|Thor's Grog Induced Tales||
What is my next project? Space Cadet 3, Space Ranger 1, Veraxus? Unfortunately none of the above. For the next few weeks I'm working on interrogatories--yes interrogatories. For those of you unfortunate enough to have been forced into the legal system interrogatories are an exhaustive list of questions for a trial. We leased a horse out four years ago to a young lady for 4H. When she finished with 4H at the age of 18 the horse was supposed to come back to us so that our daughter could start to ride "Mommy's horse." You see Nicki was borne 24 years ago in our stable. He's been with us all his life. We leased him out to a girl in 4H so he could learn the routine of formal shows. He was a mountain horse, a hunter and a trail horse. Only one problem. When the lease was up the girl decided not to return Nicki. She felt entitled to him because she'd won some jumping competitions with him and now he should be hers.
This would never have happened to my generation. We didn't feel entitled to anything. If someone loaned something to you; you returned it with thanks.
The police told us to repossess the horse and so we did. Then the blank hit the fan. The girl and her 4H friends, even some of the adult 4H leaders, stormed our horse trailer while it was in motion and took Nicki off while my wife was boarding a ferry. She got his lead rope and Nicki stayed right next to Mommy, but the fracas kicked off a court battle. Now, instead of working on my next project I'm responding to legal questions as to why this poor little spoiled brat of a girl shouldn't keep Nicki just because she wants him soooo bad that no one else counts. Reminds me of Veruca Salt.
Anyway, I hope to get back to more enjoyable things soon. One miracle at a time. In the meantime enjoy Alexander Galaxus 7: Destroyer and let me know where you want Alexander to go next
There are readers out there who have waited patiently for Alexander to wrap things up with the Methuselans for quite some time now--a year. That's a long time, I know, but this time I was certain I had a really good chance at hitting my April 15th deadline. I didn't. No excuses. Destroyer simply wasn't ready. It was done but not ready. I wasn't happy with it, my editor wasn't happy with it. I couldn't put my finger on it; it was just missing--something. So I let it sit for a few weeks and addressed some of the editor's major concerns. Of course that led me in different directions, good ones, don't get me wrong. With that reality Destroyer bloomed.
The bottom line is simple: I'm not going to put out a book until its ready. I do care what my readers think of these works. If you're reading Destroyer then you've slogged through all of Alexander's adventures to do so. I will give you your money's worth. Destroyer caused me problems from the beginning and I'm not about to put it out to my readers in any format I am not satisfied with. Enigma and Destroyer will get done and they will worth the wa, you have my word on it.
When a writer or an author says 'I'm done with my first draft," what does that mean? For each writer it means something different--sorry, that's the way it is. I just finished the first draft of Alexander the Destroyer, Volume 6 of the Alexander Galaxus series. It came in at a longer than expected 133,000 words or about 425 pages. Now the industry likes to see non-Tom Clancy novels run about 70,000-100,000 words. They don't like LOTR's type epics. I can understand that; the shorter the novel the more bang for the buck. I've been criticized by a few people that my novels are a 'quick read' but honestly I think that's because they don't put the book down. The shortest novel I've put out there is well above the minimum 70K so the critique is more wishful thinking than relevant. Still, Destroyer will end at whatever length the story demands. I thought it would be about 90K but I never really know where the book is going to lead.
I have one hard and fast rule for the first draft: write whatever comes to mind. The job of the first draft is to get the story on paper. The second draft is a time to fill in the blanks, make sure the story is cohesive, embellish those areas that need it and trim the areas that get too long or too slow. The second draft is also very timeline intensive. It involves double checking that Alexander really had time to get to the Druze Homeworld between making a pass at Nazeera on Pantrixnia and baiting Lahora on Methuselah. The second draft usually takes two to three weeks.
The third draft doesn't take long, usually a week. Its to smooth out the novel and get it in shape for the editor. The editor then spends about two weeks working on grammar, identifying story problems and identifying slow areas. While the editor has it I work on something completely different. This gives me a fresh mind with which to come back and tackle the last phase. I run through the novel at least three more times checking on flow, tweaking scenes, and again checking timelines and character plots. It's a labor intensive process but one which I've developed to try and give you, the reader, a quality product. I take that part seriously. After all, I'm asking you to pay your hard earned money for this. These are quite properly considered 'pulp fiction' novels and are not intended for a Pulitzer prize but for escapist enjoyment, but I want to give you, strike that, sell you a world for you and me to enjoy. That demands a certain amount of professional diligence. I promise, I won't cut corners to get a novel out prematurely; an unpolished product will lessen your enjoyment and embarrass me.
So for those of you waiting on Alexander be patient. He's nearly there. I think he'll be well worth the wait.
Christopher L. Anderson is a husband and a proud father of two kids. With everything else he’s done in his life, being a rocket scientist–literally, a USAF Officer, B-52 Commander, Research Pilot, working for NASA, flying for the airlines, being active in the Church and during all that becoming an established Author, well, it all comes back to the basics, to the foundation of being a husband and a father.