This week I published Chapter 4: The Hunters and Chapter 5: Stone and Sky. These chapters were both difficult and interesting for me to write. The former is certainly a survival and every-day occurrence kind of chapter. It was the first time that my characters were not contending with major, plot-moving events. I think it turned out well enough. The latter chapter, alternatively, was when I finally could explore the Mazain Empire, and revisit Emperor Archelaus (not for the last time in this book!). That chapter was particularly interesting because (as you saw) Mazain’s Imperial Palace is so very different from the other countries portrayed. What you saw, too, was that the central characters in the chapters are hard to figure out!
Next week I will publish the first drafts of Chapter 6: Friends and Foes and Chapter 7: Father of Mistrust. In a lot of respects the sixth chapter is an arc capper for this week’s additions, while the seventh chapter moves a very important plot point along that will be felt through the entire second act of the novella. In many ways, these chapters signify that setup / build is done, and the dominoes begin to fall. That is essentially the rest of the story. Dominoes falling.
This week I finished work on Chapter 10: Answers to Riddles and Chapter 11: From Dawn to Dusk. The cities of Trank and Dale figure prominently in these two selections as I tackle two of my older, more developed characters (Aerona & Stephen). We are still some weeks out from seeing those chapters on Wattpad, but I do caution you to temper your expectations for the characters. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how they turn out.
With the completion of chapter eleven in mind, that puts me at the half-way point. I am at 48,310 words at present, which projects for a planned 96,620 words, give or take. In the post-first draft process, I am aiming to get each work to hover just above the 100,000 words mark. If things continue to go well for Heart of the Sand, this likely means the addition of two mini-chapters. I have ideas of what these would be: more bridges between the marginal time jumps that invariably occur. I will update later if I will include that.
As a retail publishing note, I am projecting towards finishing Heart of the Sand at the end of February or early March. I do not intend to take a break when the work completes, as I will head back into the novella and make the final passes and revisions, before returning to Darkness Rising and Sea of Storms and performing the same work there. I am not expecting a lot of re-writes in Sea of Storms, but I imagine Darkness Rising will require a good four to five weeks of work to make it retail publish ready. With all of those dates in mind, a May publish date appears likely. I do not see needing more than two months after Heart of the Sand completes to have everything ready.
That’s all from me this week. Have a great weekend and happy reading!