Greetings! It’s been a long time since I’ve written about The First Sin or anything to do with All Our Sins, so let’s see where things are at, shall we?
Just as a reminder, The First Sin is the first book in the All Our Sins series. I have public information about the series posted in the site’s appendix. The abbreviation I use for The First Sin is TFS and for All Our Sins it’s AOS.
I’ve been working on TFS since November of 2020. (Well, technically since November 21, 2018; according to my Discord chat history, that’s when all the brainstorming started, but I didn’t put the proverbial pen to paper for the first draft until November of 2020.) Two years of brainstorming and planning before actually starting the book! Holy moly.
Why did it take so long? The AOS universe is pretty complicated and I have a lot of worldbuilding for it. TFS was intended to be a short prequel for the series; when I first started brainstorming with the AOS members of my Discord I felt like it would be a simple story to kick things off, despite the universe’s complexity. But the more I dug into it, the more I realized TFS was a beast unto itself, and needed all the same attention a novel of “proper” length would need.
But also, I have to admit: I was intimidated. It had been years since I last wrote anything, and the thought of getting started on TFS, of putting those first words down on the page, was daunting. Lots of writers go through this. Beginning just feels like such a monumental undertaking that it’s easier to just…not. The story of AOS has been so important to me for so long that it felt intimidating to try to finally get started on it in a serious way, as if I just wasn’t worthy to write the epic vision I’ve been holding onto for all these years.
Eventually I did get started, and wrote the first chapter as the winter of 2020 settled in. I posted the first chapter for alpha readers on January 6, 2021. Some of my alpha readers had waited a literal decade or more for that first chapter; I shelved AOS’s previous incarnation, Heart of the Empire, somewhere around 2007-2010. How lucky am I that these people stuck with me through that decade, waiting for the story to come alive again? I can’t thank them enough.
At first, my TFS chapters were pretty long: averaging 6200 words each. Once I got started, the going got a lot easier, especially after one particular sleepless night where my brain treated me to what was basically a nine hour movie in my head about how the first third or so of the book should go. That helped with writing the next few chapters a lot. I’m a slow writer though, but still managed to produce new material fairly regularly for my alphas to pore over.
Now it’s June of 2023 and the draft is 114,600 words. I just posted chapter forty-two this morning. After I hit chapter sixteen I went back and broke the chapters into smaller chunks; now they average about 2600 words each. Still, it boggles my mind more than a little to think I’ve been working on this book for nearly three years and it’s still not finished. It’s getting there though! I feel like I’m on the homestretch now. I have no way of knowing for certain but my gut tells me the first draft will come in at around 150,000 words when I’m finished. That’s roughly thirteen more chapters. Lucky thirteen. We’ll see how it pans out. How long will it take me to write those chapters? It’s summer now and I’ll have more time to myself, so if the muse stays with me it could go pretty quickly. I would love to finish the first draft before 2023 is done.
In between the writing, I’ve also been working on art. I’m still struggling to recover and build up my drawing muscle again, but there have been some good pieces:
Once I’m finished the book, I’ll take a brief break from the story, then begin some revisions. I already know I need to cut a minor character (though I plan to have her pop up in the second book, Sins Beyond Redemption) and I need to smooth out some arcs for some of the other characters. After that, I’ll be calling for beta readers! That’s really exciting. They’ll help me refine the book even further, and then it’ll be off to a developmental editor for even more revisions.
It’s a huge undertaking to write a book, but, slowly, I’m making progress!