My last update was at the end of July… and now it’s almost the end of August.

Yeah, I missed my two week update timeline again, but in my defense, I’ve been SUPER busy!  Work has been crazy lately and I’ve been in a real groove on Book 2 (as you’ll see below!).

But, before I get into all that…

I’ve been a little lax on the content front lately, only posting up TWO blog posts since my last News update. Sorry!

The first one was a pretty personal post that went deep on the reasons for my writing. It was called Fame, Fortune or Legacy. What do YOUR books mean to YOU?

I followed that up with something far more light-hearted, as I took a slightly comedic look at the world of video gaming. Specifically the complications of owning a car in the world of Grand Theft Auto: Online. Los Santos Life… An Examination (Part 1)

Which brings you up to date! 

So, let’s check in and see how everything else it progressing…

Hunters. Is. Done. I mean…look at that graph!!! God, I love a graph!

Okay, not quite done…but the line edit with which I was being ably assisted by Nikki is now done. I have to say…it’s looking REALLY good.

The current edit is called ‘Final Edit – Ver 003 – Final Read Thru.’

The last part of the title refers to the fact that it’s now gone to a bunch of friends and beta-readers for the final read through to see if they spot anything wrong. So, the book is now in the hands of Wifey, Chell, Sarah, Andy and Zoe to read in their own time and give me their thoughts and feedback.

In the meantime, I’ll be also giving it a read through. I’m just giving it a few weeks to concentrate on Book 2 (more below) and give myself a little space from it before I get stuck in. Nikki, too, has said she’ll give it a final once over, but she’s waiting till she’s finished work on her own book (something I’ve said I’ll help with in repayment for her working on mine! Gotta love the #WritingCommunity… we’re a supportive bunch!).

I have been in a GROOVE on Book 2 lately.

There are now 61 chapters which have a complete first draft. There are a further 2 chapters which are almost done – or at least started!

The leaves just 29 planned chapters which are in a ‘yet to be started‘ state.

In my last update on the 29th July, I’d cracked the 100k barrier, sitting at 101,907 words. That word count has now reached 120,915. BOOM! The only issue I’m now having is the prospective total word count. I had figured that it would be around the 160k mark…looks like I missed on that estimate.

I did a little maths…

The 61 chapters that are complete (albeit in draft form!) total 113,938 words.

That’s an average of 1868 words per chapter.

Extrapolating that out to the planned 92 chapters, that’ll come in at 171,840 words. Which is a little heftier than I thought.

Now, to be honest, I’ve been hitting what I think are the bigger chapters first. Some of the others that are still to be done will, I think, be smaller in size. I’m also SURE that the edit process will bring that total down to a more reasonable number.

But, that’s enough maths…what about the story?

Well, it’s been kind of good running the line edit for Hunters alongside the writing of B2E. It’s enabled me to flit between the two and directly link them together in a better way.

Okay, so I’m sure that may not make much sense, so let me explain!

Running slowly through the line edit on Hunters has shown me little nuances in the story that I hadn’t seen before. I know that sounds strange being as I wrote it, but it’s given me a view of these little pieces that cause me to suddenly have these epiphany moments as I write B2E.

Let me give you an example.

While writing B2E, I started to think about the fact that there was a character from Hunters who was quite under-served in the second book in the saga. Now, that’s just the nature of the story, to be honest. My saga flits between countries and characters, following multiple story strands, and it just so happens that his character doesn’t have a huge arc in B2E.

But…could he?

As the line edit proceeded apace, I was reading through a particular chapter that suddenly gave me a tiny epiphany for how I could bring that character into B2E a little more. To do it would require a small insert into Hunters, which I’m still in a position to do. If Hunters had already been released and was out in the wild, I wouldn’t be able to do that.

Which made me think about the process in more detail.

I think it’s important that this is what I do moving forward. I’m finalizing the edit to Hunters as I write B2E and plot T&C (see below!). When Hunters is (hopefully) released, I want B2E in the final edit process as I write T&C and plot DragonSong (or DS as it will henceforth be abbreviated to).

And so on and so forth.

It allows me to have my writing on one book directly influence the book immediately before it. Which in turn should lead to a more nuanced connection.

That’s the hope anyway!

Talking about Book 3, T&C has now very much entered the plotting phase.

The ‘Spreadsheet of Doom™‘ is being populated quite nicely as the premise for the third book in the saga rounds into more detailed shape.

It’s made me realize that each of the books has a different sort of sub-genre, without me really planning it that way.

I’m not sure what my other beta-readers would say, but Hunters (to me at least) read more like a sort of adventure novel, with hints of horror and romance. Blood to Earth, is sort of coming out as a mystery novel with a hint of action…and romance.

Tooth & Claw is shaping up like a kind of war novel…with a hint of horror and, of course…romance.

Now, I haven’t actually written much of it yet, but I’m very much looking forward to tackling it. I think it’ll challenge me to write in a different direction while still attempting to stay true to the characters I’ve established and the story so far.

(As a spoiler… I think Book 4 – DragonSong, will end up being a kind of fantasy/horror cross over. Book 5 – TechMasters, will have a kind of Kaiju vibe. Book 6 – The River, will probably turn back to the more mystery/crime sub-genre, as this is where the mystery throughout the saga will start to pay off. Book 7 – The Broken Circle… I’m not sure yet.)

In other News…

Nothing to see here…move along please.

On a Personal Note…

I told you guys in the last update that I’d bought a bunch of books by people in the writing community. I’ve now finally started reading the first one of them. That one being…

I’ll maybe put up a little review when I’m done (and I’ll definitely put one on Amazon for you, Eaton!). So far, I’m about 10 chapters in (they’re pretty short chapters, so that’s not too far!), but I’m really enjoying it.  

It’s really funny in a Douglas Adam’s kind of way. I’ve always loved the Hitchhikers books, so this is playing directly into my wheelhouse thus far!  🙂

I’ll keep you all updated!

Until next time…

Love & Books

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  1. Flashyf

    I’m so impressed by your organisation skills! I have a book in the making, but what I have done is summarize each chapter on a small piece of paper, so when I am writing I know roughly how the plot will progress. Of course, I can deviate from this if I want to. How do you keep your notes? I don’t think I could be bothered to use Excel or anything like that.

    • Jon Ford

      Well, I also keep a host of notebooks. That’s where all this started before I had to get more organised. The notebooks are like the earliest scribbles I have of the outline of the saga and the characters. Much has changed since those early days though, and now I tend to Spreadsheet everything. 🙂
      So there are pages in the sheet for the chapter outlines for each book…but also I have a page on the Characters (descriptions, etc), the timeline, the family trees, all the abbrieviations and acronyms I use, etc. I even have a page where I track the injuries that each of the characters has suffered over the course of the narrative so I can keep consistent later.

  2. Demelza

    I love The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, and Douglas Adams’ writing translated so well to television. I notice that this book, “A Life Spectacular,” is 384 pages long. It must be difficult to write such a long comedy science fiction piece, but as a genre, it is giving me new ideas.

    • Jon Ford

      I read some more last night and I’m LOVING it so far. The idea is genuinely unique to me, and the comedy is spun out of the everyday ordinary things in life given an extraterrestrial spin.
      Eaton has a second book ont he horizon too (I think it’s unrelated to this one) and I’m very much looking forward to it coming out. He has a devoted fan in me. 😀

  3. KTReed

    These are exciting times as you get closer and closer to the finish line. Novels that draw me into another world are my top picks. I’m looking forward to reading about Gayle Knightley’s adventures and learning more about her fantastical world and the supernatural creatures that live in it.

    • Jon Ford

      Well KTReed, I’ve poured my heart and soul into this series so far and I hope that the people who read it enjoy it. I’ve had some awesome feedback so far from my beta-readers which is super positive, so…fingers crossed!

  4. Chuck

    This is great news! A lot of great news! I’ve got a question though. You stated that every book in this series is of a different genre (with romance being in each). I usually stick with 1 genre when reading (for a while anyway). I think a lot of people do. Do you think people will sway away from the other books because they aren’t in the same genre?

    • Jon Ford

      That’s an excellent question. 🙂
      The saga is a Sci/Fi Fantasy at it’s core. And that won’t change from book to book.
      The romance bit isn’t very pronounced, it’s simply that there will be developing relationships between members of the ensemble cast in the books that will flow from book to book.
      As for the other ‘sub-genre’s’… I’m honestly not sure anyone will notice.

      I think of it a bit like the Marvel movies. They’re all superhero flicks at their core, but many of them have different sub-genre’s involved in their DNA. Capt America: Winter Soldier is a spy thriller wrapped in a superhero skin. AntMan is a heist movie…wrapped in a superhero skin. Etcetera.

      So think about my books in a similar vein. The same characters, setting and Sci/Fi fantasy sensibility across the overall arc… but the individual book arcs will just be a little different from book to book. I don’t think it’s unusual for a story arc to be like that. When you think for instance of the Harry Potter saga, the books range from adventure romps, through time travel shenanigans to an epic treasure hunt/mystery.

      I think it’ll be fine. 😀

      • Suese

        I can understand where you are coming from Jon. You are correct, most books in a series are a bit different. I think you’ll be just fine. I think once you hook someone on the characters and storyline, they will read each book in that series.

  5. Thomson

    I enjoy reading how other authors organize their content, keep track of querying, and edit their stories in the run-up to publishing. I tried using Scrivener to organize my work, but the software was just too fussy for me, so I went back to using a plain text document. It isn’t fancy, but it does the trick.

    • Jon Ford

      I’m unfamiliar with Scrivener… I may have to go take a look.
      I’ve always been a spreadsheet junkie, so it seemed a natural way to go for me.

  6. Mitch

    Way to go Jon! This was a great update! I hope one of the next ones is that you are completely finished with book 1 and your publisher loves it. I can’t wait to see it in print! After reading all the snippets here and there, I am excited to buy it and read it.

    • Jon Ford

      Hang in there Mitch!
      The current plan is to move along a self-publishing path in order to get the book out early next year. But in the meantime I’m going to continue to also Query to try and find an Agent and Publisher.
      Either way, I don’t think the wait will be that long now!

      • Marie

        Interesting that you might self-publish. Are you waiting in hopes someone will pick it up and publish? I know I would. Either way, next year is only a few months away.

        • Jon Ford

          I think that’s the plan. I’ll keep on Querying, but now book 1 is done and book 2 is about 2/3rds done, I want to start getting them out there. Maybe someone will pick them up, that would be the dream! ?

          • Marie

            Question Jon- if you self publish your first book and people love it, could you then get picked up by a publisher? Is that pretty normal? Sorry for the questions but I am new to this part. I love to read and I love telling my story but publishing is new to me.

  7. Demelza

    Early next year! I was hoping that the book would be out before Christmas. I think it’s great that the book has sub-genres within it. After all, how can you have well-rounded characters without a bit of romance involved in their story-lines?

    • Jon Ford

      I would have loved to get it out this year, alas, that’s not the case.
      I spent much of the early year querying, hoping to find an Agent (which I’m still doing), and then we had the whole Covid malarky. So things have taken a bit of a delay.
      I’ll continue to query, but I want to get the book out there, so I’m working with a partner-in-crime to see if we can get it self-published as soon as possible…but it’s NOT an easy process!

      As for the sub-genre’s, I actually simply view them kind of as day to day life in my little created universe. The timeline for the 7 books will probably last over a year in elapsed time in the ‘Songbird’ world, and hence things will happen. Romances will blossom, mysteries will be uncovered, etc. I’m really enjoying writing them.

      I hope when you finally get your hands on the books, that you’ll enjoy them too!

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