A few things

Just a couple of items about progress and whatnot!

1. I’m nearing the final stretch of PRINCESSES III.

Stay on target! Stay on target! PRINCESSES III should be done soon!

I’m not sure how my writing pace will keep up, because I have a couple of complex set pieces to write still, and Big Set Pieces always challenge me. Lots of stop-and-start, some doodling of the setting, back-and-forth, writing-and-deleting, and that sort of thing goes on before I eventually get it right. And then, inevitably, when I work through the manuscript later in the year, I’ll think the whole thing stinks anyway. But I really hope to get this draft done by May 15. (May 11 would be better, because that’s the 6-month anniversary of the STARDANCER release!)

2. My daughter (henceforth referred here, as in other places, as The Daughter) has been reading STARDANCER, and she has opinions on the direction of the series. Which she texts me. At length.

The Daughter has opinions on the direction of PRINCESSES IN SPACE II. #AmWriting

Her opinion has received some backing from other readers! Well, I like teen romance more than she does, apparently, but still, the point is well taken, and without getting too spoilery for my own books, for the most part she needn’t worry. The romance is a part of the overall story, but at no point will it take over and become the main focus. I will offer this much: there is a bit of teen love angst in STARDANCER II: MORE STARS, MORE DANCING (not the actual title), but not a whole lot. It is, though, front-loaded in the book’s first few chapters before other things start happening. I do hope and plan to avoid the trap of allowing love and romance to counteract a character’s agency, because it really does suck when that happens. But more on that this November!

3. I’ve decided that on May 12, I will reveal the Actual Title of PRINCESSES IN SPACE II: TARIANA AND MARGETH’S BOGUS JOURNEY (not the actual title). Stay tuned!

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As I write this, I’m entering the climactic part of the story in PRINCESSES IN SPACE III: PRINCESSES ON PARADE (not the actual title), and as the story starts to wind up, some things have been on my mind. As I’ve noted many a time, I only usually have the vaguest idea what happens in a book when I start writing one, and I half-pants, half-outline my way through it, figuring that an ending will present itself at some point, as will the story’s general flavor. At this point, just about everything that is yet to come is pretty much settled in my mind, and all I have to do is work it from my mind into the computer.

That said, I’m also realizing something else: that this third book in this series is not that much like the first two, other than being an extension of that story. In much the same way, the second book had its own flavor and focus that set it aside from the first book. I think and hope that the fact that I didn’t basically write the same story three times, and that I changed things up in terms of focus and style, will be good for The Song of Forgotten Stars as a series. More than ever I’m thrilled to see this tale slowly unfold!

And now, back to the Startrails….

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Progress Report

So, how are things going? Well, when I’m actively producing a first draft, I track my daily output in a spreadsheet. Here’s a photo of that spreadsheet, from the beginning of March:

Day 4: Fresh! Lots of fresh words going into Book III of late! #AmWriting #takentodaymarch15

Note that I started March with 106,522 words in the book.

As of tonight, here’s where we stand:

Off to a torrid start this month! #AmWriting

So in 36 days I’ve written a little under 45,000 words. Cool!

What does that mean, though , in terms of the book itself? Well, my goal on the first two books in The Song of Forgotten Stars was a first draft of 180K words. Stardancer came in a little under that (but not much), and Princesses II: Electric Boogaloo (not the actual title) came in a little over it (but not much). I am currently expecting Princesses III: Flight of the Bumblebee (not the actual title) to come in over the 180K target by more than Princesses II, but still not by a huge amount. Maybe around 190K. There’s a lot that happens in the final act, and in general, this book is turning out to be the most structurally complex of the series thus far.

Obviously I don’t want to say too much, but seeing the evolution of this book as it’s crystallized in my mind has been really interesting. I’m doing some things differently this time, in terms of narrative structure, that I didn’t do in the first two, and this one has a totally different flavor, as well. I like that each of these books goes to different places, does different things, and focuses on other characters and relationships. I wish I could say more, but you’ll all see what I’m talking about, in November 2016 when Book III comes out!

(But this is funny: when I started the book, I actually knew what the last scene was. Each one of these books ends with something like a Marvel superhero movie post-credits thing that sets up something in the next book, and I knew what this book’s ending cliffhanger was going to be, so I wrote it first, before even starting with Chapter One.

And now, things that have come to me since I started Chapter One have made it necessary for me to rewrite that cliffhanger scene! I love when my own writing surprises me.)

More updates to come! I’ll certainly announce when I’m done with this draft, because when I am, it’s time to start getting Princesses II ready for its November 2015 debut.

So, onward and upward! Zap! Pow!!

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