WIPW: Press Start

Another year, another Wednesday spent talking about what I’m working on. Start as you mean to go on, I guess.

Last week, I finished the first draft of the sixth book of 2016 just before the ball dropped. At 110,000 words, it’s only 20,000 words over the commissioned limit, which is pretty good, for me. I’m not satisfied with it, obviously. There are things that need fixing – the transition between Act 2 and Act 3 needs some work. Some of the character interactions need smoothing out, and I’m fairly certain there are some bursts of necessary exposition that need trimming so that certain scenes flow a bit more quickly.

Still, all in all, I’m happy with it. It’s a bit of a big, ridiculous blockbuster sort of thing – characters racing against time, vaguely gigantic stakes, exotic locales, giant monsters – but there’s some nice, quiet stuff in there as well. Also a conversation about giant turtles and what kind of currency you use, if you live on one.

As with previous Age of Sigmar novels, the bad guys were the highlight to work on – the skaven in particular. I may have spent too much time with them, in fact. Then, maybe not. My editor might request more skaven. One can only hope.

At the moment, I’m working on a short story for an anthology I was invited to submit to. It’s a Royal Occultist story, but one set prior to St. Cyprian’s tenure. Instead, it follows Sir Edwin Drood and his apprentice, Thomas Carnacki, as they investigate a case of phantasmal courtship, strange equine creatures, and the dark legacy of the British sack of Manila, during the Seven Years War. Drood has appeared in the Royal Occultist stories before, albeit in much diminished circumstances, and Carnacki is hopefully no stranger to anyone reading this.

It’s an interesting story to work on, less punchy-punchy-run-run and more thoughtful. Drood is more melancholic than St. Cyprian. He’s a world-weary sort, and his approach to problems reflects a decidedly spiritual outlook. There’s a lot going on beneath the surface of the story, as well. It touches on imperialism, racism, misogyny, the whole ball of wax. Not my usual sort of thing – I tend to err on the side of fun. Not a lot of jokes in this one, but neither is it doom and gloom.

I dunno. I’m stretching my muscles a bit. We’ll see what happens. I’m about 2,000 words in, and hoping to be finished by Sunday. I’m aiming for about 6,000 words or so, but that could very well change.

Next week, I need to start working on the sequel to Fabius Bile: Primogenitor, which is tentatively titled Clonelord, but which I’m referring to as Novel 1. I can’t really say much about what it’s about, save that it’s building on some of the subplots of the first volume, in ways that very few readers will likely expect. The first draft is due around the end of March, so I’ll be aiming to knock out the first third of it by the end of January, if possible.

And that’s it for this week. Though, if you’re of a mind, I’d ask you to check out my new e-short, “A Trick of the Light”, available to download from either the Black Library site, or straight from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.