Licanius #2 - An Echo of Things To Come

Archived progress reports are below.

As at 02/2017

This progress update is the last 'official' one for AEoTTC! My focus is now shifting to the next book, so I'm intending to archive these updates as of next month and will start creating progress reports for Book 3 instead.

Copyediting took up a couple of weeks this month, particularly as I spent some time revamping the glossary (we’re including an extensive one for AEoTTC, which I know plenty of people will be pleased about). Everything's now complete and submitted, though, which means that I’m free to start looking ahead to the final book. I’ve already finished a basic outline (12k words) and am 10k words into a hybrid 'detailed outline / first draft' - this is actually something new that I’m trying, which in theory will speed up my writing process by making it more efficient. We’ll see how it goes; I’ll no doubt get a better idea of how much it might improve my timeline (if at all) over the next couple of months.

Unfortunately, it also seems that the release date of AEoTTC has been slightly pushed back - Amazon now lists it as August 22. Once again, this is an UNOFFICIAL date, and is no doubt still subject to change based on Orbit’s marketing and production schedule. I will, of course, let everyone know the moment I hear it's been set in stone.

EDIT: The August release date is now official!

As at 01/2017

Some excellent news this month: the editing phase is complete and AEoTTC has now started moving into production! I’ll be receiving the copyedited manuscript in the next day or two for a final run through, but for all intents and purposes, the book can now be considered ‘done’.

In terms of a release date, June is still looking likely – as some of you have already noted, the Amazon pre-order page has it listed for June 13th – but I’ll post here as soon as there's any more official news.

Work on Book 3 is also now properly underway, and I’ll start giving separate progress reports for it fairly soon!

As at 12/2016

Sorry to everyone for the very late update this month – I’ve been spending every possible moment focused on edits, and didn’t want to worry about anything else until they were complete.

So as you can probably infer, the current round of edits is finished! The new manuscript has been handed off to Orbit, and now it’s a case of waiting to see what they think of the changes. I’m very happy with this version, so I’m hoping that any future editing passes will be mostly line edits and minor tweaks.

After some long hours in November and early December, I’m finding myself badly in need of a break, so I can’t imagine that I’ll be doing a great deal more writing between now and Christmas. Instead, I’m aiming to catch up on e-mails during that period (I have close to 100 to respond to at the moment!), and generally get myself organised for 2017. As this means that there won’t be a great deal of progress to report between now and Jan 1st, expect the next update to be on Feb 1st instead.

(If I have news of the AEoTTC release date prior to that, I will add a special update here, as well as e-mail everyone who has signed up above. The current, UNOFFICIAL estimate is still June 2017.)

As at 10/2016

A very brief update for October, because I have been much busier than I expected to be leading up to the hardcover launch of The Shadow of What Was Lost. I'm pleased with how editing for AEoTTC has gone thus far – the changes being made are undoubtedly for the best - however, with key pieces of information being shifted around, there are also more adjustments to make throughout the book than I originally anticipated. So between that and my other obligations, I suspect I might be looking at the entirety of November (possibly even longer, though I hope not!) before edits are complete.

As at 09/2016

Edits are back for AEoTTC! I received initial notes from my editor at the end of September, and have now started working my way through them. There’s a fair bit to do - more than for TSoWWL - so it could be a little while (a month, maybe longer) before I’m finished. Even if everything’s not complete by November, though, I daresay I’ll at least have a much better idea of a timeline from there.

Like my edits for the first book, the focus is now largely on strengthening the worldbuilding and clarifying various plot points: nothing’s been raised that is story-changing or that will require massive rewrites. This being my first sequel, there’s also been a learning curve in figuring out how much ground to retread in order to remind readers of what happened in TSoWWL - to that end, we’re aiming to add a quick synopsis of TSoWWL to the beginning of AEoTTC, to provide a convenient recap for anyone who hasn’t read the first book recently.

Work on book 3 will obviously pause as I finish off AEoTTC, but once edits are complete, I’ll be straight back into it!

As at 08/2016

Most of August has been spent doing prep work for book 3. In particular, I’ve been going over the remaining ongoing storylines and making sure that all their resolutions will fit nicely into the final book’s structure. It’s been slow, as this stage usually is, but it is starting to take shape.

There’s nothing new to report for AEoTTC at this stage, I’m afraid – edits are ongoing - as always, as soon as I’m given a release date, I’ll announce it here.

As at 07/2016

As expected, not much to report for this month, even though it’s been quite busy - my time has been spent mostly responding to e-mails, catching up with the last of my beta readers, and doing some initial outlining for book 3. I’ll be continuing to prepare for book 3 over the next month until edits come back for AEoTTC.

As at 06/2016

A month of productive beta feedback has left the current draft of AEoTTC in pretty good shape, and it’s now been submitted to Orbit for editing. Beta readers’ reactions, encouragingly, have been very positive. I have no doubt that there's still some more refining to do, but overall, I’m really happy with how it's turned out.

I’m intending to spend a little time away from the book over the next few weeks, letting the remainder of the beta readers get me their feedback, and then approaching it fresh when it comes back with my editors’ notes. I’ll be using that time to catch up on some of my e-mails (which I am woefully behind on), and start some very early planning for book 3.

As at 05/2016

The beta draft of AEoTTC is complete! The final word count is 224k, almost exactly the same length as TSoWWL. There will undoubtedly still be things to tweak and fix, and I definitely need to take another run at some of the prose before it goes to my editor - but otherwise, the story is now to the stage where I'll be leaning on feedback to make any further improvements.

I'll continue to update this page each month with how the beta reading and editing processes are going. Also, for those wondering, the moment I have any news to share about a release date for AEoTTC (warning: still a while away!), it will be posted here as well as on Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads.

As at 04/2016

I’m now well into revisions for the beta draft of AEoTTC. It’s currently sitting at 240k words - a bit longer than I’d anticipated - but after edits should be trimmed back down to a more reasonable 220k-230k.

Though the majority of the work is now out of the way, there are still a few final adjustments to make before the book gets to beta readers. Some chapters have unnecessary dialogue or info dumps that need to be cut/reworked, and other sections could use fleshing out or tweaking so that aspects of the plot are clearer. Once that’s all done, I’ll also have to do a start-to-finish read to make sure everything’s still consistent after editing.

Hopefully, all of this can be completed within the next month - in which case beta reading will begin sometime in early June.

As at 03/2016

Another month of reasonably good progress has finished with the AEoTTC beta draft at 220k words, and now very close to completion. There's only roughly another 10k-15k words (one chapter and epilogue) to go, after which I'll start on the final run-through/revision process. It's hard to say exactly how long the latter will take - it largely depends on how much I find needs further attention - but at this stage, I am hoping/expecting that this beta draft will be 100% ready by early June.

As at 02/2016

A pretty good February in terms of progress, with the AEOTTC beta draft reaching 180k words.

There’s roughly 40k-50k words left to write for this draft, which means another month’s work should bring it fairly close to completion. I’ll then be aiming to do a couple of revision read-throughs - there are plenty of scenes I need to tidy up, and I already have a few pages of post-draft tweaks that need to be applied. It’s hard to know exactly how long that side of things will take, but it’s all relatively minor stuff so I don’t anticipate it being hugely time-consuming.

Once those minor revisions are done and I’m satisfied AEOTTC is in a solidly ‘readable’ state, I’ll start running it past some of my initial beta readers.

As at 01/2016

Things have been even busier than usual around here, so I’ll make this update a brief one: the AEOTTC beta draft is now up to 130k words. Though I was originally aiming to be at 150k words by this point, some of this month has been dedicated to going back and editing TSOWWL for its forthcoming ‘traditional’ publication. I’ll be announcing more on that fairly soon over on the Goodreads blog.

Aside from the shortfall in word count, though, everything is still coming together nicely. All going well, the current draft should be completed by late March or early April.

As at 12/2015

A final update for the year: the AEOTTC beta draft is now at 110,000 words, or approximately half-way to completion. I’m finishing up 2015 a few months behind where I’d hoped to be, but – all things considered – I’m actually pleased with where things are at right now.

Progress over the past month has been solid. This draft is where some of the hardest decisions have to be made about what to cut and what to keep – a couple of ideas in particular I really liked and tried very hard to keep, but ultimately they were muddying rather than adding to the overall story. Cutting those involved a fair amount of tweaking and rewriting, but the plot to date is more focused now and I’m happy with the result.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be spending time with family, so I don’t anticipate the above word count to increase significantly before the end of the year. However, I should have a good amount of time to devote to this draft in January. I’m realistically hoping to be at 150k words by my next update.

Speaking of which: now I’m back into routine again, I’ll be posting a new update on (or very close to) the last day of each month, beginning in January. I figure this slightly more structured schedule will give everyone who checks this page a better idea of when to expect new information.

As at 10/2015

Following a pretty exciting/chaotic couple of months personally, the beta draft of AEOTTC is at about 70k words. That’s partly due to my taking some time off in September after the birth of my daughter – in fact, I’ve only really managed to re-establish some semblance of a writing routine over the past couple of weeks. It’s also partly due to some much-needed polishing and tightening of the opening chapters, though, so the relatively stagnant word count isn’t indicative of a complete lack of progress.

As far as my timeline goes, I’m still aiming to finish the current draft early next year. Ideally this would mean by the end of February, but whether that’s realistic I probably won’t know until around Christmas. Regardless – with regular life settling down again, I’m confident that I can get a lot more done over the next three or four months.

I intend to post one more (hopefully significant) progress update in 2015, just prior to Christmas. If all goes to plan, I'll be indicating a likely start date for the beta reading process around then too.

As at 08/2015

Unfortunately, progress over these past two months has been slower than I'd hoped - I've currently completed 60k words of the beta draft, which is almost exactly half of what I was aiming for. Partly this has been due to baby preparations (my wife and I are expecting our first child next month), and partly because the revision process is simply taking longer than I'd anticipated. No doubt as I do this more and more over the coming years, I'll be better able to gauge how long each draft should take.

Current pace now suggests the beta draft will be completed in February, but it's also worth mentioning that I have no idea how much (if at all) the baby being born will affect that timeline. All I can really promise at this stage is that I'm putting every spare moment towards writing, and that I'll continue to update here every month or two with how things are progressing.

As at 06/2015

As planned, I've managed to complete a good amount of the AEOTTC second draft revisions / tweaking while travelling over the past month. I expect to finish up that process early next week and start on Draft 3 directly after.

With the story structurally locked in now, I should (hopefully) be able to increase my daily word count while working on the next draft. The aim is to write ~60k words per month until the end of October, finishing the third draft around then and immediately moving into the beta reading process. That's a hard pace, but I'm fairly confident it's a target I can hit - the next couple of months will give me a clearer idea of whether I'm being realistic, or whether I'll need a little extra time to finish up. Either way, I'll continue to update here accordingly.

As at 04/2015

Draft 2 of AEOTTC is complete! I'm a few weeks ahead of schedule, and (more importantly) very happy with how the story is coming together. There's still a lot of work to do, but in many ways the hardest part of the process is now behind me.

My output for this month was 60k words, meaning that the finished draft weighs in at around 240k. However there are plenty of scenes still to be cut / consolidated / added to / completely changed in Draft 3, so that word count (currently 15k more than TSOWWL) probably isn't indicative of the book's final length.

Next up is a light 'Draft 2.5' revision process, which I'll work on during flights and in downtime while I'm travelling over the next month or so. I'll be back home mid-June, and all being well expect to start Draft 3 - the draft that will ultimately go out to my first beta readers - around then.

As at 03/2015

Fell behind a little on word count this month - the second draft is now at 180k words, rather than the projected 190k - simply due to external factors (i.e. 'everyday life') taking up more time than expected. Overall, nothing to be too concerned about though. I'm still pleased with how things are progressing, and there's no change to the plan to have this draft completed by the end of May.

As at 02/2015

There were no major surprises to report for February - the second draft is now up to 160k words, and continues to progress as anticipated.

Once this draft is complete (hopefully by the end of May), I'll spend a few weeks revising it into a 'Draft 2.5' - basically just Draft 2, but with an ultra-rough adding/removing/tweaking of scenes to make sure the more recent changes I've decided upon work as expected. Once that's done and I'm satisfied with how everything fits together, I'll start on the third draft.

As at 01/2015

Without 'day job' work to contend with, January's been an extremely productive month - the second draft of AEOTTC is now up to 130k words. Unfortunately progress will slow again as my normal work/writing hours resume, but it's been an interesting indication of what's possible if this eventually becomes a full time endeavour.

On a more qualitative front, the pacing of this draft (thus far) is a marked improvement over the first, and it doesn't look like subsequent drafts will require any major plot changes. If that remains the case, the third draft - which I'm currently aiming to complete around September - will likely be 'finished' enough to end up in the hands of early beta readers.

As at 12/2014

The second draft of AEOTTC is currently at 65k words. Though this means I'm slightly behind on my 30k-per-month goal, it's actually well ahead of where I expected to be given that Christmas is such a busy time of year. January, in contrast, should provide me with plenty of opportunities to write - I anticipate I'll more than make up the 5k deficit within the next month.

As at 11/2014

Despite some distractions this month, the second draft of AEOTTC is now up to 40k words. The new outline's holding up fairly well, with only a few minor deviations needed thus far to improve the flow of the story. The actual writing is still pretty rough, but I'm generally happy with the events of the early chapters now. In short, everything's progressing as planned.

As at 10/2014

Earlier this month, I completed what ended up being a fairly detailed outline for the second draft of AEOTTC - I'm quite happy with how it turned out. While things will still inevitably change as I write, this draft should be a lot more organised and come much closer to looking like a complete, cohesive novel.

I've now made a start on writing the new draft, and am up to 10k words. For reference, I expect the full draft to be approximately 240k words (eventually edited down to around the 225k mark of TSOWWL). My aim is to produce roughly 30k words per month from now until next July.

As at 09/2014

The first draft of AEOTTC is now complete. I'm currently reviewing it to see which parts are worth keeping - so far there are some good individual scenes, but the overall structure needs a lot of work. It's a typical first draft for me, basically.

If there's one noteable thing to come out of this process, it's that I'm now 90% sure the book doesn't need - and therefore won't contain - any new POV characters. I know this goes against the grain for epic fantasy, but I think it will make for a better-paced and more focused story in AEOTTC. It was my intent to do things this way all along, but first I had to ensure I could make it work without sacrificing scope. I'm pretty confident I can do just that, now.

Anyway, over the next few weeks I'll continue to review the first draft, then re-outline based on what I decide to keep. The second draft should hopefully be underway within the next month.

As at 08/2014

Work is well underway on the sequel to The Shadow Of What Was Lost. As of mid-August 2014, the first (very rough) draft has reached about 200k words. It's worth noting that a lot of that will be scrapped as I move on to subsequent drafts, so the book is still some time away from completion. I hope to have AEOTTC published towards the end of next year, or at worst in early 2016.