Post Draft Analysis

In honor of this weekend’s NFL draft, I thought I’d do a post draft analysis. Now, of course, if this was a post about the NFL draft, it would be a pre-draft analysis. But it’s not about the NFL. What I thought might be interesting…well, at least to me…is to take a look back at the draft of my fourth Quinn novel, finished on Tuesday, from a technical standpoint.

First, a big sigh of relief, and an internal, “Oh, yeah!”

Now let’s start with some loose stats:

Book proposal written: July, 2008
Book started: approximately September 22, 2008
Book research trip to London and Paris: October 20 – 30, 2008
Hit 100 pages: approximately December 19 (I had a lot of distractions during the fall so didn’t write nearly as much as I had planned)
Hit 200 pages: approximately January 16
Hit 300 pages: approximately February 27
Spent most of March doing tweaking and rewriting
Hit 400 pages: approximately March 30
Finished Rough draft: April 7
Rewrite: April 7 – 21
Off to agent: April 21
Off to editor: Probably April 24
Plus or Minus on Deadline: 1 week early (deadline May 1)

Initial analysis:

Not happy with the amount of calendar time this book took, especially since I’m supposed to be doing this fulltime now. There were several reasons why: research trip, laser eye surgery, the holidays, and just the general distractions of starting your life as a fulltime novelist. What I am happy with is that around mid January, I buckled down and began spending large amounts of time each day at my computer. Probably 80% of the book was written after New Years.

Moving Forward:

Don’t waste so much time, and plan things so that I don’t have things like research trips coming in the middle of writing the book. Since my goal is to write as much as I can every year, doing this will help me create more time to write more than just the Quinn books.

So, based on this, here’s my plan for Quinn 5:

Write Proposal: Next week (April, 2009)
Research Trip: In the next two to three months
Start seriously writing: September
Rough Draft Completed: Christmas
Submit Draft Completed: January, 2010
Plus or Minus on Deadline: 3 to 3 ½ months early (deadline May 1)

Worst case I want to be done with it by sometime next February. None of this should be a problem as long as I put my mind to it. And what this does is free me to work on other things also.

So, by analyzing my performance and making adjustments, I should be able to create holes to work on other things this summer (though summer is going to be pretty busy, see below) and then late winter next year.

Here’s what the next four months look like:
L.A. Times Festival of Books (This coming weekend!)
That research trip
Thrillerfest
A couple of weeks up at my parents with my kids
The release of THE DECEIVED in paperback (June 23rd)
The release of THE UNWANTED in the UK (July 2nd)
The release of SHADOW OF BETRAYAL in the US (July 7th)
(No, that’s not two different books, SHADOW and UNWANTED are the same, just different titles…maybe I’ll discuss that next time.)
Book tour for SHADOW OF BETRAYAL on the west coast (details here: my Book Tour info )
AND work on one of those non-Quinn projects

I know this all seems kind of clinical, but I thought it would be interesting to take a look. By writing it, it’s actually helped me focus more on what needs to be done. So thanks for hanging in there as I did that!

So what do you think? Am I crazy? Did this help you? What’s your writing plan?

SWEEPSTAKES!!! I’m giving away 2 ARCs of SHADOW OF BETRAYAL a month starting this month through June. Details for entering are here: SOB Sweepstakes

And here’s this week’s inspiration. Imagine the amount of time and planning that went into this!

9 thoughts on “Post Draft Analysis

  1. Louise Ure

    I love your post-draft analysis, Brett.

    Now,if it was me, I’d have to have a similar timeline for a project to be done between January 2010 and the May 1 date the book was really due or I’d have that little "ah, there’s still plenty of time" escape clause in my head.

    Reply
  2. Sylvia

    Excellent analysis and summary. It reminded me of Louise’s Deadlines blog entry a while back. Now if I could only get out of my own way to get through some chapters myself and FINISH a book for once.

    Reply
  3. JT Ellison

    I love this analysis, I’m going to do it for my previous and next book and see where I stand. I just had dates changes in my pub schedule so I need to realign everything. Thanks for the breakdown!

    And congrats on getting the 4th done. You rule!

    Reply
  4. Steve in Germany

    Sounds like a solid plan. Is the release date for SOB the 7th or 18th? The London and Paris trip must have been both fun and hectic. Take any pictures? How about posting a few.

    Reply
  5. Brett Battes

    Steve, the release date here in the US is July 8th. My launch party/signing will be on the 18th at the Mystery Bookstore. It’s a little confusing, but the book will be out 10 days by the first signing (due mainly to the fact that Thrillerfest falls in between)

    Reply
  6. Zoë Sharp

    Congrats on getting the new book in on – or ahead of – time, Brett!

    Very interesting post, and it sparks an idea … so thank you for that ;-]

    Isn’t it going to get a bit awkward referring to SHADOW OF BETRAYAL as SOB, though?

    Reply
  7. Brett Battes

    I think it’s hilarious that the initials for SHADOW are SOB…cracks me up every time. 🙂

    Thanks, everyone for chiming in. Love hearing your thoughts, and hope maybe some of you will try out analyzing your own work in this way. It’s amazingly helpful.

    Reply

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