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It's Finished!

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

I finished it. The first draft, anyway. I’ve spent the last year writing the sequel to The Awakening of Artemis and wrapped it up a couple of weeks ago. Hold the huzzahs and celebrations. I was ten months late in doing so. At the beginning of 2021, I set a goal to write the first draft by the end of March. I figured I could write 1,000 words daily, six days a week, for thirteen weeks. Easy peasy, right?

Well, it should be. But it wasn’t. Household projects, social obligations, business meetings, doctors’ appointments, long weekends, vacations, tax returns, financial planning, Zoom calls, theater tickets, music festivals, graduation parties, holidays, concerts. All these things—some fun and some not—interfered with my ambitious plan.

Perhaps the biggest impediment to my plan was my (tedious) self-imposed writing process. Many suggest spewing what’s circulating in one’s brain onto a page and then returning to fix it later. I suppose that works for many people—but not me. To my ears, it sounds like flushing a toilet onto a page. I am more inclined to try to get each chapter right before beginning the next. So, a fifteen-hundred-word chapter—I like to write short chapters—might take me a day or two. But getting it right might take me another day—or two. Okay, it might take another three to five days before I am happy.

So, finishing the first draft is a big deal. And it felt great. For a day or so, anyway. Now the hard part begins.

I need to hire an editor, a book designer, and a cover artist, update my website, send queries to prospective agents, and develop a marketing plan. If that doesn’t sound as difficult as writing the book, that’s because it isn’t. But writing a book is a creative endeavor. It’s challenging, for sure. But it’s gratifying. That other stuff is just the business end of any publishing enterprise. And that other stuff absorbed most of my energy during my 40-year business career. I would love to be done with it.

But as the Brits might say, “needs must.”

So what’s it about?

If the first book was about the future effect of AI on society, the second book is more speculative. More on that in a moment.

Before writing it, I read all my online reviews—those that were positive and those that were not. (It’s rated 4.6 Stars out of five on Amazon. 4.4 on Goodreads.) I was consistently complimented on my vision of the future. Many reviewers saw it as a warning, i.e., this is where we’re headed, and it isn’t pretty. Others found my vision fascinating—one even described my efforts at world-building as “supreme.”

Many readers liked the characters I created, especially the strong female lead. Others were more critical. Here’s what one reviewer said:

“…there were too many powerful, driven women… There is a good amount of well-described conflict, but this is definitely a book that leans towards female readers, with lengthy sections spent hashing through the interpersonal conflicts and their internal causes. Tony Russo, the love interest in the book, is a breath of fresh air. A man of principle and action, he despises the manipulation and evil he sees around him but manages to maintain his sense of honour despite the muck that clings to everyone.”

Sounds a bit sexist.

Other reviewers said there were too many characters, too much technology, and too much going on, which made the story difficult to follow at times. I take all of these comments as constructive. And I worked hard to improve my writing in the sequel, the title of which hasn’t been decided.

I’ll leave you with the blurb. What’s a blurb? Well, it’s a one or two paragraph synopsis intended to entice readers to buy. Here’s my first draft:

The Resistance. A hybrid human. An escape to a parallel universe.
After escaping from government-controlled city-states into the dystopian remains of America, Diana Gutierrez-Adams finds herself on the run. She learns that her grandfather is the head of a resistance movement to counter a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of government. Partnered with a hybrid human, she must engineer a jailbreak, counter an imposter-led propaganda campaign in the Metaverse, and jump to a parallel universe as military forces surround her.
Will they survive in this new world—a world that seems familiar until it doesn’t? Will they be safe from an even greater evil? How will they live in a society that offers security at a price?

What do you think?

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