Out of Genre Title Finished

I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth over the last week and a bit, but it has certainly felt like it while I have been working hard on finishing my out of genre title. What was originally thought to be a 30,000-ish word story ended up weighing in at just over 43,000 words, almost 10,000 showing up in a little over four days, when I wasn’t expecting to have heavy writing sessions. This has turned it into a nice little novel, compared to the novella I thought it might have been.

It’s all done now, though. I managed to finish it within the deadline I had, which is the first time I’ve had a full book under the deadline of someone else (I’ve had short stories committed to deadlines in the past, but this is a first). Writing a full book to a deadline was an interesting experience and I was nearly caught out with the added editing time required for the longer work, especially as life likes to get in the way of being able to write and edit.

I would like to thank one person in particular -- Sofia Grey, who helped out with some pre-release reading. I originally wasn’t going to let anyone else read the title (mainly due to timelines, but also because of genre), and she ended up reading a title that was still stuck in the very beginning of an editing process and who knew very little about the content of the book before going into it (because I wasn’t telling anyone about it).

Even though I’m not in the position to be able to broadly publish the book at the moment (check again at the end of the year, when I’ll get to know if I can or not), I’m considering distributing a limited number of free copies to some people who have helped out from time to time. The other thing I might do with it is continue to add to it. There are some sections where supporting characters demand more exposure, and others where the main characters can be doing a lot more to flesh out their own nature. While pacing is okay with the book, there are sections where the pace of action can be slowed slightly and the ‘magic happens’ type of plot advances can be explained in detail.

I am pleased with the book, though. Once I had everything completed and tidied up I went back and gave the story one final read through (for last minute edits) before sending it off. Even though I was intimately familiar with the characters and plot, I found that I had an emotional response as the book unfolded. I can only hope that my lucky readers will get the same experience.

As to my normal genre works, I’m planning to take a few days break and start rolling back into them again soon. I’ve hit a good stretch of writing, generating a lot of words per writing session (and keeping almost all of them after edits). As to when my next in-genre book will be ready, I don’t quite know, but I am hoping to have something in the next few months. Based on my current writing mood, I think my next few works are probably going to be in the 40-50,000 word novel count, which means fewer but longer books.

Not a Book for Everyone

Not a Book
I’ve been asked again about when I will release the current title I’m working on under the Xavier Edwards name, and I’m now fairly sure that it’s unlikely to ever see a release as a Xavier Edwards title. Not because it won’t be a good book, but because of its content.

The title doesn’t feature heroes or heroines. Instead, the central character is much more of an antiheroine. People who have claimed I am a misogynist in the past will look at the book and say the same again. People who have triggers will probably not want to read the book. People who are Social Justice Warriors probably won’t want to read the book. Not because of what happens over the arc of the story, but because of the opening stanzas of the book.

Could I have written it without the controversial content? Possibly, but then it wouldn’t be the same book, and it wouldn’t carry as much impact for the effect it has on the main characters. I’m not going to sugar-coat it -- there are some very brutal scenes in the book, which are shocking just by being. It’s not a perfect world, and victims make mistakes -- they are human, after all.

Mistakes that result in perpetrators going unpunished.

It is a carefully crafted tale that is rooted in the real world, built around real places and place names, which alone is a bit of a departure from my normal writing.

I was worried for a little while that the story wasn’t going to tie together, but over the last few days I’ve had some good writing sessions, and the sections are twisting together very nicely, with some very nice characters (and some quite horrible ones, too) being fleshed out. There is one major plot that flows through the story, with a number of interesting branches, and a couple of overlying plots, one of which can be argued to be the new major plot line by the end of the book. This is structurally more complex than the works I’ve released until now and should make for interesting reading when it’s released.

There is definitely zero eroticism in the book, but it is still a good read. In fact, this post was delayed by a few hours because I went back and was planning to read just the first chapter to make sure my statements above are accurate. Instead, I read it from start to finish and found it a gripping read, even in its pre-alpha status, and even knowing exactly what’s happening to who and when and where.

Another Happy Mother's Day

A Happy Mother’s Day to all of my readers for whom Sunday hasn’t quite arrived yet. For the others, I hope that your Mother’s Day went well.

For us here, the weather forecast was originally for a rainy day, but it turned out to be a rather nice day -- light rain having fallen overnight and cleared by morning. We still had clouds rolling through, but we took the opportunity (after presents and sport) to head out for the afternoon to a nearby national park. Everybody loved the day out, especially the kids, who were able to see Koalas, Kangaroos and Emus up close. It did mean that I didn’t really get any writing done today, but the important thing was the kids spending the day doing things for mum. What it really meant was that they said they’d do it, and I’d get stuck with all the dirty work, but there’s nothing new in that.

Another working week beckons, including the chaos of coordinating school runs, afternoon sport, and all the joy and hassle of a house full of growing girls, cats, and fish. If I wasn’t stuck to a deadline for my next work, I’d wonder how I get anything done at all...

As far as my current writing is going, I’ve run into a small issue with the pacing of the work. All the pieces are sort of there, and I know what scenes are going to be in the finished book. The difficulty at the moment is that a couple don’t really seem to be pacing all that well, and others aren’t integrating into the flow very nicely. I’m sure it will be all sorted out, but it’s going to take some work to make it happen.

I have been asked if the book will ever see a release as a Xavier Edwards title. While I’m not quite sure at the moment if that will be possible, if it was going to happen, it wouldn’t be able to happen until late 2014 / early 2015 at the earliest.

Words and Wifi

After nothing more than dribs and drabs of writing -- the ideas are all there, the time to put them down isn’t -- I was pleased to get a productive weekend of writing done on my out-of-genre work. Of course, things can’t be as easy as that, and so I fought to make time around my sport, the kids’ sport, chasing around after the kids, cooking (mmm, lovely pork and vegetable soup / stew, and melt-off-your-fork slow roasted lamb and roast vegetables), and the other duties associated with keeping the household from devolving into complete chaos (managed chaos is okay, though).

I did get the time in front of the keyboard, only for our internet connection to fall over. Normally this isn’t too much of an issue, as I have all the research I need offline / in real book form / on my computer / in my mind for my erotica writing, but in this case I needed access to some definite information. With its setting in the real world, the actions and reactions of my characters need to fit in with what their particular activities demand. These activities are some which I have very little prior experience with, even if I have had plenty of prior exposure (environmental) to them. Getting the right terminology is also a bit difficult as, with many things Australian, a unique slang has evolved to support it.

Since I haven’t made things difficult enough with that, I have a number of characters who are immigrants -- their background actually plays a big part of how the story evolves, and their actions and reactions at various times. Working off pre-conceived notions of how I think they would act / react isn’t enough. As with my normal erotica writings, I am aiming for a believable, realistic fiction where the reader is able to relate to the characters and the world which they inhabit.

Losing access to the internet in the midst of a good writing session didn’t help, but I managed to get enough research material downloaded before the internet broke that it didn’t affect the session.

The book has to be finished by the end of May, so there’s a no-later-than date for going back to my Erotica. I have been getting some good ideas for moving some of my Erotica drafts forward, and what otherwise would have been short stories are looking like they will transition to novellas quite nicely.