We’re now slightly over the halfway mark for the time I’ve marked out for writing Book 8. I started at the beginning of October, and my deadline is the end of February, so the middle of December marks the 50% point.
Up until recently I’d allow about nine months per Alex Verus book – three months planning time, and six months writing time. The six months writing time has stayed pretty constant, but the three months planning has shown a tendency over the past couple of years to creep upwards (largely due to the lengthy revisions I had to do on Hidden and Veiled). Partly as a result, I’ve tried to push myself a bit with the schedule for the last book and for this one, cutting the time budget from six months to five. It didn’t work out with Burned – I ended up spending exactly as long writing it as I did on the last two – but I’m starting to feel hopeful that I might actually make it for this one. If I can keep up the five-months-per-book timing, then I should be able to keep to the one-book-per-nine-months timing, too. (It would be nice if I could get it down to eight, but unfortunately editing and rewriting delays tend to eat up any time I save on the writing part.)
But then again, it’s also possible that the future Alex Verus books will just end up being longer, which means it’ll all cancel out. Burned is going to be the longest Alex Verus novel by a fair bit, and it might be that that’ll be the pattern from now on. It’s kind of plausible – there are a lot more characters and ongoing plotlines now, so there’s more for me to keep up with and catch up on in each book – but it’s too early to be sure. But even if the books do get longer, you have my solemn promise that I won’t do a Harry Potter and have the later books in the series be 2 to 3 times the length of the first.
We’re getting into the Christmas season, so posts will be light until the New Year. I’ll still be writing (I don’t really take the holidays off) but hopefully you’ll all have a nice break!