The belated update to Daybreak is here. I do apologize for the delay -- mostly caused because I started the chapter late, as I was too busy roleplaying a giant, spacefaring mushroom on a bid to unite the universe... no seriously.
The good news is, I've already started the next chapter to make up for the delay. With any luck, it'll be out much faster this time -- hopefully around two weeks.
Also, since marksy.arc90 seems to be dead, I'm currently looking for another easy-to-use WikiCode to HTML converter to use for Daybreak. Yet to find a satisfactory one so recommendations welcomed.
Many of you have wondered and complained: why do Daybreak updates take so long? Well, let me break the work down. Here's a rough list of 'steps' in the Daybreak chapter release process:
- Research: Daybreak is not like most web novels. To write a work of this scale and detail requires a serious amount of research to fact-check and back details up. This step varies greatly from chapter to chapter: some of the slice-of-life chapters require almost none; while the more serious chapters need metric tons. For example, to write v3ch8-9, I read through dozens of articles and personal accounts on bipolar disorder: the clinical symptoms, the emotions patients go through, the impact to those around them, etc. To write v3ch10, I dug into wikiislam, askislam, and wikiquotes to read up on their stories, folklore, and teachings -- so I'm actually portraying a realistic culture and not just a convenient stereotype. The major battle chapters are probably the most consuming to write; formulating strategy on my part involves digging through lists of historical battles for both inspiration and confirmation -- making sure the tactics employed will result in depicted results and not simply wishful thinking by an amateur (I can pick apart most military fiction out there for lacking in this xD). On average, I'd say this takes about 5-9 hours per chapter.
- Writing: I'm by no means a fast writer. The average chapter length of Daybreak has more than doubled since 1st volume. Now, each chapter composes of around 4 scenes or sections, and each of these scenes will take me between 3-4 hours, depending on my familiarity with the style and topic. That comes out anywhere between 12 to 16 hours. This does not even include the occasion where I completely toss out a finished scene because I decided it's plot/character/world development value does not warrant its wordcount (which happened once over the weekend). I do not tolerate the useless word spam that most fanfiction authors are guilty of (million plus words? I could re-read all of World War II in less <_<)
- Alpha Editing: Most chapters go through two stages of alpha editing, taking 2-3 hours each. By the end of this I can finally deem the chapter of sufficient quality by my own standards.
- Beta Editing: After alpha, I pass it to the beta-reader/editors -- each of whom have their specialties. As a general rule, I wait for feedback and recommendations from at least 3 betas. Usually each of these discussions will trigger another editing round of 2-3 hours each.
Sum these estimates up and that's an expenditure of 27-40 hours per chapter. This is why it takes me a long time! How much could you have done with an extra 30+ hours per month or so? I left out other tasks too: like map-making, or long-term planning sessions, or my 'general edits' -- where every 4-5 chapters, I run another edit on all the chapters to make sure the story is moving consistently. The list goes on.
Many a commenters have praised Daybreak's writing quality as professional and this is why. There's no secret other than the sheer time spent polishing it.
Nothing worth having comes without diligence and painstaking effort.
(Removed my Brexit thoughts; since some British were clearly taking offense... sorry about that...)