Monday, July 18, 2011

Writing and the rejuvenating power of reviews

I’m trying to finish the first draft of my next novel by the end of July so I can do revisions in August and September and hand off to editing in October.

My goal is to get the book published (ebook and POD paperback) in time for Christmas. Why Christmas? Because ereader sales are going to take off thanks to prices under $100 and a bespectacled kid named Harry Potter.

I expect JK Rowling’s impending ePotter empire to spur holiday ereader sales to previously unheard of levels. And the best part of this is, for me, most of the new users will be kids and YA fans – the target audience for the Tales of Zura, my YA action/adventure/fantasy series.

After those kids devour the Sorcerer’s Stone in two hours, they’ll need something else to read on their shiny new Kindles, Nooks, and so on. Hopefully, they’ll find The Elemental Odyssey and its sequel Where Magic Reigns.

On average, I wrote about 1 hour and 45 minutes per day so far this month. Last week, I wrote for a total of 16 hours. I think that’s a record for me during a work week.

In the 17 days I’ve been sprinting to get the first draft done, I’ve written 32,544 words. The draft is now up to 67,002 words.

This has been a struggle. It’s not easy to find the creative energy to write a couple thousand words every day after spending the workday doing brain draining technical writing.

But, as Lone Watie said, “endeavor to persevere”*.

13 days left in July, and at least 3 more big things have to happen in the book. First draft will probably end up close to 100,000 words. 13 days to write 33,000 words. It’s going to be photo finish.

Some things that help rejuvenate my creative energy are the nice reviews The  Elemental Odyssey has been getting. Even though sales haven’t taken off yet, I do have 5 invigorating reviews up there, plus Scott has posted about it (and Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance) on his blog. Thanks, Scott!

I thought I’d mention a few quotes from the reviews that I particularly appreciated:

S Kjerland

“…I found it hard to put down.”

“I highly recommend this book to kids over age 10 and adults who want a fun read.”

SD Beallis

YA Fantasy brims with Originality...

“…I couldn't wait to get back to it when I'd put it down…”

“…a fun journey of discovery…”

“…an entertaining adventure story…”

JK Wegehenkel

“The young adult fiction genre is a bit crowded of late, it’s nice that Canyon here has got a fresh take on it.”


“An entertaining, action filled story.”

“The characters are the defining element of this story. The four kids are not stereotypes, in fact they seem extraordinarily well drawn, and they always act the way the character should, based on what we know.”

“…filled with unconventional but well-paced action in atypical settings…”

Thanks to everyone who reviews my books!

And to everyone else, if you like any author, my advice is to go give them a nice review, telling them what you enjoyed from their books. It does wonders for motivation and might help the author get another book out quicker for you to read!


  1. Congrats on the great reviews! You are absolutely correct - when I get a new review I read it eagerly and the kind words of a complete stranger can make my day (week, month, year, etc :D)

    YA: Cheat, Liar, Coward, Thief
    Adult: Shackled

  2. Pretty impressive writing output, Derek. I hope you can sustain it and meet your writing goals!

  3. Yes, nothing moves the muse like someone thousands of miles away liking your work well enough to post a review.