Progress Update: December 2019

It’s getting there. It’s getting there!

For the eleven people who actually read my blog (and I cherish each and every one of you), I thought that I’d just update where I’ve got to.

I now have a first draft of a novel, making its slow but steady journey from first draft to “readable manuscript,” which will then wend its way towards my agent’s inbox.

Nothing’s going to happen in December. Too late in the year – everyone in publishing is probably attending an endless stream of mince-pie themed drinks now. And you can’t impose all that reading on someone over the holidays, regardless that it has become traditional for Gollancz to send me an email titled “Here are your edits, please can we have them back in 14 days” on December 24th. But things are coming along and hopefully in January I might be able to make some progress towards getting a new book deal.

ANYWAY. I’ve finished the draft of a new novel. Ideally, it would be the first in a series of 7 or more, as this is a BIG story, and a relatively small beginning. The reality is that I’ll probably try for a one or two book deal that contains a completed story arc, with the potential to expand if it turns out there’s a readership. I feel that committing to a whole lot of books is something publishers will be reluctant to do these days, and the same is true for me. Better to start with a couple and see how things develop.

So, I’ve 124,000 words of a book that currently has no decided title. Breaking from Raven’s Mark tradition of following a grumpy, alcoholic, full-of-regrets 40-50 year old, this is the story of Raine, a young girl at the very beginning of her journey. She can see the dead, which is likely to get her killed, although the dead don’t seem terribly interested in her. Until they are.

The backdrop: Sorcerous warriors, an epic world history (yes I actually did world building, it has its own file and everything), a journey of learning to develop her fledgling abilities, swords, betrayal, corruption, demons, and things that just won’t stay dead. None of these are new concepts. But what I hope that I’ve managed to bring to them with this new work is a fresh set of characters, new relationships, and certain themes that will resonate with a modern audience and which I’ve not seen explored in fantasy before.

Next I have to give it a comprehensive edit, and then hopefully I’ll have it off to my agent and more exciting things to share with you next year.

Below I’ve put up a kind of casting-board. I make these to help keep the characters focused in my mind, and to provide quick reference for when I need it. Many of these names (maybe all of them) will prove to be placeholders in the long run, but it’s a handy way to insta-reference if I forget what someone looks like. There’s a big cast in this book. These are probably only 40% of the main players.

Happy December!

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Published by EdMcDonald

Ed McDonald is the author of The Raven's Mark trilogy and the forthcoming Redwinter series. He currently lives in the UK. Find me at

3 thoughts on “Progress Update: December 2019

  1. All right, I am ready to learn everything about Lady Tao’s Household.

    Congratulations! This is very exciting! You are an inspiration to have my final edits done by the end of the year… Possibly January. Here’s to finishing projects!


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