Learning From the Past (Devilspawn/Maxwell Novacek Update)

After ten months of radio silence, I have a new update on the status of Devilspawn and the Maxwell Novacek stories.

Alright, well, it’s been almost ten months since I last posted something, so I think it’s about time for an update.

First things first: the first draft of the next Maxwell Novacek story was finished last April or May. However, there were a lot of issues I needed to fix and, given that I was working fifty hours a week, I had little time to think about how to do so. As of December, my day job has decreased in hours significantly, but I’ve been working on other things, namely: Devilspawn.

I have wrapped up the current draft and will soon be sending it out to beta readers. After that, it’ll hopefully only have to go through one more revision before being ready for its first phase of release; which brings us to the matter at hand.

I’ve been thinking for a while about why I like writing. I like to reach people. I like to speak into their lives and help them see from perspectives other than their own. And I also like to help foster community. Every time I see some big franchise with a huge following, I love it. To see so many people come together under one like interest is something that is beautiful to me. To be able to build something that does that for people would be huge. But I write slow.

I have a tendency to completely forget projects I’m working on for months at a time, only to come back and remember nothing, thereby forcing me to spend inordinate amounts of time trying to remember what I was doing, where I was going with it. I have a tendency to write things that are either very short or long, sweeping narratives. Someone slow to create is often someone slow to release. Slow to release often means work going unseen and unheard. Of course, quick to release can have a similar effect, but only releasing one really big novel and then releasing the next several years down the line—especially in the self-publishing atmosphere—is a recipe for disaster.

Sidenote that I remembered as I was wrapping up this post: I also like fan theories or predictions about the future of a piece of media. The latter of which is difficult to foster in a novel like Devilspawn where most of the mysteries related to the main plot are wrapped up by the end of the novel since Devilspawn is meant to stand alone while also supplying and gaining more context to and from the other novels in the series (as are the rest of the novels planned to be in the Void Jumpers Chronicles).

So, I’ve decided I’m not going to release one giant novel. Instead, I’m going to follow a model similar to what I had planned for Isle of the Dreamer, but with a few fixes. For those unaware, Isle of the Dreamer released chapter by chapter as a web serial.

One major problem with Isle of the Dreamer was a lack of planning. At that point, I had little to show. I had no preparation, I was making everything on the spot, with no planning ahead. I couldn’t make promotional materials, I couldn’t schedule social media campaigns, I couldn’t do anything to make it seen and, even if I did, it was destined to culminate into nothing short of an incoherent mess.

Devilspawn is already written and will be finished before I release even the first chapter. I’m having people beta read Devilspawn instead of rushing out a chapter in two hours and giving it a once over because I suddenly realize I’m past my deadline. I have time to build a schedule and to plan how I’m going to push each chapter, figure out what each chapters’ strengths and weaknesses are, figure out what can draw people in. I already have plans to start up a Patreon, something likely to draw people back as I release things such as author commentaries or other bonus materials like deleted scenes. I’m planning on making images to draw in the eyes and to act as headings to ease people into various scenes.

Sidenote again: I also wrote the current draft with that format in mind: the chapters are longer so that they each hold self-contained plots while also building toward the main plot of the novel at the same time.

This round of beta reading is currently scheduled to be done in late July (which is later than I would like, but, hey, what can you do?). While that’s going on, I’m planning to work on scheduling the release and development of the supplemental materials. As well, I’m going to work on other projects that (should) release more regularly, such as Maxwell Novacek (which needs to be done before Devilspawn can start releasing because reasons), commentary videos, and audio renditions of my other short stories.

My optimistic estimate for the release of the first chapter of Devilspawn is the last week of August/first week of September, though a late-September or early-October release is more likely, especially if I decide I want to have an audio version of Devilspawn releasing with the main chapters instead of waiting until later.

That said, depending on how things go, there’s a lot of editing that may need to be done. As previously stated, Devilspawn is long, coming in at nearly 150k words in its current state, which is a lot to ask of people for a debut novel. Allegedly. The format with which I’m releasing Devilspawn might make that less of an issue, but I may need to trim it down.

After Devilspawn’s release, my plan is to release a print version of the book for people to buy and probably a deluxe edition with the aforementioned deleted scenes (those that I couldn’t make fit or no longer worked due to a change in the novel’s direction) including an epic history-style prologue (because only the real fans care about epic history-style prologues).

I hope to be releasing blog posts and short stories on at least an every-other-week basis from here on out, even if those blog posts happen to just be status updates on changes I needed to make to Devilspawn or examples of the aforementioned scene images.

If you haven’t already, go ahead and subscribe to my blog, either through WordPress or the email entry field on the right side of the page. Also, hop on over to our Facebook page and give us a like, leave us a comment, or share with your friends. As always, thanks for reading, and Happy Making!

Author: E. M. Xavier Burgess

A world-builder at heart, Xavier writes books and makes video games as an extension of the worlds he creates. He also enjoys to share his insights into life and the universe, as well as the nature of others. The primary world he has been working on for the past 10 years is that of The Void Jumper's Continuum, an alternate reality of sorts. He is married to Olivia (featured in his profile picture) as of August 2020 and has a cat named Biscuit (named such because he's kneady).

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