Second Draft Stretch Goal

computer keyboard keys loose in a jumbled pile

Looking ahead at the treacherous path I’ve put myself on by trying to write this book, I am beginning to realize that I need some personal motivation to help keep me focused.

My outline is very close to being finished, and I’ve begun writing a couple scenes / chapters in it already. Since changing my main character from Quentin to Ulliel, I’ve oscillated the point of view for several chapters near the beginning of the book. The number of times I’ve changed the character perspective for only Chapter 2 is laughable (and sad).

The back and forth is frustrating, and I’ve been spending times designing emblems for the different courts, and researching how to make maps for fictional places… There is still so much to do, and I am isolated on this journey.

Unfortunately, the online creative writing role play that I joined earlier in the year looks like it’s coming to a close for the foreseeable future. The other two writers are experiencing hardship within their family, and will be spending time with their loved ones to help support one another through the trying period. It’s too bad, as they are the only people I’ve really been able to connect with and discuss my story in great detail. The hours we toiled away writing as our characters has been insurmountably helpful to me. I hope that everything will work out for them and their family, and that when the time is right we’ll be able to connect creatively again. I know we’ll still talk, but I don’t want to disturb them with my writing revelations when they’re responding to a crisis.

It’s odd to me that I’m so averse to company and conversation in every other aspect of my life, but when I’m writing I cannot help but discuss the details. I have shared very little, and likely won’t until I’m on my final draft, but I have told a lot of my friends about the premise, the context, and a few of the scenes.

Perhaps writing is getting me out of my shell? Although it’s more likely that I’m firmly lodging myself within it…

For the past two weeks I’ve been in a BL manga wormhole, examining different dynamics and structures for MM relationships. This week I searched for LGBTQ+ books that are in similar genres to my own to compare the content I’ve included with other books on the market (and only found six books). I found a could fantasy books by female BIPOC authors that I’ve downloaded to read as well.

Sometimes I feel that all of this research and market comparison is a lot of expended effort that might have been better directed at writing. Those nagging voices plague at me, saying writer’s write, if you’re not writing, you’re not a writer.

Authors in the 20Booksto50K group strongly advocate for market research and targeted writing for niche genres that are “under written” or on the rise. I have yet to find anything similar to what I’m writing on the market (perhaps I’m using the wrong key words), and I’ll continue checking periodically as I work to complete this book.

Being in so many writing groups on Facebook has been a blessing and a curse. One the one hand, it helps me to realize things I’ve overlooked that should be included because they’re staples to the fantasy genre (such as fictional maps), but the other half of that is my ever-increasing to-do list.

  • Research writing fight scenes / action sequences
  • Map rough draft / design
  • Emblems for each court
  • Holidays / festivals (court specific and societal)
  • Rules / limitations for the magic system
  • Value system for the two types of currency
  • Rank system for the warriors
  • Rank system for the courts
  • Title chapters
  • Castle map for the primary area the story takes place in
  • Short stories for lore / history
  • Request ISBNs
  • Book cover design

This list causes me to feel the type of excitement that upsets the stomach. As though it’s my fifth ride on the tilt-a-whirl and the corn dog is ready for a resurgence because my insides are rediscovering how to function amidst gravity. It’s exhilarating. It’s daunting. In similar fashion to how I would calm myself after an amusement ride, by checking my ticket reserve before re-starting my quest in the queue; I’ve completed one round of adventure with my first draft, and even though it’s the same subject, I’m en route for another excursion. Hoping to feel that weightlessness again.

Afraid I never will. That fear is holding me back.

When my second draft is completed, I will commission artwork for a book cover. I’m going to get it printed (in poster size) and I’m going to hang it up in my office where I can see it every day while I’m working, writing, and walking through the space.

My first draft took fifteen months to complete. If I complete my second draft in half that time, I will be ecstatic!

And I really want this reward.

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