Weekly Update: Starforge and Other Things

I feel like for this announcement I should be climbing up on a mountain outcropping and shouting “BEHOLD!”

Yesterday, after thirty days of grueling work, I finished the first Beta Pass for Starforge. And grueling almost doesn’t describe it. I have now read through Starforge … five times, I think? I’m starting to lose track. And that’s just start to finish, in-depth reads, over the last few months. There’s still the “Oh, check this chapter again” reads, the rereading of a paragraph, several times, to check changes, aloud and silent …

Point being I’ve read it a lot lately. And there’s still at least one more full read-through to go. So … what is the status right now?

Well, today I’m taking a day off. I’ve been regularly up editing till past 1 AM several nights a week for the last few weeks, and I am exhausted. So I’m taking today to just rest and not be editing for a little while. Just for one day. As much as my mind is whirling and whizzing on “Okay, gotta check that” and “Ooh, make sure too …” I need a day off. Thirty days of grueling double-checking of every comma, period, and apostrophe, word by word, across a 500,000 word draft is … a lot. Thinking back to the Being a Better Writer post on Mental Health, I need to let some pressure out of my pressure cooker before my brain overloads.

This isn’t bad news, mind. I’m not trying to paint it as such either. This is good news. I’m still on track to get Starforge out in November thanks to all this work. It might be late November, but then to be fair so it was with Colony and Jungle.

So what’s next, then? Well, tomorrow (not today, despite my itch to jump right in) I’m going to go over the Beta Reader feedback, taking each of those catches and doing a master comparison against the whole manuscript. Plus there are a few checks of my own I want to make as well, things I caught but want to make certain I didn’t miss any instances of (for example, yesterday I caught a single instance of “steeping” instead of “stepping” and found on a search one other instance of it in the book). I want to recheck a few of the larger chapters, or those that saw heavier edits and may still have “shrapnel” (my term for when a paragraph or section gets cut up or rewritten but old stuff gets missed, put in the wrong place, etc). Anything I might have missed when I was up until 1 AM editing, or because I was enjoying an action sequence a little too much to be paying attention, etc etc. You get the idea.

That’ll probably take a few days. Once that’s done however, and I’m satisfied with how clean the draft is … It’ll be time for the copy edit. Yes, that means putting in a Table-of-Contents, an introduction, all the copyright stuff, etc etc. It also means that I will be sending out an e-mail to all Alpha and Beta Readers who participated, both for acknowledgement in the book itself and for figuring out where to send their complimentary copies once the release hits.

But … it also means that once I’m officially going over the Copy-Edit, something else can happen. The pre-order can go up, because I’ll be able to set a release date.

That might happen—I’m not setting anything in stone yet—next week. While it may not, I can say this: We’re getting very close.

Which is going to be a relief to me. Starforge has been a major stressor for me. I’m ready to finish this project and do some smaller, lighter things for a while. Like another Jacob Rocke novella. And the next Axtara book.

Speaking of Axtara it would seem that our favorite banking dragon’s wings have really taken to the skies. This last week she’s been selling copies every day, and racking up new reviews/ratings with almost the same ferocity. If she keeps at the current pace, while she won’t eclipse Colony on total sales numbers anytime soon, she will eclipse it for ratings and reviews in another month.

Seems like getting a new Axtara book would be a pretty good bonus atop that, wouldn’t it? Well, sad to say I haven’t written another one in secret. See the above “editing until 1 AM” for clues as to why. But the next Axtara book is planned for. As I said, a new Jacob Rocke novella, and then another Axtara book. After that … I don’t know. I’ve got a couple of ideas. Do I want to start another trilogy so soon after finishing UNSEC Space? Probably not. I could revise and rewrite that mermaid birdwatcher novel I pumped out a few months back, set in the Axtara setting. I’ve got a few other ideas on my idea list.

Sands, maybe even do a new Dusk Guard entry. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’m going to get back to my day off. That’s the news. Enjoy, and I’ll see you all—WAIT! There’s one more thing.

Patreon Supporters, chapter two previews tomorrow. For the rest of you, come back Saturday for your first look at some of Starforge‘s first Anna chapter!

After that, it’s the usual Monday Being a Better Writer, so don’t miss out on that one either. It’s a pretty cool topic we need to discuss that I think will surprise a lot of you, as we haven’t discussed it before. Ever. No joke. It’s a recent development in the world of writing, and one that is not without its controversy. But it is about writing, make no mistake. What could shake things up? You’ll have to see Monday.

See you then, readers. Max out!

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