Edit: Aw crap, I just realized today is April Fool’s. Yeah, no. This post isn’t a joke.
I’d like to apologize to anyone reading Metal Shadow who thought that this summer they would be allowed to have a life.
Starting May 1, 2014, the second #SummerOfShadow begins.
That’s right: it’s the return of my absolutely blistering chapter release schedule. Last year I wrote chapters 17 through 52 of the Prelude in 3 months. For the mathematically inclined that’s 36 chapters in about 90 days, or over 1 chapter every 3 days. Now I’ll do it again. If you haven’t caught up with the series yet, do yourself a favor and read Metal Shadow now.
I hear you out there. Your thoughts are synonymous with those of many others. My fellow writers have called me insane. They have written to me in awe. Readers and concerned friends and family members have called this venture pointless, inhumane, mad.
Hey, I’ll be the first to admit this was no easy task. On top of writing and editing three chapters for release each week, did you know I had to promote the story at the same time? Tweets, Pins, Facebook posts, forum posts. Yikes. It didn’t help that I ended up with a bunch of chapters that weren’t entirely polished for publication when it was all over. I had to go back and edit quite a few plot holes and typos, you know.
I also had an advantage on my side back then from being unemployed, which allowed me to spend all the time I wanted writing. But now I’m editing people’s writing on Fiverr and sometimes barely have a few hours at a time to myself. What could spur me to try this challenge again?
THIS. IS. Madness, it is actually madness, yes, I agree.
Truth is, the reason I gave myself that original challenge was not to beat a clock. I did aim to complete the Prelude before the end of the summer, but in doing that I was mainly attempting to kill my inner editor and force myself to write shorter, more concise chapters which stuck to the bullet points of the story I’d outlined prior. This is the heart of serialization and one of the truest paths I know of to becoming a better storyteller. The poorer your writing, the more the plot has to make up for it. The less time to edit, the cleaner you’ll write that first draft.
I also notice that if I slow down on my release schedule, writer’s block catches up with me. Sam Witt of Half-Made Girls fame made an appropriate comment about this the other day: “If you slow down the coyotes will eat you.” I’ve decided to make that my mantra.
The chaos was worth it. The first definitive edition of Metal Shadow Prelude is currently heading to a library near you. No more drafts are in wait, no more edits or revisions. It’s done. Finished. The coyotes can suck it. Top this off with analytics revelations of Metal Shadow’s current readership, a new year’s resolution of releasing the first 100 chapters having long since gone down the drain, and my impetus is clear. There must be a second summer of shadow.
Every four thousand minutes, a fictional character dies
I’m going to try something different this year. Something, perhaps, more insane.
*Cue maniacal laughter*
Instead of three chapters delivered each week, which was the schedule for Prelude, I want to write one chapter to publish every couple of days. How many couple of days? Well, my goal is to complete parts two (The Hollowlands) and three (Uquilorra) of Metal Shadow this summer. My outline lists a total of about thirty-four chapters between them—that will change when I reach part three to edit the outline, because new ideas are coming in all the time–which means I would have to publish one chapter every 2.6 days just to keep up with my previous record. That’s less than 4,000 minutes to write, edit, format, publish, and promote each chapter. Yes: under 4,000.
That sounds a bit extreme, but here’s the thing: I’m extreme. I’m So Extreme.
I’ve been reading over the outlines for these two story arcs for months now, and the level of incredible here is just…gawsh. It’s way off the charts. The story will begin to transition from sci-fi/dystopian settings to a straight up fantasy one. The villains for the first volume (parts 1-7) get introduced, rivalries come into play, and the magic system. Oh my gosh I finally get to start describing Metal Shadow’s magic system. I get all giddy and prepubescent just thinking about it.
Whether 1 chapter every 2-3 days becomes the actual release schedule or not is still up in the air, but do expect something close because I’m eager to crank out these bad boys. I’m also ready to kill the inner editor, shorten (read: focus) those chapters, and outrun many coyotes. Can I pull this thing off a second time? Let’s find out.
Two story arcs. One summer. All Shadow.
*drops the mic*