Writing my fingers off . . .

I’m getting close to the end of the third novel in the Maxwell Saga.  This one will be called ‘Adapt And Overcome’, and will see Steve Maxwell in all sorts of trouble, having to cope with professional complications, pirates and the opposite sex.  It’s been a lot of fun writing it.

I’ve just passed 100,000 words, with another 10,000 or so to go before wrapping it up. I hope to have the draft out to beta readers this weekend, and to get it back from them within six or seven days. While they’ve got it, I’ll work on the cover and set up the formatting templates. A week or two of corrections and updates based on their feedback, and it’ll be time to prepare it for uploading to Amazon.com and CreateSpace.  My target launch date is Monday, December 2nd for both print and e-book editions, God willing and all other things being equal.

That’ll make it four books and 380,000-odd words published since my first book came out in mid-May this year.  I was very optimistic (and very silly!) to have decided to produce four books in such a short time, even though the first three were largely written already, needing only a final draft.  I won’t tackle so much in so short a time again, I can tell you!  Next year I hope to publish at least three books, possibly four, but I suspect it’ll be closer to three, since they all have to be written from scratch.

I’m considering what to do about my future writing.  I’m quite happy to push the Maxwell Saga further ahead – I have a dozen books planned in outline, with perhaps more if readers want that – but I don’t want to get ‘typecast’ (you should pardon the expression) as an author.  I might also consider another non-fiction book like my prison memoir, but that hasn’t sold nearly as well as I’d hoped – admittedly, the subject and genre aren’t nearly as popular as SF among readers – so I’m not sure about that.

I’m considering a fantasy series, not massive tomes like the volumes in ‘Song of Ice and Fire‘ or ‘Wheel Of Time‘ or ‘Sword Of Truth‘, that drag on forever without coming to a climax, but something shorter, simpler and more direct.  I’d try to have each book self-contained, rather than ending in a cliff-hanger that isn’t resolved until the next book – only to have another one jump out at you when you get there. I’d try to base the series at least partly on events I’ve experienced, as I’ve done with the Maxwell Saga, meaning there’d be less emphasis on magic and more on practical, workable developments.  (I know it’s a cliché to use Tolkien as an example, but think Tolkien without the elves, dwarves and hobbits.  I’ll have to invent some races to replace them.  Kilts will be optional.)

Another option (one that I’ve already sketched in outline) is a medieval-style fantasy about a soldier in a city guard.  I think I could do a lot with this one.  Think urban fantasy without magicians – or, if there are magicians, my protagonist will regard them with profound suspicion!

What say you, readers?  Would you be interested in one or more series such as those I’ve described, or should I focus more on SF?  Please let me know in Comments.  Obviously, I want to write what you want to read, or you won’t buy my books!  That still leaves me plenty of room to be creative.

(How about a fantasy series set in prison?  With a sexy female high priestess chaplainette?)



  1. The single-volume fantasy series sounds appealing to me. Rather like the Discworld books, where each story is a stand-alone tale, but with familiar characters who reappear here & there.

  2. Don't worry about getting typecast – if you like writing about it, keep doing so. If you keep doing it well, people will buy the books.

    I've never understood this fear of being typecast, unless the person with the fear doesn't like what they're doing. Why would someone quit doing something they like doing, that they're getting well-paid for, with good job security? Doesn't make sense to me.

  3. The city guard story sounds promising. May I suggest you apply the current diversity of public opinion on the on-going US "War on Drugs" to magic users? Not having the focal character be a "drug warrior", but having him and colleagues dealing with societal members having differing viewpoints about magic drawn more-or-less directly from current viewpoints regarding drugs should make for entertaining reading.

    There is the danger of having the story be subsumed by a particular viewpoint, but the opportunity to confront different aspects of the use of magic as drug use commonly is ought to permit fairly impartial social commentary along with comedy and action.

  4. I enjoy both genres, so I'd definitely read a fantasy series of yours too. I especially like the idea of each novel being stand-alone instead of the reader being jerked along by one dangling carrot after another.

    Cliff hangers are OK to help move a story along (e.g., with two alternating story lines within one novel), but not when the reader knows that the author and publisher are only using them to get you to buy the next book.

    I think it's much more appealing when I grow to care so much for recurring characters that I want to be immersed in their lives again and again without cliff hangers. When an author can get me to do that, that's the sign of a good novel in my book. (Pun intended.)

    Purple Magpie (too lazy to sign into WordPress)

  5. Hey Peter,

    I have bought and read all of your books. Keep writing if you like it, do what you enjoy. That being said, Don't do to the maxwell or any others like the "dragonlance" books on the fantasy genre. I used to buy them, but they kept coming out with trilogies and sub trilogies and I quit buying because the original got diluted and it was a money tree for the publisher. I enjoyed the heck out of your books soo far and have recommended them to others.

  6. Urban fantasy/city guard – Yes Please!

    The fantasy series would be fun too, but it's less attractive to me. I've bought 'em all to this point, though, so it'd be fair to say I'm hooked!

  7. Yay to the third Maxwell book being up for purchase soon! Also, I read your prison memoir, even though it's not my usual thing, and I think you did a very good job with it. I plan on buying and reading every book that you publish, when I get the time to read them.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *