For whatever reason, after a few weeks of that, The Dungeoneers caught on. It went on to hit the number one spot for Kindle Fantasy/Adventure in both the United States and Australia. It even briefly cracked the top 100 in Japan. To date it's sold more than 13,000 copies which is an astonishing number to me. I'd like to thank each and every one of you.
Which brings us to book two.
My original goal was to complete Blackfog Island in a year. The Dungeoneers took me two years to write so it was a slightly ambitious goal. And nope, didn't make it. Came close though. I completed the rough draft around a month ago and am now in the "fix all the things" stage. There's a bit of a wildcard in how long it takes my beta readers to get back to me once I get to that point but my current guesstimate is that the book will be out toward the end of September.
That's the meat of the news so feel free to bow it now. The rest of this post is likely just rambling.
Had a question in an earlier blog comment about whether there was anything that I had to cut that I wished I could have kept and, as I'm currently doing what I call the "continuity draft" for book two this seemed like a good time to answer that.
From what I am told, after completing their rough draft most writers have a huge mess of words then go through an editing process of chopping pieces out to focus the story and the themes. For better or worse, I take the opposite approach.
I start with an outline but as I write the rough draft there are a lot of new things that pop up, things that get changed and things that get left out. The continuity draft is when I go through and find all of the gaping holes in the story and start patching them up. It's also where I identify what I call "orphan" scenes: bits of the story that don't really connect to anything else. These are the parts that traditionally get cut.
Most of my orphan scenes exist because it was something I thought was funny while I was writing. If the scene still reads as funny when I'm revising then it's a scene that I want to keep. So I try to fix plotholes by connecting them to orphaned scenes.
An example of this from book one was the scene in the forest with the elves. Apart from a bunch of elf jokes there wasn't any real purpose for it. However, there was no way in hell I was going to cut that gift giving joke.
Some of the alpha/beta reader feedback I got was that the fight with the demon, later in the book, came across as far too easy. I expanded it into the longer scene and came up with the idea for the finish, giving Cardamon the ability to meld stone. I then went back to the orphaned elves. After some rewriting, the moose attack damaged one of the wagons and then an elf mends it, establishing that these sorts of abilities exist in the world. Ruby mentions Cardamon's ability with stone setting up the finale to the demon fight. Voila. The scene then had purpose and I got to keep the elf jokes.
Consequently my second draft ends up being longer than my first. There are definitely pieces I trim but scenes tend to get kept. My theory is that, as I'm writing humorous adventure, the humor is as important as the adventure. There are scenes that exist just for the adventure side. Therefore there are scenes that can exist primarily because they're funny.
Because we're all here for a laugh or two, right?