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  • Writer's pictureAmelia

Coming (or going) Round The Bend

I am not very good at promoting myself. I never know what to put in and advert or a blurb, I am fundamentally incapable of showing off, and I can never bring myself to create one of those those super-positive "Here are all the things you're going to love about this book!" posts - I'm not even sure that those things really work. I've been to several "How To Promote Your Book!" seminars online, and the best advice I came away with from most of these was: "Have written a different kind of book," which isn't terribly helpful, after the fact. Most of the other advice was only helpful if I had written that other kind of book, or at least if I wanted to pretend I had. But I haven't, and I don't.

There was one suggestion, though, that stuck with me; that seemed genuinely useful no matter what kind of book I was writing, and that I made a careful note to apply while writing my next, still-not-a-different-kind-of book.

That advice was to keep my readers informed. "You should post updates," I was told; "on your website and social media, letting people know when you're half-way through writing the book, and again at three quarters of the way, and when you've finished the first draft." Which makes sense when you think about it: people like to feel engaged; they like to know what's going on; they like, if they're getting invested in a series, to know that the next book will eventually appear.

So of course I did none of it.

I meant to, I promise, but it turns out that, even when you're working to a plan, it can be ridiculously hard to know when you're half-way through the book.

Extra chapters keep popping up. Characters keep mentioning things they need to do, before they can do the thing you need them to do. Additional scenes have to be written in, and whole chunks of carefully-planned chapters turn out to not have been needed anyway. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes work in any book, and sometimes the metaphorical washing needs to be got in off the line, before an author can go out and play with their plot.

A page of text written in Scrivener. The title at the top of the page, half cut off by sloppy use of the crop tool, reads "The Wolffinder General" without a hyphen because the author hadn't put one in when she began the book. The list of scenes is visible down the left hand side, and a box for notes is open on the right. The central area, containing the actual text, has been scribbled over in red.
None of this will appear in the finished book. Probably.

So by the time I got to what was meant to be the half-way mark, I was horribly aware that I was nowhere near it. When I eventually passed that point, I had no idea I was even doing it. The same went for the three quarter mark: I haven't the foggiest idea where that is, even now.

Eventually every milestone but one had come and gone. The last milestone, of course, is announcing that the first draft is now triumphantly complete.

This isn't that announcement.

Sorry if I got your hopes up there.

When I have finished the first draft I will definitely know that I have done it, and I will make a post about it here, and share the information on social media, and probably get a takeaway of some kind, to celebrate, and then I'll begin the slow, agonising, head-thumping process of turning that draft into something fit to read.

I already know that there's a whole character waiting for me to cram him into the text somehow.

That's going to be fun.

And then there will probably be some more posts, and a cover announcement of some kind, and all the other things that I wrote down during the seminars that weren't about writing something completely different from the things I actually write.

And then I shall have cake.

So this isn't any of those posts, and I have neither cake nor takeaway in my immediate future, but this is me letting you know that I have, at my best estimation, only about a chapter and a half of The Wolf-Finder General to write.

Which probably means I have at least two and a half chapters still to come, and more likely three or four.

Still, no matter how many chapters it takes, the end is finally in sight, and that seems like a milestone worth celebrating.

If nothing else, the book will eventually be finished.

I hope you'll enjoy it when it is.

P.S The Wolf-Finder General is a sequel to The Vicar Man, so if you haven't read that yet, here the link to find it on Amazon

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