If you follow me on social media - and I don't know why you wouldn't - you'll know that I revealed the cover for The Hounds of Hell today. Well, a tentative design. I'm awaiting feedback, but I was happy with it when I finished it. It was a quick job, too, which I was glad about; I knew what I was doing before I started. I have known what the cover would look like since... August. Last year. That sounds about right.
What, you want to see it? Well, okay.
I don't normally create a cover for a book before I'm finished writing it. But then, I also don't do what I did today: I added three chapters to the plan of the book.
I know what you might be thinking: (a) isn't that wasting writing time? (b) doesn't that change the story? (c) shouldn't you have known about this before you started writing?
To answer those hypothetical questions, let us first entertain the idea that I know where this series is heading, right up until the very end. Can you keep that in mind? If you need convincing, I have the titles for all twelve books in the series, with an idea of what happens in each, the end of the series already in my head, and two stand-alone books entitled and in the middle of their planning stages. Okay?
So, first answer: no, it's not wasting writing time. For me, planning is an integral part of the writing process. It's also a great way for me to make sure I'm sticking to my overall aim with a book. If I don't plan, but simply intend to do something, the odds are that I'll end up stuck for ideas by the time I reach that point in the book. As it's towards the end of the book - in fact, it was at the very end of the last chapter before the epilogue that the revisions began - I would have been so looking forward to finishing up and getting on with the next book, that I wouldn't have been able to do a good job of the ending.
Just ask that one reviewer of Stepping Forward. She liked the book, but she thought the ending was weak. I agree with her. I rushed it, because I needed an ending, and I didn't want to change it, then. Bold Paul.
As for the second question I'm sure you were asking in your head, I have two words: not considerably. The book was coming to an end by the close of chapter five. At this point in my original plan, I had things sorted out nicely. When I came to writing the book, I looked ahead at the plan, and realised something: I was leaving a massive plot hole in the book. Massive. There was this huge area in the story that I was just ignoring, with the express purpose of moving on to the next book.
Pro tip: closure is a good thing.
The three chapters that I added don't pull the story away from where it needed to be by the epilogue. I think the opposite is true. I've allowed the epilogue to happen without questions being asked about the integrity of one of the characters.
And as for me knowing about this... well, I knew the ending, it was the part in between that got mixed up. Plus, when I planned the book, I didn't name a couple of people who have become more important to the story since I finished writing chapter one. I just didn't realise it at first, because I deviated slightly from the plan.
That's not a bad thing, either. By not taking everything into account before a single word was written, I've surprised myself. I've become excited about these additional chapters in the book. Plus, I think I'll actually reach my desired word count now.
See, I've had this idea in my head that I need to reach about 20,000 words with each of these books. Right now, after just over 4,000 words in Camp NaNoWriMo, the book is about 9,000 words long. This is with a start made on chapter four. Four of what had been five. Can you imagine how long those last two chapters would have had to have been to reach my target? More importantly, how much longer than the previous three chapters? Ridiculous, right? Now I have three more chapters, which can help spread things out a bit more, include a few important scenes, provide closure, and be on my merry way to The Blood of Leap.
And so ends another day at Camp NaNoWriMo, where the word counts soar, the insanity rises with it, and I answer hypothetical questions. This is going to be a long month.