flawed. This new version is radically different, and it takes the original's place in canon. So that story that was sent to everyone who took part is now a one-off, never to be reprinted.
There are some other, minor changes to one or two other stories in the collection. For instance, I noticed a mistake too late in Across a Dark Plain, which made a mess of where the story sits in continuity. This mistake is now fixed, as will be a corresponding mistake in one of the books. Remember when the Dead Men were talking about the war, and Shudder's birthday? There was a pretty significant typo that I hadn't spotted, which basically set that story a hundred years after I had meant it to take place. All that is now changed, and once again the stories make sense.
The paperback is out on Thursday, and right now I'm going to go shopping. The cupboards are bare. I won't be able to poke my head up for too long, though — I got work to do.
Good thing I love it.