My somewhat unusual proof process

My first proof for One World has arrived!

One World cut-up proof

Note that I said my first proof—there will be more. Several years ago (back in 2017, when I was writing Cheerleaders from Planet X), I figured out a handy little writing hack for myself. I’ve mentioned in various places (such as in the podcast I recently recorded with Jewel Riders Archive, which will be available for you to listen to soon) that I tend to write in layers. Not so much like a cake—more like an onion, or maybe like a Russian nesting doll. I will do a big-picture outline, then I break that down into smaller portions, each increasingly more detailed, until I’m ready to start writing. From there, I continue to adjust the outline until I get to a point where the book is starting to be book-shaped. At that point, I take a step back and look at the entire picture to make sure everything is still working, pacing is good, and get a mental gauge of what is then needed to get the book to that final Big Picture originally conceived.

When I get to that point, I will order what I call a “cut-up proof.” I figured out a while ago that the price of printing at KDP is pretty comparable to, and often cheaper than, printing out the manuscript on printer paper or taking it to OfficeMax or wherever for printing. It also has the added bonus of giving me the draft in a book shape, which helps me in a visual way to look at the book as a book, which also helps me with ensuring that pacing and plotting is on track. When I get to the stage of ordering the cut-up proof, the book is usually around halfway done, give or take. I’ll dump all my outlining materials at the end of the book, after the actual manuscript words, and that will help me finagle out the remaining details for the rest of the book that needs to be done. Often, if I’m stuck at the halfway hump, having the cut-up proof in hand will help me work out whatever my brain is stuck on, which then lets me get the rest of the book ironed out.

In the case of One World, the book is broken into six parts this time (I know—it’s because this time we’re juggling two timelines concurrently, and we need to be able to keep up with both the Iamos Crew and the Modern Mars Crew). Parts 1-3 are done, and believe it or not, part 6 and the epilogue are also done. It’s parts 4 and 5 that are currently giving me issue, so these are the parts I hope to iron out that I’ve got cut-up proof number one.

It’s usually at this point that I have a general indication of around how long the book is going to be. My target for this book was between 400-450 pages, right around the same length that New World was, because I want to keep the print pricing down. However, because we have so many open plotlines going, I have a bad feeling it’s going to wind up being more like 500 pages. I will try to do some fancy formatting to keep the page count as low as possible to keep the print pricing reasonable. But apologies in advance if One World ends up being a tank.

I am still hopefully on track for a fall release. Right now it’s scheduled for September 27, but that date may change, insert usual health caveats here. If it does change, it shouldn’t be that much longer. When I’m at the point where I’m comfortable ordering a cut-up proof, we’re usually over the hump. So! Look forward to the conclusion to the Iamos “Trilogy” (with that pesky novella that can’t be omitted, sorry, my bad, my bad) coming soon!

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