The Pipeline

St. Jerome with skull on tableI have found a physical outlet for Royal Orders.. I’ve just sent the next book to Crushing Hearts Black Butterfly, the second of three Suicide novels for this arc. Yesterday, I began rereading the book I hope to submit next summer. Two sit in the can awaiting a round of revisions that will line them up with what’s already out there. The final volume, which is also the final Suicide novel, awaits more in-depth revision.

“How,” you may ask,” do you keep it all straight?”

It can be a challenge. Especially now as I go back and refresh the earlier books. The Amargosa Trilogy is receiving a complete line edit, new covers, and expanded material ahead of rerelease. So, I’m doing that. Next year’s project, aside from planning what’s next, involves rewriting two novellas involving Tishla into one coherent novel, followed by Douglas Best’s adventures with the Marilynists getting rolled into one. I still don’t know what to do with Broken Skies and Warped.

And then we have my obligations as Jim Winter. I’ve already talked about doing the next Holland Bay sequel as a NaNoWriMo project. That’s a lot of work for a 30-day writing sprint. But then Suicide Run was written in a month. So was Checkmate.

How do I do it?

For starters, writing and revising are not the same thing. Even when you’re writing new material for a book. I began Holland Bay in 2007. I subbed it to an agent in 2015, and made subsequent tweaks despite swearing off crime forever when it didn’t get across the transom. (Guess I got proven wrong, didn’t I?) But maybe the first 18 months was actually original work. I let it lie for a year and did a more focused rewrite after three years. That took the more common time to write a novel, about three months. I rewrote it again to narrow the focus. Then a reader pointed out its flaws. That rewrite took about six weeks. An agent who ultimately passed asked for more pointed revisions. That took a month. Line edits from Down & Out took a week.

Now I have one that needs an outline, one being prepped for an alpha reader, one going out to betas, and one sitting on Sarah Brandon Davis’s hard drive. Oh, and the second Holland Bay novel will come back for copy edit revisions somewhere in all that. Is that hard?

Other than the stupid writer’s trick of cramming 80-90K words into a month, not really. For starters, I’ve already done this several times. The books out with betas do not exist to me until I get the red ink back. Neither do the ones with editors. Only what I’m planning and what I’m currently revising count. In other words, what’s in front of me.

And I am one of those who believes the old saw of “Write everyday.” So, I do. I work on things you will never read and are for my own amusement, maybe a few others. I wrote the fictional memoir of a rock star character a few years back. You’ll never read it because, at some point, I’m going to delete everything I’ve ever written about him (except a short story that will show up in a Jim Winter collection eventually.) The same with some Star Trek stories written mainly to amuse myself. At this point, I really don’t need to find a replacement for alt.startrek.creative (Wow! Usenet! Boy, am I old!) to get in front of people because I’m writing original material.

And then there are the shorts. I have few, if any, scifi shorts out there, and a whole new crime fiction landscape has sprung up for Jim Winter to play in. So, I’m not hurting for original words.

But it is a juggling act. It’s possible.