Monday, August 15, 2016

DARK IMMOLATION (The World Turned Upside Down)

Folks, this morning I (FINALLY!) emailed my agent a revised draft of Dark Immolation (Book 2 of the Chaos Queen Quintet).

I could not feel more relieved.

Revising this book has been incredibly difficult, and that's putting it lightly. I'll likely write a post or two in the future talking about the specifics, but here's the short of it: because of (1) life circumstances and problems and (2) the learning curve behind writing a five-book series, this book took me forever, and it's easily the most difficult thing I've ever written. I'd heard that once I started writing professionally there'd be times where the writing would just become straight up work, losing basically any attraction or redeeming quality that might've drawn me to it in the first place. The last six months, more or less, have been one long instance of that.

The good news? That moment has now passed, and I can RELAX.

That said, let's talk about the book!

Some of you may remember that when I finished the first draft of Duskfall, I wrote a blog post about it. It was actually the very first post on this blog, so that's kind of cool thing to remember. But I neglected to do this for the first draft of Dark Immolation (mainly because my daughter was born right around the time I finished it, but also because the feels of existential dread and agonizing inadequacy regarding this book were already setting in), so I'm going to give you some stats about the book right now. Check it:

  • Title: Dark Immolation - Still a working title, but the fact that it's in the frontmatter of Duskfall makes me think it might be permanent. I don't mind; I like the title, I came up with it after all, and I've been playing with some new tentative titles for books 3 and 4 that compliment "Dark Immolation" help with the symmetry of the series.
  • Version: 2.4 - So this is technically the second draft, (that's what the 2 stands for), although I've made so many passes at it over the past 8 months that you could technically count it as the third or fourth draft if you were so inclined; that's what the 4 represents--some other revision passes during this aggregate "second draft" phase. There were also a few minor drafts between 2.3 and 2.4 (2.3.1, 2.3.2, etc.), so, yeah...this novel has gone through the wringer.
  • Total Word Count: 212,500 words - For reference, the first draft of Duskfall was around 184K, while the final draft clocked in at just under 150K. The first draft of Dark Immolation, on the other hand, ended up being a whopping 265K, so I feel pretty good that I've already gotten it down to 212. That said, there's still a lot of trimming that needs to happen. I'll feel happy if I can get it under 190K by the time it's in final draft form. We'll see!
  • Chapters: 52 and an Epilogue
  • Viewpoint Characters: 7, with a number of other minor viewpoints at varying degrees of inclusion. That's two more major POVs than the first book, for reference.
  • Start date: October 2014
  • End date: August 2016 - Those numbers are slightly deceiving, as I finished the first draft sometime in Julyish of 2015, and started the second draft in December of that year. That said, that was a lot longer than I'd hoped to spend on this book. I'll really just need to write an entire post about why, but again, to summarize, DI has been incredibly difficult, but also a huge learning process, and what I've learned will profoundly affect how I move forward into Book 3.
So, that's the gist of it! Stay tuned for more info on the DI process, a mini Southwestern US book tour we're doing in September, Salt Lake Comic Con info, and more!

In the meantime, here's the song that's been playing over and over in my head (and through my speakers) since I hit the send button on that email to my agent. The fiery adrenaline, strange emptiness, and sweet relief of victory, my friends*:

* Yeah...I've become total #Hamiltrash and I DON'T CARE WHO KNOWS IT.

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