Sunday, 30 May 2021

The title conundrum

 I'm actually pre-writing this on 24 May - today I've officially finished the first draft of The Book, by which I mean the current book.

I spent a couple hours batting around titles with friends because the book already had three working titles, ie "The Mafia Romance", "Jack & Sal", and finally "Dealmaker". For quite a while, Dealmaker looked like it would be the final title, because one of the character is one of the main fixers/dealmakers in my mafia-riddled little (fictional) city, and we start with his POV. 

Then a friend alerted me to "Deal Maker", a successful and well-regarded m/m romantic comedy published in 2017, and my book might be m/m and is structurally a romance, the tone is really quite different. 

Since then, we've gone through multiple potential titles, with the "emergency fallback" title literally "Mobster's Kiss". I also liked "Mobstertown" and "Lucky We Survived that Shit" (this one came up when I was asked to characterise the relationship between the MCs). One of the apparent rules of writing is to indicate the genre of the book with the title - and I'm really not very good at that part, but I guess I have a few more decades to get that one right. (The title for the next book, BTW has been set for 10 years or so and it's a banger and no-brainer.) 

I'm now about 80% set on a title and will roll that one around in my head for a week or so before I make it properly public and set up the book on Goodreads/Amazon/etc. 

Mostly I'm extremely jazzed to have the book done. My "easy, quick mafia romance that will be no longer than 50-60k because I don't have that much plot, lol" (which is how I've been talking about it to friends) topped out at 101k words in first draft and I'm still too close to really understand what this beastie is, but I sure enjoyed writing it a whole lot and I'm deeply in love with the characters. 

I'll be aiming to get it edited over the next 6 weeks and then publish at some point in September ((yes, this will be self-published). Stay tuned! 

Sunday, 23 May 2021

In my defense, I'm writing

So I do apparently need to make a note in my calendar when I should blog. The pandemic/lockdowns have really messed with my perception of time. When I thought about blogging, I thought "I just did that" - but "just" was three weeks ago. 

In my defense, I'm at the stage in the book where I've basically upped sticks and am now living in my book. The characters are more real to me than people I've met in the flesh, and I'm both looking forward to being "done" and dreading it a little. It's a huge investment of energy and focus at this point in time, and I don't have capacity for much else that's also going on. 

So when I blogged three weeks ago, the book was standing at about 80k. I've been going at a solid clip and am now closing in on 97k. So this will be even longer than Mean Machine, which was already a beast. 

My characters are now weirdly adorable to each other. I think my favourite thing about this couple is that they communicate quite seriously and earnestly and are smart enough to really nail down what's going on and how they feel. I've at times written avoidant characters, but these guys feel grown up and mature and they totally deserve their happy ending. 

Then I was approached by a budding writer today to talk about writing. And since that's one of my other favourite things to do in my life, I'm thinking I might go back to developing a workshop to be held over Zoom or Discord to help writers. I might charge a nominal fee (£5/10) or go completely free on this and just take donations (as the pandemic has hit lots of people pretty badly). I'm going to think about that some more, but basically I've always enjoyed teaching/mentoring writers and want to get back into it.

In any case, the book will get done before the end of the month. I know there's going to be 2-3 large scenes of 1-2k each left and that's it. Beyond that, I only see black, so the inner movie is done after that. June will be the month when I clean up the book and get the book off to editors and betas. I'm thinking September could be a good release month - it's the time when the book is set, so that would suit it quite nicely. I'm also still pondering titles, hence I'm just talking about "the book" here for the moment. But - things are moving in the right direction. For the moment, I'm trying to build back up to one novel per year and then speed up again once I've handed in my resignation at the day job. 

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Almost there

I'm kind of hoping to blog weekly about the book's progress. The original idea was to get the book done by 4 May (my birthday) with an expected wordcount of 80,000 words. Well, I hit the wordcount, but not the deadline - I still have quite a bit of plot left at currently 81,500, so I'm now expecting a 90,000-word book and a new deadline of mid-May. 

So much for "I'm writing a quick 50-60k romance". 

But I'm really enjoying the work right now, and it's generally going well, with a solid amount of days where I write 2,000 or 3,000 words, hence my hope to finish the book in the next 5-10 days. 

I've also lined up editing, and am just off the Zoom with Tiferet, who's designed all my covers and will handle this one, so the idea is to self-publish it at some point after June, but before October, with the exact date likely set once I have a feeling that this is the best I can make the book. Even with my level of perfectionism, there comes a point where I can't find any more issues, and any additional self-editing pass just means digging up some stones and then burying them a few yards to the left or right, so it becomes pointless.  

Meanwhile, it's a pretty odd beast. I was discussing how strange the book is with my alpha reader, and she allowed me to share her comments with you:

“Hi, my name is Aleks and I’ve written a... romance... <.< where a Boss kidnaps and tortures another Boss’s Consigliere, only they kind of fall in love during the torture, and now they’re. Together. Kind of.”
“And my beta reader is in love with both of the characters, but doesn’t have a clue how to market it either, because the romance is all twisted up in deep feelings, and it’s more of an abiding love than superficial romance—everything hurts and then it’s all gorgeous, blissful happiness in the middle of all these really dark elements, memories, and actions.”
“Also, the boss is slightly feral, and the consigliere is a gentleman, but they’re both broken-hearted, and they just... fit. Beautifully.”

So yeah, that's what I'm writing - "everything hurts and then it's all blissful happiness". 

Hope to report in in a week with a (messy) first draft completed. Meanwhile, I'm also hanging around on Discord here, and posting snippets, etc (they're too long for Twitter and vanish on Facebook).