The outlines for the Wheel of Fire series are coming along. I've got the first four books outlined, more or less, and about half of the fifth book's outline done. I've got "hero's journey" arcs plotted out for five characters (including the protagonist, of course) and a villain's journey plotted out for a sixth character. Those are series-wide arcs, not in-book arcs. The only character to have a hero's journey for each book is the hero.
Once I'm done, I expect I'll need to go back and revise them all. I'm sort of learning about the world and the characters as I outline, much the same way one does when writing the first draft. And even if I make them as perfect as can be, these outlines are still just that--outlines. Once the actual writing starts, all bets are off. I try to plan out everything I can beforehand, but I still allow myself the freedom to improvise when necessary. It makes for a chaotic, sloppy writing process at times, but it gets the job done.
I'm still planning on launching the Free Space trilogy in October. All three books have been written, and the first two have already seen various stages of revision and beta reading. I also hope to publish at least the first book of the Wheel of Fire before the end of the year, but that remains to be seen. I expect to at least get the first draft done.
I've also been toying with the idea of purchasing covers. I don't want to do that, since it's expensive and I'd rather save that money for marketing, but if my own designs don't suffice, then I may just have to bite the bullet. I'm still working on my own designs, though. At some point, I'll probably put a few up on kboards and ask the folks there for their opinions. If I think I can get away with a homemade cover, then I'll absolutely do it.
So that's where I'm at. When April arrives, I'll get back to Mars. My immediate goal, though, is to get these Wheel of Fire outlines done within the next three weeks. I accomplished my Mars first draft goal. I think I can accomplish this one, too.