Happy New Year!

Look, it’s already 2023! I think it’s about time I update you on my progress with the project. In the last few months, I’ve been very busy with my work as a freelance journalist and also in hosting and organising events and online trainings. Because of this, my work on the novel hasn’t progressed as much as I would have wished.

Since I last updated you on the matter, I’ve now transcribed 40 of the 108 handwritten manuscript pages that originated from my push to finish the novel last March. I am continuing my work on that, but I’ve been slowed down somewhat by switching away from Scrivener. I figured out that this software wasn’t fitting my workflow and am now back to editing the novel as a collection of plain Markdown files. I am currently in the process of testing alternative software, especially for final layout and publishing of the manuscript in print and ebook formats.

First Ebook Version of the Novel

As a result of testing the functionality of various programs, I’ve now created a first ebook version of the novel. I am not completely happy with it yet, but we are getting there.

What I am very happy with is the new print layout that came out of these experiments. This is also not 100% there yet, but it is very close to something publishable. These are all test runs, of course. I first need to transcribe the rest of the handwritten pages and do a lot of editing, before I can release anything.

Current Print Layout of the Novel

My goal for this year is to get print and ebook versions of the novel published. To that end, I will first concentrate on transcribing the manuscript, followed by a first rough editing pass of the whole novel. After that, I will update the version of the novel excerpts that are available here on the website before doing some more editing and getting some preliminary drafts out to select people to solicit feedback.

If everything goes according to plan, I’ll have the final novel ready for you to buy by the end of 2023. No promises though, as there is still a lot of work ahead of me before this goal is reached. But I am hopeful that it can be done!

Back on Deck

The downside of writing a novel in your spare time is that sometimes, life just gets in the way. Since finishing the manuscript in March, I’ve been incredibly busy with work. And over the last month or two, I’ve gotten some well deserved rest and cleared my brain by travelling Europe – roughly 10,000 km by bike and car, all the way from the Nordkapp (12°C, rain and wind) to the island beaches of Croatia (34°C, blazing sun).

Now that I’m back home, I’ve started to transcribe the handwritten pages on my computer. I’ve just started this work, and the Scrivener file is currently reporting 73,876 words. I have no idea how long it will take to transcribe those 108 pages, but my goal is to do a little something on this project every single day from now on and chip away at that mountain of work until I have the whole novel on my computer and can do first full editing pass on it.

One upside of not doing anything on the novel for a few months, by the way, is that I have some distance to what I’ve written now and can do some editing of finer language details while I transcribe it. I’ll let you know how the work progresses. After all that travelling, I won’t be going anywhere for a while.

Back on Deck

I’ve Finished the Manuscript

After five years of work, I’ve finally finished the manuscript for Grim Deep. That means once I’ve typed up the 108 handwritten pages I’ve written for Grim February, the first draft of the novel is done. The novel, as it stands, has 23 chapters. I have 73,103 words in Scrivener right now. Plus the about 37,800 words I am estimating for the handwritten portion, that means the novel is roughly 111,000 words long. If that estimation is correct – we will see after I’ve typed it up – it’s probably a bit on the long side. It would be longer than Ender’s Game. Well, at least it’s easier to cut things in editing than to write new stuff.

For Grim February, this means I went from 11 chapters to 23 and wrote 108 handwritten pages in just over a month. And let’s not forget: I finally finished the book! Which is a complete success, as far as I am concerned. True, it took me a week into March to finish the work on the project. But then March is an unreasonably short month, as I mentioned before. And my wife and me also contracted SARS-CoV-2 a little over a week ago, which slowed me down a tad over the last few days.

But that is all behind me now. It feels incredibly good to have accomplished this. There is still a ton of work ahead of me until I can consider this novel done. And I have no idea if it is any good, to be honest. But I have finished my manuscript! I’m going to bed now. My brain is drained. But tomorrow, I will celebrate!

Grim February 4

Grim February Update: On the Home Stretch

We’re coming up on the end of the month, and I am desperately trying to finish my manuscript. As I write this, I am on my 83rd page written this month and I’ve just started with Chapter Twenty of the book. I’ve mapped out the ending and now I just have to write it. But I guess that is precisely the hard part.

I’m planning on 23 chapters right now. And I will give my best over the next two days to get it all written down. I do have some work commitments coming up in the coming week, but aside from that I will still channel all my energy into getting project Grim February done. It might expand a bit into March, but let’s be honest, I should be allowed a few extra days anyway since February is an unreasonably short month.

Expect to not hear anything from me until this is done. I will provide you with a final update once I emerge on the other side of this dark night of the soul.

Grim February 3

Grim February Update: 50 Pages

I’ve just gotten back home from a few days in a lovely little cottage on the vineyard slopes of the Moselle, where I spent my time cooking, chopping wood and writing in front of the fireplace. Grim February now stands at 50 handwritten pages – which is probably about 17,500 words written this month.

I’m currently finishing Chapter Fifteen and have now definitely entered the final act of the novel. So things are heating up, both in the story and with my goal of trying to finish the novel this month.

Grim February 2