Monday, February 9, 2015

The Faceless Enemy by the Numbers

The  sequel to Dreamwielder has 
more action, more airships, and 
more of Makarria kicking ass!
(Dreamwielder art 
courtesy of Patrick Williams)
(Update: After a bit of debate, my publisher, agent, and I decided to change the name of The Faceless Enemy to Souldrifter, so as to better tie-in to the first novel, Dreamwielder. 3/23/15)

My new fantasy novel, The Faceless Enemy, is done and sent off to my publisher! As you might expect, it feels good to be done, and I'm excited for the book to get into the hands of readers. In the interim, though, here's some details on how the book came about for those of you who are interested in the writing process or just like to break things down by the numbers.

15 MONTHS. From start to finish—planning, writing, and revising—the book took me fifteen months to complete. I started the book during NaNoWriMo in November of 2013 and sent the final draft to my editors at Diversion Books here in February 2015. Considering it took me thirty-nine months to get through the same process with the first book in the series, Dreamwielder, fifteen months is pretty good. Considering also that I got engaged, married, and moved during 2014, and fifteen months really ain't bad!

97,200 WORDS. The final draft I sent to my publisher weighs in at a respectable 97K words, which is 4K words longer than Dreamwielder. The first draft of The Faceless Enemy was only 92K words, but was light on setting description, background exposition, and secondary character viewpoint. Fleshing those aspects out during the revision process accounted for the 5K boost.

4 PARTS. With Dreamwielder, I closely followed the 3 Act, 8 Sequence structure used for film scripts, but with The Faceless Enemy I instead loosely followed the 4 part structure Michael Moorcock prescribed in
a crazy interview where talks about how he was able to write a novel in three days. Obviously, I failed at the whole three days part, but the structure did give me a lot of creative leeway and resulted in an action-packed story that is even more fast paced than Dreamwielder.

1 PAGE. With Dreamwielder, I meticulously outlined the story before writing and had pages and pages of notes on everything from character analyses to the history of the Five Kingdoms. With The Faceless Enemy, though, I started with a single page of rough notes that was comprised of maybe a dozen bullet points laying out major plot turns—that's it. I was able to dive in with less prep-work because a) I had already laid the groundwork with Dreamwielder, and b) I'm a much more confident writer than I was seven years ago when I started Dreamwielder. (I still can't believe it was seven years ago!)

8 READERS. I had eight volunteer readers who went through the first draft of The Faceless Enemy and gave me invaluable feedback, and I'd like to thank them all. Without their insights, the novel would be an anemic version of what it is today. So thank you, Liz Kracht, Eric Tryon, Ahimsa Kerp, Juniper Nichols, Mandy Burke, Shirley Phillips, Linda Cogburn, and John Meinz!

I'll have some updates on the novel once I get the production schedule from my publisher. Keep in touch with me on my Facebook page for the most up to date news. Until then, cheers!

-Garrett Calcaterra


  1. Thanks for breaking down your process, and including me in it!