93,766. That’s how many words I have written for book #6 in the Oliver & Jack series, which is entitled In London Towne.
The words are written from Oliver’s point of view, which is usually how I write a book, from one POV all the way through, and then all the way through again, from the other POV. Which, in a romance, makes sense to me, though other authors do it differently, and write very lovely books.
I had not expected to write that many for Oliver, as I’d determined 75K for each would be sufficient. But a bunch of issues came up for Oliver, and since he’s been through so much (okay, since I put him through so much), I figured he deserved to have that extra time. But all this while, Jack has been chomping at the bit for his moment on the stage.
Only this morning, when I woke up (at 4:59 am, thank you), though I had a nice, crisp outline to work from, I struggled to change the voice from Oliver to Jack. Jack’s way of looking at the world, as has been pointed out to me by readers, is more honest and street-wise. While Oliver might dance about the proverbial bush, Jack comes straight out with it. That kind of honesty takes a different kind of energy, so I spent the morning organizing cards and my notes and thinking about Jack, none of which was a hardship. Then I went on Pintrest, and there went the morning.
But I thought I’d update my readers as to the status of the book. My goal is to have 80,000 words written by the end of April. At which point, I’ll be filling out the paperwork for my cover designer, James, at Bookfly Design. While he’s working on the cover, the book will rest for two weeks in May, and then will get a going over and a copyedit. After which, I’ll be looking for beta readers who might be interested in giving me feedback while getting the book ahead of publication. That notice will go out via my mailing list, but anybody who’s interested can let me know.
And for now, here is a quick excerpt from Jack’s point of view, from those words I did manage to write for him. It is taken from the beginning of In London Towne, and Jack is telling the story of how they escaped from Axminster Workhouse, which took place in book #3.
Deep inside of the story he was telling, Jack looked over at Nolly, who was sitting next to him, to tally the resultant effect of it, to make sure of Nolly in the face of the raucous laughter from around the table. Noah was already laughing so hard that tears had started to squirt out of the corners of his eyes, and the roars of his men shook in the air. Which was as it should be, it being a quite amusing story. But all of that would be for naught if Nolly could not join in the fun.
“They was real coffins,” added Jack, holding his hands to suggest the width of them. “Black boxes that we’d only just drawn out rotting corpses from, an’ Nolly says, he goes, never mind them maggots now, just get in and keep your mouth shut.”
“An’ did you?” asked Len, leaning forward, his mouth so open a fly could have buzzed inside of it.
“Course I did, an’ wouldn’t you, with Nolly standin’ over you with a face like he’s got when he means what ’e says?”
Looking a tad startled, and unsure as to whether or not he should laugh at this, Len shook his head and scrubbed the back of it.
“Then what happened, when you got into town, like you planned?”
“Well,” said Jack, drawing the word out, for this was the best part, truly the best of it, for it showed all of the daring and cleverness that Nolly possessed, even when in the midst of such danger and fear. “We raced up the street, y’see, makin’ that we were boys on an errand for our master, but we needed to get out of the village as quick as we might, and so—”
“C’mon, Jack,” said Noah, sneering a bit as if he’d already determined the entire story to be completely and utterly false and was only waiting till Jack was finished to denounce him a liar. “Get on w’it, so we can get another game goin’.”
“We needed to get away, so Nolly, all calm as anythin’, walks up to a man and holds out his hand. The man gives him a shillin’—”
“It was a penny, Jack,” said Nolly, and Jack had hope, because there was a lightness in Nolly’s voice, in spite of the correction.
“—gives him a penny, and off Nolly goes, leadin’ the horse away from the hotel’s stable rather than toward it.”
But Noah could not complete the sentence as howls erupted around him and his own face crumpled up as he gave the loudest, most ungainly bray of laughter, howling as he stamped his feet, tears streaming down his face.
“Oh—oh, that is rich, d’you see, Jack, d’you see?”
And Jack did see, all if it, all at once, what was entirely too amusing in the telling of it. For not only had Nolly been arrested three times and had been hauled off to Newgate the one time, and been an albeit unwilling participant in a breaking and entering, he’d stolen a horse. A horse. And still Nolly walked around as pious as a monk, though Jack could not have faulted him for being cross if—so Jack looked over once more and was gladdened to see the corner of Nolly’s mouth ticking upward, a reluctant bit of a smile, with Nolly unable to hide the shine of humor in his eyes. It was a good story, then, and Jack felt well pleased with himself, reveling in the deep laughter, feeling like a cat who has been petted in all the right ways.
“Didn’t need to steal it, did you,” said Noah, wiping his eyes with the grimy heel of his palm. “Could ’ave walked as well as, oh shite—Work’us is a fuckin’ horse thief!”
“Well, we couldn’t,” said Jack, ignoring the cruelty of Noah’s pleasure at the theft. “We had to get away before the workmaster found us, right? An’ he could walk as well as we, so we had to get away as fast as might be, an’ so Nolly got us a horse.”