Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

The Plans You Make You Can Unmake

Originally published at Ben Peek. You can comment here or there.


Yesterday, I reached 95k on the second book of the Children Trilogy, and I began writing a chapter entitled ‘An Innocent Man’.

At this point in time, it will have little meaning to most of you, perhaps all, but it is a reasonably important chapter. I have been building to it for a while now and once it is finished, I will be into the final parts of the book, where enemies meet enemies, betrayals meet betrayals, and so on and so forth until enough bad things have happened to justify exhaustion in terms of narrative conclusion. Or something like that. Either way, I will probably end up somewhere between 140 to 150k, a length that I originally thought would be about right, back in May of last year. Of course, last year, once I mapped out the chapters, the general plot, and such, I thought I could condense some elements and bring it to 120k, which was a much more comfortable length for me to hit in the deadline. Like most things in life, your original thought returns to haunt you, but baring anything unforseen, the deadline will be hit.

I roughly write about a thousand new words a day, when I am writing new things, and while the simple math of that argues that I should be further and written perhaps two books of equal length, I don’t write new words every day. I revise a fair bit, and occasionally I sit around and think about how something should happen, and I teach so that the rent is paid without hassle. Occasionally I spent time in an ER (last Friday I took my friend, and he’s fine, thank you for asking) and once and a while, the power supply on my laptop dies, and my girlfriend and I might have had new bookshelves arrive and they might have needed to be arranged. I also like to spent time with my girlfriend when not arranging bookshelves, although, if I were honest with you, I do enjoy that time a little more than is perhaps healthy. To a less extend, I like to spend time with my friends, as well. But you know how your friends are: they’re all Fleetwood Mac on their Spotify, reminding you you need a new phone because your drug dealer nokia phone is too small and cheap to take their smartphone images, and asking for rides to the ER. You have to measure it out.

But there’s also other things, like other books, and edits on the previous book. After Julie Crisp had finished with The Godless I added about 20k to the book, which sharpened and defined the worldbuilding quite well, I thought (in the debate of self published vs traditional published books, I rarely hear people talk about editors, and the work they do, which is a shame, but that is perhaps a different post altogether). It also meant that, for the second book, I had to go through all that I’d written and make sure it was all up to date. I didn’t put as many new words into Dead Americans, but I didn’t expect to do so in a collection of largely already published work, but Stephen Michell and I changed the running order around, and dropped out two small stories to add a middle sized one.

So, a thousand new words a day I figure isn’t too bad, and a book between 140 and 150k will have been done in a fairly full and consuming year. Of course, other writers will move quicker, others slower, but that’s the nature of it.

Originally, I had planned to write a bit on narrative fat, and the crowth and shrinkage of plots and such in fantasy, but I totally went somewhere else. Oh well. Perhaps next time – first, back to writing the book.


(With one possible exception, before I go: Dead Americans and Other Stories will be released in a month and a half, and I want to help make some noise about it, so if you’re a reviewer, blogger, podcaster, and you’d like to review and talk about the book, drop me a note, please.)

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