The Fifth One / by Kenneth Buff

Well, it's done. Well, the first draft anyway. My fifth novel, Dick and Henry The Novel (official title still pending) has just had it's first draft completed. You'd think I'd be running laps around my living room, and maybe I should. The current draft clocks in at 57,800 words, which is 7,800 more than I planned for, which is good. It's nice to have extra fat to trim off when editing time comes. But who knows, the final book might be 60,000 words. I might go through and see holes that need plugged, or character development or plot development that needs to happen, and I'll squeeze it in, and then sand it down until it fits in like it were a natural part of the table, like it just grew that way all by itself.

But back to why I might be less excited than I should be. I don't know, maybe it's that I know I still have so much more work to put into it. Or maybe it's that this is my fifth book, but I only have two in print (I'm not counting Skeletons or Dick and Henry: The Space Saga—both are short story collections). It could be that I'm just really busy right now, or that I feel like I am. I'm reading and editing the three books by the other authors in my writing group (Quinn Baldwin and Sasha Abernathy both have books up on Amazon, you should go check them out, it's good stuff), working (of course, right?), writing at night, and then (and I think this one is the one that is actually making me feel the most pressure) I'm planning out the changes I'm going to make in my next drafts of both the first draft I just finished of Dick and Henry The Novel, and Phidelphius (the sequel to Sunborn). Phidelphius will be what I tackle next, after I go through and do a clean up of Dick and Henry. I'm getting comments now of things the group has suggested I work on for Phidelphius. I'll look at those, take my own opinions into account, and make the changes that are necessary to improve the book.

I think that's sort of the draining aspect for me, is not being able to share the work right away. Now, I have no desire to publish a book as soon as I've finished typing "The End" (just so you know, I don't actually type "The End," not much point, I'll just end up deleting it later), that would lead to nothing but embarrassment. That would be like filming a movie, and then taking the video without editing it and putting it in a theater. That's going to get you a 30% on Rotten Tomatoes. Those are the movies no one wants to see. When it's a book, their the ones that no one reads. Those aren't the books I want to write. Just wish I could get through the process faster, simply because I'm impatient, not because I detest the process of editing, I actually really enjoy it. Perhaps I should look at it as more of an opportunity to exercise my love of editing, but that phrasing just makes me feel like a manager giving an evaluation.

But anyway, yeah, I finished the first draft of my fifth book, and I think it's going to be pretty good. It's fast paced, fun like the short stories it came from, but has more depth than it's predecessors (or so I hope).