Let's Make A Novel

Let's Make A Novel
Photo by Bekky Bekks / Unsplash

Way back in early 2016, I wrapped up the second draft of a new novel called Disintegration.

It was about a man stranded in the Arctic after a global cataclysm. No zombies. No spies. Just man against nature, with some  Sci Fi elements thrown in.

In other words, something entirely new for me.

I loved it.

I sent the manuscript off for a content review, and my editor promptly came back with the following synopsis of my pride and joy:

Disintegration is a manuscript that is very strong through the beginning, but struggles through the end. The survival part of the story with Emmett dealing with getting out of the Artic works very well, but once other characters enter the picture, the story beings to flounder... – Jessica @ Red Adept Editing

tl;dr: Strong opening. Weak ending. Revise. Revise. Revise.

I chewed on the critique for a few weeks, but try as I might, I couldn't figure out how to fix it. Everything was connected to everything else.

Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden / Unsplash

Unable to discern a  path forward, I finally decided to put my troubled manuscript aside and try my hand at something different.

This was the genesis of a fun little psychological horror novella called Virginia, which went on to sell roughly two-hundred copies. :(

Lesson learned. People don't buy novellas.

Restless, and still unable to figure out how to fix Disintegration, I dabbled with several other projects. I even considered writing another Kurt Vetter or Elements of The Undead book. In the back of my mind, though, I was always thinking about Disintegration. How could I make it work?

The answer finally came in early 2020.

There's not much  to say about the pandemic at this point except that it broke the world in ways we never could have imagined. And that it's not done with us yet. That crazy period of lockdowns and then no-lockdowns (I live in Arizona, where our lockdown lasted all of a weekend), did one thing, though: It gave me space to figure out what I needed to do with Disintegration.

I had to start over. I had to strip the novel to its core and then build it back up.

So I did.

Lots of time, remember?

I wrapped up my last set of revisions in late 2021, and  put the manuscript aside to marinate for a few months. Satisfied I had done my best, I began work on another new novel, this one about a trojan earth asteroid. More on that project in a future post.

Fast forward to a few months ago. It was time to see if Disintegration (now named Bare Metal) still worked. I was shaking when I began reading. But within a few minutes, I knew everything was going to be okay.

The story works.

So, now what?

I could call up my editor and get a spot on her calendar six months from now. And then wait. And wait.

Or I could try something new.

I like experimenting. I always have.

I've long been intrigued by the idea of serializing a story. However, I'd rather not be beholden to a middleman like Amazon. They already have enough. Of everything. Fortunately, recent advancements in the open source platform  ghost.org have  made it feasible for a small author like me to build a direct relationship with you, the reader, on terms that work well for both of us. Everyone wins and Amazon stays on the outside :)

Here's my plan:

Free members of WilliamEsmont.com (everyone right now) will receive the first several chapters of Bare Metal via this newsletter. Hopefully you'll read it. But if you don't, that's fine too. There's only so much time in the day. After the first few chapters, there'll be a slight pause of five or six weeks, at which point, the remainder of the chapters will begin to become available to you.
Supporting members will receive new chapters every week. They'll also have access to ePub versions of my full back catalog, a standing invite to a quarterly group Zoom happy hour, and access to William Esmont Books on Slack.

So, that's it. You'll get the book either way if you maintain your membership, but you'll get it a little faster if you decide to support the process.

I hope you'll join me on this journey! I'm beyond excited to finally get this story out of my head and into your hands!

Mark your calendar for Sunday, June 12. That's when the first chapters land.