Writing Update

Ah that’s better. From my previous malaise of mind I have been steadily getting back on track. Most of this has occurred over the last year marked by the return to me of my pleasure in reading. But, y’know, I have a job, and that’s writing books. My standard, before Caroline died, was to write 2,000 words a day for 5 days a week. It was keeping to this that enabled me to get the whole transformation trilogy written to first draft before I had to deliver even the first book. Over the three years after that it was those books that kept me on track with a book every year. It was almost as if I had prepared for it.

In this last year I’ve been getting back to those kind of word counts but never quite there. I don’t think I’ve had one week where I have managed to do the full 10,000. A lot of this was due to me sorting out the mess that was The Soldier – the first book of Rise of the Jain. This was something I’d taken tilts at over a number of years and was very patchy and a bit all over the place. After that I managed to quickly write the next book to first draft but still no full weeks of 10,000 words. Now, nearly 50,000 words into the third book, I’ve just done such a week. I’m pretty happy about that.

I was chatting recently with someone about this tendency of mine to want to have books in the bank, so to speak. I am happy to be writing at the above rate but I would love to have a whole trilogy or some such done before the ink is dry on a contract. However I realize, that upon reaching that stage, it won’t be enough. I’ll want more books in the bank. Then there’s the other stuff I want to do. I would like to stick some more short story collections on Kindle. I would like to write some more short stories and send them to magazines like Asimov’s. I’d like to (maybe) go through the fantasy trilogy I have on file and then put that out on Kindle. Then there’s a book whose title I already have: Walking to Voyla. I’d like to do that.


Uploading to AI crystal and generating a few subminds cannot come quickly enough for me.

16 thoughts on “Writing Update

  1. I can’t tell you how good it is to hear you sound so positive about writing- and I’ll buy Walking to Voyla, as a small affirmation of the bravery you’ve shown- have at it Neal, you’re a bloody inspiration.

  2. I’m glad to hear you’re back to getting the work done. Having several deaths in my family in the past decade, I know how it can sap out the creative energy. I just finished reading Line War, and I’m interested in what Orlandine and Dragon have planned. Will we see Cormac again? That was certainly a turn for him at the end of that book. I found the dual conflicts of pure brutal logic of the AIs vs. human morality to be a poignant one. So many shades of gray there.

    1. Heh. I’ve no idea whether we’ll see Cormac again. I think he’s retired and far too powerful now to actually generate stories!

      Sorry to hear of your troubles too. It does sap the will.

  3. Neal, it’s good to hear you’re getting back up to speed, I’m always trouble by the illogicality of feelings and emotional processes, then even more troubled to realise that’s where the joy comes from! So looking forward to The Soldier, any chance of some teasers?
    I recognise the ‘one in the bank’ mentality and for me it comes from the shop floor, when getting a bit ahead meant a breather if I needed it. I still think that way from time to time, but it doesn’t serve well when I’m trying to be creative (and it drives the guys in the band crazy).
    Fondly remebering the time when I discovered your writing and realised there was a whole other 3 books I hadn’t read yet!!

  4. I’ve stopped reading your books because I like to have a bank of them when I find a great author. I get kind of panicky when I’m coming to the end of a series because I don’t want it to end. So glad to hear I can start reading your books again!

  5. Neal, aside from talent and imagination, you have an amazing focus and dedication to your work. When you were at your nadir, I remember you turned to ferocious exercise. That has certainly worked to uplift me whenever I’ve been down. But nothing feels as good as being productive in your chosen field.You know, should you ever get three books ahead again, you would have a chance at doing something other than work – as a retiree I highly recommend it! Though I have been told by my photography mentor she wouldn’t do anything different on vacation, so who knows what you passionate artists dream of. Electric sheep?

    1. That’s it with a vocation – you want to keep doing it. Then again I am putting in plenty of time walking, repairing stuff and, when on Crete, kayaking and swimming!

  6. When you get those sub minds, send a few my way; I could use them also.
    In the interim, you’ve successfully navigated through an incredibly challenging period, and come out the other end with your focus intact.

    Your penchant for books in the bank no doubt helped a lot through this period, because I’m sure it would have been far tougher if you hadn’t already had the Transformation trilogy essentially written in draft – but then that’s no fortunate accident; successful people prepare. So you maintained a vestige of control over an otherwise uncontrollable and brutal period. All you mate.

    I can see those word counts rising, and would be willing to make a bet that those side-aspirations get done alongside your main churn. Can’t wait.

    Also look forward to Walking to Voyla; while perhaps prejudging context, I think many of us are going to be familiar with that journey – albeit from a view over your shoulder. Affirmational.

    Look forward to catching you in the UK when I’m there next.

    Mike (ckolonn)

  7. I’ve just recently stumbled upon your work, I picked up “The Owner” trilogy. I’ve been sucked into your world of work ever since. I am finding it though difficult to find all of your work on ebook format in the US. Gridlinked and Brass Man are the ones that come to mind. I read mostly through my phone since it’s the one piece of technology always with me. Any chance that you will bring more of your titles to a wider ebook format other than kindle?

    Thank you for your creative work and time and I’m at a loss for words to express myself with your loss and the pain. I know those life events are difficult is a weak description. I’m not much of a religious person, but I’ll send positive vibes your way.

    Thanks again for reading this and taking time with fans of your work. Don’t get too buff you won’t be able to type as effectively with your massive biceps in the way!

  8. I have really enjoyed your writing since I picked up a copy of Brass Man. As a Metallurgist and specialist in how things break I appreciate your portrayal of materials science. Did you know that good old carbon knife steel is a form of Cerametal, a matrix of ceramic and iron? I am fortunate enough to be working with some of the biggest machines ever produced so I can sometimes get a feel for the ships and structures you write about. Have you ever been ion the hold of an oil tanker? Keep on writing and keep on promoting Materials Science.

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