Gray Haze Update #28 – It’s Finished!

I haven’t posted an update since February 19th because I have been busy actually making progress with the book. Since that update, I have added 66,226 words to the manuscript, which was apparently enough to finish it.

Almost precisely a year ago, on April 10th, I began the second draft of GRAY HAZE and posted the first progress update. I included the first paragraph of the first chapter, which read as follows:

first paragraph, April 10th, 2019

Now, it reads:

first paragraph, April 11th, 2020

Of course, it is subject to change a bit more as I edit this thing.


Speaking of editing, that process has already been ongoing. I usually reread what I’ve written once or twice and make adjustments as I go so the draft is not so rough. Here are the next steps I plan to take:

  1. I began reading GRAY HAZE from the beginning a few weeks ago and will continue where I left off, halfway through Part 2.
  2. Once I am finished reading through it once, I will make note of things I want to improve or ask my editor about. I am going to polish the technical aspects of the manuscript as much as I can before I send it to my editor, which could take about a month. By then, of course, I will be so sick of the book that I probably won’t want to look at it for a while, which is good because my editor will likely take a week or two (or three) to read it.
  3. During that time, I will redraw my maps, organize a glossary and list of characters, and format a table of contents, among other things.
  4. When my editor has read the entire draft, we will comb through it together, and I will try to trim it down. I currently cannot foresee what I’ll be able to cut out (if anything at all), but that’s why my editor exists. We’ll discuss the plot at length, making sure there are no holes I need to fill, and so forth. This whole process could take the entire summer.
  5. In September, I’ll format the manuscript and purchase copyright, then I’ll scour the Internet for beta readers. This is going to be an interesting challenge because the book is so massive, but I want to recruit at least five strangers to evaluate it before the final polishing stage. I’ll probably give them the rest of the year (or longer, if necessary) to read through it, one section at a time.

Target Audience:

GRAY HAZE is written for adults, although there is very little cursing and no graphic depictions of sex or nudity. Most of the characters are in their twenties or older, with a few in their teens and one 10-year-old boy.

The themes in this book can be quite dark and heavy. There is not a lot of happiness in it, although I don’t think it qualifies as grimdark. It takes place in the year 2041, which adds a sci-fi element, and also features multiple worlds and supernatural creatures, which makes the plot lean heavily on fantasy. Other subgenres include horror (because monsters, demons, and general atmosphere), and romance.

Many of the POV characters were raised in Christian households, so they view the supernatural events through a Christian lens as they unfold. This does not make it a Christian book by any means, but my target audience includes people who can tolerate mentions of God (and two of Christ), plus many Christian motifs in a fantasy novel.

The violence can be brutal and graphic, as I don’t tend to hold back on that sort of thing. There is a single rape scene which is not graphically described, except through the emotions of the victim before it’s interrupted. If that is something that disturbs you, it can easily be skipped since it only comprises a couple of paragraphs.

The narrative is emotionally-based and character-driven, with deep, 3rd-person POV that alternates among several different characters (four mainly), throughout the book. Some of the characters are morally-grey, some are little sunflowers, and others are plain evil. If you like a wide variety of characters with unique motivations, you may be in my target audience.

The Premise:

The world is about to end as everyone knows it, and the only way to survive is to serve a Master, each of whom rules over a separate realm. Two dominant Masters include the Master of Amal’en (the world directly above Earth) and the Master of Earth. They play by different rules, but their eyes are fixed upon the same prize: the highest realm, Amalta, where its Master, the Creator of all realms, appears to be missing. That conflict will be the catalyst to the Great War, and each character must choose a Master or die before the War begins.

The Manuscript:

GRAY HAZE is 306,084 words broken into a brief prologue, epilogue, and 150 chapters (with an average length of 2,000 words, or 7 pages each — this would bring the book to about 1,020 pages total). It is separated into 6 Parts of varying lengths that end in major cliffhangers. Speaking of cliffhangers, this is the first book of a planned trilogy, so not all loose ends will be tied up with a pretty little bow by its conclusion, although the main conflict of the novel will be [mostly] resolved so the next book can happen.

I look forward to sharing this story with the world and starting Book 2! I’ll continue to post updates on this blog as I edit GRAY HAZE. Stay tuned!

Marci Levin

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