Back when I was in college and was actively having to write papers about every damned thing in the Speech Communication field, I usually wrote a paper (some on typewriters! Others on old word processors!) and just slapped my name on it and turned it in. In my defense, editing things that came from typewriters could mean having to retype half the paper if you found a mistake or wanted to change something. Even working with the old word processors – you know, the things that looked like typewriters but let you save and edit your work on a two line LED screen – was a huge pain in the ass.
You young punks have it so easy today! 🙂
Anyway, up until I wrote my thesis (Argumentation Structure and Theory in Collegiate Parliamentary Debate, read by nearly ten people now), most of my papers were done on whatever I could find to turn the words into a block of paper and I never really spent much time editing. It was just too heinous. The thesis was written in WordPad on an old Windows 95 box and was edited eight ways to Sunday because it had to go through almost everyone at my college and they all had to make some change somewhere. It took months to get the damned thing edited.
So, last year, I knocked out Henchmen with largely the same philosophy. It was rife with typos and logic flow errors and “what the hell was I thinking here” errors. In short, the first draft was what can only be colloquially described as “a hot mess.” After weeks of back and forth with my lovely wife editing and me revising, I finally released something that was only a tepid mess, maybe a lukewarm mess in certain places.
This time around, I spent more time trying to catch errors while I was writing, and have been going back through the thing with a fine-toothed comb. At about 2/3 of the way through, the size has increased to over 88k words as I realize I didn’t bother to explain some things or needed to expand other things. By the time I’m done, hopefully I’ll be able to release something that’s less mess and more generally hot.
It is a lot of work going through that much story, though, and that’s why my posts have become more and more sporadic over the past couple of weeks. It’s not because I don’t love you guys, it’s just that I’m eyeball deep in gods and Nazis and monsters.
Working on the cover has also been an interesting exercise. It’s an iterative process and when I finally settled on something I actually liked it was so far off from the first cover that I had to redesign the first cover to capture the same look and feel as the new cover and the short story over. The original cover’s redesign is still a work in progress, but it’s getting there.
Does redesigning a cover count as retconning?
So, just so this blog doesn’t become a wall of text, here’s the first sketch of the redesigned Henchmen cover. The cover for Henchmen: Arise will be up shortly before I release the book.