Into The Unknown


As of this morning, I have done it.

I not only surpassed 50,000 words in my current book in progress, The Shadow Within, I also made it past my previous end point.

Allow me to explain.

In another life (just a year ago, though it seems forever), I mixed my work time between driving and office work.  When on the road, I often had breaks between pick-ups, which allowed me a chance to whip out my trusty notebook and continue writing where I last left off.  When I wasn’t on break writing, I was thinking about where the story was going to take me next.

Since adopting my new position last year which keeps me in the office full-time, my time to write on my breaks is pretty much gone.  I spend most of my mornings and lunches tapping away furiously at my keyboard, but my output has definitely cooled from the good ol’ days (again, a year ago).

In addition to changing job parameters, I also decided to self-publish last year.  My creative output immediately stagnated, as I devoted my resources to editing and polishing up my existing books.

What does all this mean?  Well, around September of last year, I wrote my last few paragraphs of The Shadow Within.  But it wasn’t the end of the book.  I knew I had three or four chapters more and I desperately wanted to finish writing them before NaNoWriMo hit.  Instead, I focused my attention on publishing the first book, The Shadow Walker, which I did manage to get out by the end of October.  At that point, I shelved my plan to work on the third book in the series (having not finished the second) and started working on a dark fantasy tentatively titled Through The Gray Gate.

Here I am once more, with NaNo in plain sight and facing a similar set of circumstances.  Only this time, I’m going to finish.  On September 20th, I started typing up the rough draft of The Shadow Within, determined to get it finished by the end of October.  One month and five days later, I crossed into the unknown, losing the safety net of my handwritten pages and forced to wing it.

So far, it’s been great.

I’m a full chapter and half past my original stopping point and my momentum won’t be stopped.  I have a clear path to the end and I will achieve my goal.  The second book is already bigger than the first and I still have yet to go back through and further develop some of the more anemic chapters.

Of course, this close to NaNo I would typically be working on my character arcs and mapping out my plot points.  But there’s no time for all that, so I’m going to throw caution to the wind and see what comes out.  I know how it begins and I (pretty much) know how it ends.  The rest will come to me.

The important this is, I know I can do 50K in a month’s time, even working full-time and being a dad.  Sure, it feels a bit like I’m doing back-to-back marathons, but in the end it’ll be worth it.  With Together Alone hovering at 65% completion and strong rough drafts of The Shadow Within and World of Shadows at the ready, 2013 is shaping up to be a big year.

Thanks for your support and I hope to see you fellow authors slaving away soon.

S.L. Madden

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