The DuplicatesAnatomy of a Novel – Installment 1

The Question Before Us


I get the question all the time.

“How do you write a book?”

My initial response always seems to confuse the person asking the question.

“One word at a time.”

Invariably, they think I’m making a joke, or worse, not taking them seriously.

But it’s the truth. That’s how it’s done.

And it’s a brutal, exhilarating process that isn’t for the faint of heart.

As all my colleagues know, if you’re an author, you better love the process.

But since I get the how do you do it question a lot, I decided to keep a journal and a tracking log as I wrote my new book, The Duplicates, Book #5 in my Damaged Po$$e series.

In a way, it was almost like writing two books at the same time.

One; the actual book.

The other; a chronicle of my activities as I went through the entire writing and editing process.

From the initial idea, through character development, into the Outline process, the writing of the first draft, and finishing with a detailed description of my four-round editing process.

So, 68 days after I started writing the first draft on April 5th, on June 10th, I put the final touches on the finished manuscript that is now with my editor and a select group of trusted early readers.

And here’s what I know:

The Duplicates is a thriller that deals with End of Days prophecies and near-future technologies colliding.

The final word count is 87,778.

The writing and editing process totaled 290 hours.

That translates into an average of 1,290 words per day; 303 per hour; five words a minute.

Yeah, I know, weird to look at it that way, huh?

And that’s not counting all the hours I spent on the couch wondering how the hell I was going to transition my Damaged Po$$e series into more of the traditional thriller genre without losing a lot of the elements that made the series popular in the first place.

How does one write a book that includes near-future technology without veering off into science fiction; a genre I respect a great deal but have no experience with or interest in writing?

How do I incorporate the End of Days prophecies of major religions without coming across as either preachy or disrespectful of other people’s opinions and beliefs?

How do I create a memorable villain who’s got the chops to pull the role off?

And wait until you see who I picked for that.

How could I even consider the possibility of killing off any of the Po$$e series beloved characters?

Uh, oh. Spoiler alert.

All these questions and more tormented me for months as I stretched out on the couch and tried to figure out what the hell I was going to do. My wife, Laurie, although she loves the book, still isn’t convinced that all my couch time met the definition of work.

And don’t even get me started on the Outline and what an arduous task that was. But both the couch-time and the pain and suffering I experienced getting the Outline right ended up being well worth the effort.

I love this book.

In my Not At All Humble Opinion; it’s my best book.

And since my personal goal is to make each book better than the last, I’m a happy man. Don’t get me wrong. I think my last book, Either Ore, was pretty frigging good.

I repeat; in my Not At All Humble Opinion.

The Duplicates is a timely page-turner; and readers will think and learn, laugh, maybe even cry.

And while the book does test the boundaries of where we’re at right now with the advancement of technology and as a global community, the themes I deal with in the book are a lot closer to being realized than all of us might believe possible.

So between now and when The Duplicates launches, I’ll be posting a six-installment review of the process I went through writing the book.

I think other authors will find it interesting and, at times, helpful. If it does give you a few useful ideas, please let me know.

And I think readers will enjoy taking a peek behind the curtain to see how one of these things gets made.

The process is nowhere near as disgusting as watching sausage or management decisions get made, but it does get ugly from time to time.

Don’t worry. I won’t be giving away too much of the story. I want you to read the damn thing, right?

But by the end of the installments, you’ll have a good understanding of how I went from 0 to 87,778 words in 68 days.

Stay tuned, the second installment, The Idea, is coming soon.

And if you’d like to receive each installment automatically, just Subscribe here on the site.

Be well, my friends.