*Cue gargantuan sigh of relief*
My main goal was to finish this book before our second daughter was born. Well, she hasn't arrived yet, and is due in mid-October, so I'm on track there, at least! (Most of the above sigh of relief comes from the fact that I can now take some time off when the baby is born to spend time with new baby, little B, and Rachel with a clear conscience and nothing burning a hole in my plate, as it were.) That said, this book took longer than I'd anticipated, and I did have to extend my deadline by about a month (typically my Chaos Queen books are due in August the year prior to their release). Fortunately my publisher and editor were very understanding, and graciously gave me that leeway.*
This book was a blast to write, and for a few reasons. One, while many of the characters have been spread out geographically over the past few books, almost all of them converge into more or less the same space in Fear the Stars, and it's been a lot of fun to write those interactions. Also, I got to write two major sequences that I've been looking forward to writing since Duskfall--in the case of one of the sequences, since long before Duskfall. These two scenes, in part, inspired the Chaos Queen Quintet itself, and it was a really gratifying, cathartic experience to finally actually write them.
Also...this is a really good book, I think. Probably the best one yet. Which makes sense, because I hope I'm getting better with each book I write, but still. I think this will be a really good one.
I always like to provide a few details when finishing a book, partially for transparency's sake but mostly I just find the info and stats interesting. Admittedly I haven't been super consistent with which draft I've provided this information for--for Duskfall it was the very first finished draft of the book, for Dark Immolation it was a revised draft, for Blood Requiem the very first finished draft again, and now for Fear the Stars it's back to another revised draft. Part the reason behind this inconsistency lies in the fact that my first drafts are usually...very rough. I often skip a few scenes while writing that first draft, knowing I'll add them in with the first revision; the ending is sometimes barely more than a skeleton of what it will eventually become; characters are added and deleted; etc. So in most cases, I don't feel the very first draft I finish even represents a full book (although the first drafts of Duskfall and Blood Requiem, at least, were much closer than those of Dark Immolation and Fear the Stars!).
Anyway, all that is to say: on to the details for Fear the Stars!
- Title: Fear the Stars. I'll be honest, the titles of the middle three books of the Chaos Queen Quintet are perhaps just a little more abstract than I'd like my titles to be, mainly for accessibility (re: marketing). I mean, who am I kidding, Duskfall and Dawnrise, the titles of books 1 and 5 are a little abstract as well, but at least they have some symmetry. So I guess the abstruse titles are sort of a theme in and of themselves, now? Basically: in retrospect I don't think the Chaos Queen titles, especially the middle three titles, do a lot for the books from a marketing perspective. That said, I like them, and I suppose that counts for something, yeah?
- Version: 2.2 - I kind of covered this a few paragraphs ago, but this means it's a revised version of the book. 2.0 denotes a full revision, and any ticks in that first decimal place indicate minor changes made after or in supplement to that full revision. I will say, however, that I am very happy with this version of the book. I haven't been this pleased with a draft I've placed in my editor's hands since Duskfall; while I am very happy with the published versions of books two and three, the versions I first handed in to my editor still had some significant work to be done on them. I think this one will probably go through some changes as well, but it is very solid.
- Total Word Count:187,625. That's a lot, and technically the longest draft I've ever turned in to my editor (Duskfall was at 162,000, Dark Immolation at 177,200, and Blood Requiem at a measly 131,600. There's actually funny story about the lengths of the final versions of those books, but this post is already getting long so I'll save it for another time). But a lot is happening in this book, so I think it'll probably end up being the largest of the Quintet, unless something really surprises me in book 5.
- Chapters: 48, not including an Epilogue and an Interlude. (So 50 total, I guess.)
- Viewpoint Characters: Yikes...we're at 10, cont 'em, ten viewpoint characters now, not including 2-3 minor viewpoints that recur throughout the book. That's a lot, but then again I'm also on book 4 of a 5-book dark fantasy epic, so it makes sense.
- Start Date: Sometime in November or December of last year, I think? I really need to remember to mark the date I actually START novels.
- End Date: 2 October 2018. Fugging nailed it, ya'll.
So, Fear the Stars. It's gonna be big, ya'll.
* On a side note, I think in part I'm granted that leeway because, when I have gone over deadline, I've tried to anticipate it, alert my editor beforehand, and then give them a solid date for a new deadline and stick to it, which so far has never been more than 6-8 weeks out from the original deadline. The more professional thing, of course, would be to stick to the deadlines in the first place, and typically I try to do that, but on occasion life does get in the way, and I consider this way of going about extending a deadline much more professional than just watching the deadline pass me by, putting the onus on my editor to follow up and bug me about it, and then either letting the same thing happen with the next deadline, or not giving them a projected new deadline at all.