"Cathy" started as a small part of a much larger (and still unpublished) story that I started writing maybe 8 or 9 years ago; it had its genesis as a moment of reflection by the main character (Will), comparing his life as a 40-somthing, in a new relationship, with his life as a teenager. Once the initial concept had seen the light of day, it took on a life of its own, and grew out of all proportion. It was no longer just a few random reminiscing scenes, but really warranted me turning it into a story in it's own right. So, I plotted out a series of stories as a young Will Morris grew from a dorky teenager who knew nothing about girls, into an adult. I guess a typical "coming of age" story. But I wanted to put a few twists in it along the way.
Over time, more characters were added; as I was writing I felt that certain scenes I had plotted out in my mind needed to be enhanced, minor characters given a much greater role (eg, Megan), and what had started out as maybe a chapter or two, perhaps ten or twenty thousand words, grew into the monster that was "Cathy". And there are still another three stories in the pipeline, generally plotted out in my "writing resources binder". So, what is the likely publishing schedule?
Since I started writing back in 2004, by the time I bit the bullet and decided to publish "Cathy" on SOL, I probably had 25 or 26 chapters written. I decided to test the waters with an earlier version of chapter 24 - "A Taste of University" - and the feedback was generally positive. So I went back to the earlier chapters, polished them up, and in January 2014, unleashed a bunch of chapters to the world. I had a good store of material ready to release, all I had to do was make a final read-through for consistency (you wouldn't believe how many times I had mixed character names), convert the Microsoft Word text to the format SOL required, and upload it. At the same time I was writing the later chapters, and eventually the time came when I no longer had completed chapters "up my sleeve"; I was writing material that would be published right away.
Now, all this has to fit in with other stuff in my life; but I already had a number of addicts... I mean, loyal readers who were eager for their next fix... that is, the next chapter. I don't mean to denigrate them; I myself have been reading a series of stories on SOL where the author has dropped down to one chapter every year. I didn't want my story to end up like that. I had the end point of "Cathy"already plotted out; and the "Epilogue" was already written back in November 2014. And I hate to say it, but by the time I was writing chapter 34, I (personally) was falling out of favour with the character of Cathy Parsons. I hope that didn't come through too much in the book, but I wanted to finished what I had started, and get on with the next phase. That's why Chapter 37 is one of the few "macro" time scale chapters. Maybe one of these days I might give that chapter - more importantly, Will and Megan's times together - the treatment that it really deserves; put in some more stuff with various rock gigs, the Easter visit to Newcastle and Janelle - stuff that I really glossed over.
So, what can readers expect? I will be posting Chapter 2 of "Lori" this weekend; I have a little more to write; then give it a final proof read (for what good my proofreading does), convert it to the SOL text format then upload. (Sorry, no spoilers or hints). I would like to set myself a schedule of a chapter a month, if not more frequently, life events allowing. One thing that I want to try to work out how to put out there is a Google Earth "kml" file which will have the waypoints of all the key locations in the story. I have had several readers tell me that they use Google Earth to follow the locations, so bearing in mind that much has changed in the area in the ensuing forty years, at least it gives people a sense of where things are.
Again, thank you all for continuing to read, I'm not one of those obsessive authors who slavishly follow download counts, ratings and all that - but I appreciate the feedback (both positive and negative) that I receive.