Who’s You Daddy? August Writing Update Part 2

By this time tomorrow, I will be finished with my Skull Daddy edits.

For now.

Currently, draft 3 is sitting at 22,244 words, and that count will likely be higher by the time I finish editing those last two chapters tomorrow.

“But why don’t you finish those edits right now?”

Because Tuesday is admin day. I have a system. A process. Don’t rush me.

The important part is that draft 3 will be complete before the end of August, which was my editing goal for the month. And since I will be one day ahead of schedule on that, I can use the extra time to finish draft one of From the Lake because I have fallen a little bit behind on that goal.

When I first started writing Skull Daddy, I thought maybe this would just be a fun short story to throw into a collection someday. At the very least, it would be an entertaining writing exercise. When a friend of mine told me that her daughter, my youngest niece, had a plastic ram skull Halloween decoration that she named Skull Daddy, my interest was immediately piqued. I have been told by both her parents that she makes them do a voice so that she can have conversations with Skull Daddy. Barely a minute passed before I was begging for permission to use this as writing inspiration.

Loosely using this lovely family as a starting point, I began to craft a dark and disturbing world around a tormented household. That first draft of Skull Daddy was 11,572 words – quite a bit longer than the short stories in my collections so far. I saw potential for at least a novella.

The goal fir draft 2 was to lengthen the story, but without simply spewing word vomit onto the page. I needed to figure out reasons, and explanations, and motivations. It was a stop and start process with more brainstorming that editing. I even tried to make this my 2022 NaNoWriMo project in the hopes it would help with, well, everything. It did not. Although I made some decent edits, I had more notes on what to fix for draft 3 than anything else. But by the time I finished that second draft, I was already at 14,408 words so there was some tangible progress.

But draft 3 has been the big one. I’ve made the most changes – including changing almost all of the characters’ names – and I’ve more than doubled the word count. And, most importantly, I added more fear, gore, and psychological horror where the story needed it.

Typically, I would start thinking about getting some beta readers, but I’ll want to do a draft 4 first. I made so many changes and additions this time that I want to give the story a chance to marinate before I take another look at it with fresh eyes. Once draft 4 is done, I’ll run it through the trusty old AutoCrit editing software to help me find the obvious issues and mistakes before sending it off to beta readers. I hope to reach that phase by the end of the year so that I can start getting everyone’s feedback by the beginning of 2024. And then – you guessed it – Skull Daddy will be the next book embarking on the self-publication journey.

So if you like witches, skulls, cats, creepy little kids, and dead bugs taped to Valentines, shoot me a message! You might just be one of my future beta readers.

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