For the third year in a row, Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, Elodie Nowodazkij, Jaime Morrow, and Erin Funk are once again hosting the summerlong Ready. Set. Write! initiative. The kick-off post will be goal-setting for the week and summer. When I meet my goal, I’m rewarding myself with my fourth lobe piercings.
For most of this year, I’ve been working really hard on the long-overdue radical rewrites and restructurings of my first four Atlantic City books, what I call my prequel series even though, publication-wise, they’re not prequels to anything. I thought I was almost done with the book formerly known as The Very First, and then realised I forgot to write a chapter about the famous (if rather overhyped) War of the Worlds scare. If you’re writing a book set in the U.S. in 1938, it rather behooves you to include it in some way!
The book formerly known as The Very First went from 38,000 words to over 64,000, and was perhaps one of the most radical rewrites I’ve ever done, since it involved junking almost the entire original Part I and a fair bit of the original Part II material, and writing a lot of new chapters and scenes from scratch. The book formerly known as The Very Next went from a hot 24,000-word mess to 75,000 words of an actual story, only about 10–20% of which comes from the original material.
The book formerly known as The Very Last began at 35,000 words, and is my current focus. Of all four prequel books, I had the most fun writing this one, and it also has the strongest writing. Thus, there are really only specific sections and chapters which need radical rewriting, plus some chapters which need to be created brand-new. Next up will be the book currently known as Almost As an Afterthought: The First Six Months of 1941. Since it’s novelette-length, only 11,000 words, I’m aiming for at least 40,000 words.
Yes, the first three books finally have new and improved titles, but I’m keeping each secret till their respective releases. The most I’ll hint is that the new title for The Very Last was inspired by a Lon Chaney, Sr., film, with a poignant intertitle Cinni quotes several times.
My summer goal is to be finished with all this rewriting, and to be closer to finishing Alyosha’s story. It’s got 84,000 words (out of a guesstimated 150/200K), but I deliberately wrote it out of order, with a lot of gaps and unfinished chapters to get back to. My hoped-for release date is 12 August 2016, what would’ve been my protagonist’s 112th birthday. Doesn’t this beautiful boy deserve a fairy godmother to write him the happy ending he was denied in this life?