Today I typed the final word of the first draft of Defenders of the Wildings, the follow-up series to Daughter of the Wildings. It clocks in at 182,133 words, or 451 printed pages (11 pt Times New Roman, double-spaced). Actually 450 pages, because the last page has like half a sentence on it. I hate it when that happens. This is by far the longest single manuscript I've ever written; the combined draft of the six books in Daughter of the Wildings was longer, but I wrote each book separately. Defenders didn't really want to divide up into six nice, neat novel-sized units, so I wrote it as one big thing and I'll work out how to divide it up and release it later. Two volumes of three "episodes" each seems like how it's going to work out. Of course, cover art is still a ways out, so I'll still be using the Daughter covers to illustrate posts about Defenders for a while.
This book also turned out to be much larger than I expected, and larger than anything I've written before, in scope of action and number of important characters. Of course it still centers around Silas and Lainie Vendine, but we'll also meet Torrin, a young ranch hand who discovers his magical powers, Magical Mik the traveling showman, Pazit Mahita, who is more than the ordinary farmwife she appears to be, and Lut Dorbich and Gidejoni Cajali, underministers from the Chardonikan Union (which got a name change about 80% of the way through, which is why I should probably stick to writing series in their entirety before I release the first book). You can get a sneak peek at Dorbich and Cajali here.
Writing this first draft was an adventure in itself. After two false starts, where I nearly drove myself nuts trying to figure out how to piece all the different parts of the story together (see story's refusal to fit into nice novel-length units, above), I finally got it. I had to do a lot of copy-and-pasting from the earlier versions and filling in with new material until I got to the place where I had left off, but once I got there it was pretty smooth going. I was getting frustrated at how long this was taking, because there were a lot of times this summer and fall when I couldn't keep up my daily production, but now it's finally done, yay. Now I'm printing it out even as I type this, and it'll rest while I finish up edits on Source-Breaker (note to self: get page on site for Estelend series set up) and start revising Heir of Tanaris.
This project brought me to 264,744 words for the year, including a number of short stories and the abandoned parts of the first two attempts. I'm counting words I'm not going to use, because all writing counts as practice, but I didn't double-count the words I copy and pasted. For a while I thought I might hit 300,000, but having to re-work the Defenders draft slowed me down. Still, considering my goal was 250,000 for the year, I'm pretty pleased.
Of course, at this point I can't even begin to say when Defenders will start being released. Sometime next year, I guess. To make sure you don't miss out on release news for Defenders or my other books, sign up for my email alerts (no spam, and I won't share your info). In the meantime, onward with Source-Breaker and Heir of Tanaris, and planning for the next series, Children of the Wildings!
...And Defenders just finished printing. Here it is:
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