Enemy When?

The question was posed to me today whether or not I’d get back to writing Enemy One now that the audiobook was completed and only waiting for release. The answer to that is an emphatic yes. I have a lot of ground to cover, and I want to cover it quickly. I wrote today for the first time in a very, very long time, managing to get in almost five hundred words in the span of a toddler’s 90-minute nap. Five hundred words may not seem like much, but five hundred words a day would duplicate TGB in less than a year. Not only do I not intend for E5 to be that long, I absolutely plan on writing more than five hundred words per day.

Five hundred words per day is my target minimum, and my target length for E5 is 120,000 words (in-between DOD and Hero). If I meet my minimum, E5 will be written in 240 days, assuming E5 is indeed 120k in length. For those curious, that puts E5’s finish date at May 21, 2015.

Don’t treat that as gospel. Just like on some days, my word count might be 3,000-5,000, there might be some weeks when writing anything at all is just not a possibility. Life never stops or slows down. If you don’t believe it, have a kid. But here’s the promise I want to make to you: I will work my tail off to get E5 finished as quickly as possible. I will never sacrifice quality for quantity, but quantity nonetheless is an area I’m putting more emphasis on now than ever before.

Enemy One has been a challenging experience, to say the absolute least. It may surprise some to know that I’ve already written about 100,000 words’ worth of the book, so there has been great effort taking place on my part to write Enemy One even though the fruit of that hasn’t materialized for the reader. You see, the problem with those 100,000 words is that, so far, they’ve only comprised of the first 10,000 words of the book. More has been deleted and rewritten in E5 than with any other book, bar none. I write, I realize it’s awful, I delete. I write, I realize it’s awful, I delete. The cycle has gone on and on since TGB‘s release. There have been a lot of factors to this. First and foremost, though I hate even bringing it up, getting cancer did a number on me mentally and emotionally. I just did not want to write Epic. Some might find it curious that I’ve actually written a few other projects during that same stretch of times, including the Xenonauts novella (Crimson Dagger) and a yet-unannounced project that is BIG. I can only offer this as an explanation: Epic is my heart. I can write other things rationally, methodically, like a job. But Epic has always come from deep within, and every time I reached deep within while dealing with cancer, I found sadness. I tried to write nonetheless, but the results were never good, and so they were deleted.

Enemy One follows TGB, and that in itself has been a huge problem. I knew what was going to happen in Enemy One to the point where it became boring to write, and when you’re writing while bored, the writing will be boring. I was going through the numbers. They do this, then they do this, then they do this, etc. etc. It wasn’t even Epic anymore. It was the same kind of self-published drivel I’ve fought my entire writing career to separate myself from. It would have sparked review headlines like, “Was this even written by the same author?” and I wouldn’t have been able to refute them at all. It was a predictable story that was just going through the motions. I can’t write something that I know will turn out like that.

You see, there comes a problem with planning too far ahead, because you become so familiar with the story, the writing becomes more a chore than a passion. It’s a catch-22, because without a plan, you literally have no idea where you’re going, and the story reflects that. I actually tried that, too, scrapping the plan entirely and just writing with no direction. It didn’t work. 10,000 words deleted (again). Just the same, the plan I had was no longer exciting me, so I wrote a new one. It’s the one I’m working through now, and it’s great. I’m not just saying that. It has many elements of my original vision for E5, but with much stronger foundations, convictions, and flat-out excitement. It was a fresh coat of paint that Enemy One desperately needed.

I do know where Epic is going. It isn’t a directionless tale with no ending in sight. The series has an ending (which I know) which will take place in either 7 or 8 books. I know what will happen, for the most part, in those books. I just don’t know if E7 will be enough to wrap everything up. I’ll see when I’m finishing E6. But it has a plan. I just try not to look at it too much.

So those are explanations and a general update about where E5 has been, is, and is going. This is kind of a crossroads for both the series and the Epic brand. You’ll know what I mean in time. Just know that things are getting back to good, this writer is trying hard, and there’s no reason to be anything other than optimistic about Epic’s future.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting about the progress I’m making. I want you in on this journey with me! I’ll never spoil things, but on occasion what I’m writing might spur a thought which I’ll share. I like to be interactive, and your interactions mean more than you’ll ever know. Thank you for bearing with me, thank you for always being an encouraging word, and thank you for being a part of Epic. You’re as big a part of it as Remmy himself.

I’ll post again soon!

-LS

Comments

  1. Awesome to hear that you’re feeling optimistic Lee. We’ll be right here with you for the ride!

  2. After reading Crimson Dagger I stop playing Xenonaouts and for 4.5 days I just read and read Epic, and fallow Scott story.
    Right now I am in afterbook-hangover and can’t wait for E5 and more, it will be hard to pick up another book with the EDEN still hard in my brain. Good luck with writhing and dont rush, we can wait if that mean awesome book.

    Cheers

  3. Lee Stephen says:

    That’s awesome to hear, Grzegorz! Crimson Dagger was a really positive experience – it was a privilege to be able to contribute to that project. I’m doing a Let’s Play for Xenonauts right now and loving the heck out of it.

    Hopefully the wait for E5 won’t be that much longer! Q2-ish of 2015 is the goal.

  4. There is life, and then there is art. And sometimes you have to take care of life first, then the art comes latter. Take care of yourself and your baby. The writing will come it will be magnificent and I will wait for it. Just make sure to email me when done.
    Have a Happy Christmas with your family

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