The Drovers: Update

Folks, I have finally finished draft 1 of The Drovers.

Let there be much rejoicing.

It clocked in around 75,000 words, and as soon as I finished, I realized I had two shorter novels. And this is exactly what I had originally planned. I wanted to tell a very long story in many shorter chunks. So I now have two 35,000 short novels. Since only writers think in word counts, here are some other books to give you a comparison.

  • Louis L’Amour’s westerns: most average around 50,000 words.
  • James Patterson’s Maximum Ride and Witch & Wizard series: average around 60,000 words.
  • Richard Paul Evans’s Michael Vey series books: average around 77,000.
  • The first three of Horowitz’s Alex Rider books: around 55,000.
  • Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart books: around 100,000.

My books usually get a bit larger with the second draft, so I expect these will probably end up around 45,000 words. We’ll see.

What I’m really looking forward to is telling a long story in these smaller chunks and unrolling the story like it’s done on TV.  You can do things over 20 or 30 episodes that you simply can’t in one big novel. This doesn’t meant I won’t be able to have big climaxes. Of course, I will. It just means that I’m going to do it in a slightly different form. I already have the basic ideas for the next dozen or so books. And now that I’m rolling, I expect things will go faster.

The working title of book 1 is “Hireling.” The working title for book 2 is “Outcast.

The cast so far:

  • Ferran: the main character, a scrappy boy that’s trying to keep his mam and sister from bondage
  • Itch: his dog
  • Krov: the big woodsman’s son, aka the Lover
  • Winwalom: Ferran’s best friend who is manifesting forbidden powers
  • Ranoc: the boy who wants to be one of the king’s rangers
  • Caswal: the mean one who has it out for Ferran
  • Borros: the drover and former grimsman
  • Lagash: the cook and foreigner who once beat Borros in battle
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2 Responses to The Drovers: Update

  1. Steve says:

    John, great updates, insights, and reflections -all. I’ve been pretty busy lately and just catching up. Congrats on draft 1 of Drovers. Extinct and RadioWest both sound intriguing. Too far away to enjoy Ruca’s. Deep sigh and sad face.

    Lastly, thanks for explaining Mormonism – i did indeed have a misconception to some extent (albeit i did understand the emphasis re Jesus Christ) Nice to know our fundamental source of hope and strength is shared. And very nice of you to share the videos.

    You are, as always, ‘da man! Be well.

    • John Brown says:


      You’re going to love RadioWest. I, in the meantime, will continue to feast at Ruca’s and think of all those in your same boat in sympathy.

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