In the Ben Gile research posts, specifically Part One, I spoke briefly about how interesting it is that I always end up finishing my major projects in the fall. It is fitting that Topaz is going to share in this tradition even though I didn’t plan for it to work out this way. This will be the first manuscript I’ve completed in just over ten years… and it will happen this month.
Topaz draft one should wrap up within the next couple of weeks, though I am eying the end of November because I honestly thought that it would be done by now and don’t want to rule out the possibility that the voices in my head might have more for me that I’m not yet aware of. It just keeps growing and growing, getting better and better with each passing paragraph. I never intended for it to hit close to 250,000 words, but that’s what it’s looking like at this point. Considering the last book I wrote came in at just under 90,000, this is a significant jump for me. I’ve taken it slow, making sure to flesh out the characters and develop the story to my own personal satisfaction without a single thought to the fact that most publishers prefer stories fall into the 100-125,000 word range. Screw that. This is my baby and I set out from the beginning to make sure that it was raised well. In the end, I’m quite certain that a lot will be cut, but I’m not thinking about that now, nor have I given any real thought to it as the story has progressed.
I expect to start work on draft two immediately after principal work on Topaz ceases this month. It is my goal to begin distributing copies of draft two to my test audience by early January, 2014, with a month or two off as I await their feedback. When I say “a month or two off” I really mean that I will be taking the time off from Topaz, not from writing altogether. I’ll likely start on Fresh Water From Ben Gile Pond , my next book, during that time.
Once I have my feedback, I’ll put the finishing touches on the book and it will be published to Amazon Kindle. Based on the timeline I have worked out, this should fall in March or April of 2014. Only five months from now. Wow. After all of my hard work, and the hard work that is to come, it’s extremely gratifying to know that an end is in sight. This is not to say that the ride with Topaz has been a rough and difficult one. Stepping out of the real world and into the minds of Jake Corgan and Vicky Donnelly on a daily basis has been one of the greatest thrill rides of my life. Every night I come home and work, and as my wife and I lay in bed before going to sleep, I chatter on to no end about what’s going on and how energized it makes me. I’ve been living along with these characters for five months, sharing in their struggles and their accomplishments every step of the way as they move through the story. It’s hard to think that I went so long without this very important part of myself.
It goes without saying, but I’ll come out with it anyway: in this month of thanksgiving, I am grateful for my renewed love of storytelling. In the last five months I’ve nearly finished an entirely new book, focused my sights on the project that will follow it, revamped the blog with a ton of new material, and set my creativity loose in all its chaotic ferocity upon the weirdos who follow me. Earl Yorke is back, and this time he isn’t going anywhere!
If you follow me on Facebook, don’t rule out the possibility that you might soon be contacted to participate in my test audience for draft two. I hope you’re ready for all 800+ pages of it.