Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Writing Journey

First off, sign-up for the blog tour is officially closed. I'll be putting up the schedule later today. The survey on the last post will be open until tomorrow afternoon, and I'll announce the winning NaNo book on Monday. So go vote.

Also, I received an email from CreateSpace today saying that, thanks to Hurricane Matthew, my proof may be delayed. So the print edition of Lady Dragon, Tela Du might also be delayed. We'll see.

I've been writing for most of my life, and I've been a published author for over five years now. I'm in the process of publishing my eighth book. It's been a journey. And I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on those stepping stones that are my former books.

Sew, It's a Quest
I can't read more than a few paragraphs without wincing. I never thought that I'd join the ranks of authors who can't read their published books but ... this book makes me consider applying to the club. Still, this story is dear to my heart, even despite the rushed scenes, awkward lines, and typos. I wrote this book at the height of the "everything is crazy" period of my life, at a point when I, quite frankly, was drifting away from God. It wasn't that I was running ... I just ... didn't feel adequate and was tired of fighting. I published it the following summer after my dad had a heart attack and I felt that I needed to contribute financially.

Saffron's Big Plan and Other Stories
After publishing Sew, I had great plans of publishing multiple books a year - and then I hit writer's block on multiple of my stories, particularly on Sew's sequel. My Papa was getting remarried that next summer, and I wanted to give them a nice present, and my thoughts immediately turned to book. In the spring before Sew's publication, I had run some story games on Facebook, and two of the stories we had actually finished. Mimi - what we call our new grandmother - had helped us with one of the short stories, so I thought it'd be fitting if I gave them a printed copy. Only, it was a very short story, and wasn't really worth printing. So I added he other finished short story. And then I dug through my old documents and found a story that I'd written for a contest. The document was still pretty skinny. So I wrote Push's backstory ... which ended up taking a bit longer than I expected and I missed the opportunity to give it to them as a wedding present. So I published it instead. I really don't have that much else to say about it. There were a lot of non-writing things going on in my life at this point that demanded priority. Like the friends that were staying with us for a short visit while they moved their house ... and it ended up being over six months.

Do You Take This Quest?
I tried so hard to have Take out the year after Sew, but Take just wouldn't behave. Maybe if it had a more cohesive storyline ... but, ah, well. My computer also died right before I was going to release it, so that threw a wrench in the works, especially after I had made a valiant attempt to edit AND write at the same time. I also decided that the prose was too wincey and downloaded the whole thing to my computer and retyped it up. Most notably, I took out a bit where Madeleine was sneezing at stuff. Ah, good times.

The Ankulen
I wrote The Ankulen around the same time as Take, but while Take was pulling teeth, The Ankulen was a breeze to write. It hadn't even been the book I meant to write next. I started a document for it one day and it just poured out. But this was the story that I needed, because it helped me define the sort of writer I meant to be. Sure, I love cutesy and fun, and I don't think I could write an entirely serious book to save my life ... but writing The Ankulen reminded me that I wanted to write stories that pointed to God, not just entertained. And it also taught me that I really am a multi-draft writer and that I shouldn't even consider publishing a first draft (Sew's problem).

Woodcutter Quince and Other Stories
Following The Ankulen's publication, I decided to get a job. (Or, rather, my sister got a job, I got jealous of the fact that she had spending money, so went and followed her. Then she quit and I paid her to do my chores. Ah, fun.) Said job sapped a lot of my creativity, and I didn't have any finished drafts apart from two messes that both needed serious rewrites. However, one day, I just sat down and started writing a bit of backstory for The Ankulen and randomly published it once I'd run it through edits. Then I took a bit of flashfiction I'd written for a contest and expanded it into CinderEddy and published it later that summer. And then I wrote Doranna and Casperl's backstory and published it shortly after I quit my job. I also meant to get a Saffron story in there, but the story is sitting in my docs only half-finished. I'll get around to it someday. I can't wait for you guys to meet Kacy and Kelp.

My Kingdom For a Quest
I attempted to write this for NaNo as I simultaneously edited Take. It did not go well, and I quit at 17,000 words.Then I rewrote the story in a notebook and discovered that Kingdom didn't really have that much more story left in it, though I did nearly double the word count. However, while I'd written the 17,000 words in a matter of a few weeks, the notebook version took forever. Still, Robin was such fun to write and when I actually was writing, it was a breeze. It just ... was really hard for me to get into the writing zone. I published it with my first blog tour. It was a smashing success. Kinda. But not as much as the book I released later that year.

Water Princess, Fire Prince.
I didn't expect to publish this last year. I thought that I still had a few more years of drafting to go before I'd be ready. But then I decided to do it for NaNo while I wasn't working ... and it just spun out. I had such fun with this story, and I've been both humbled and elated by the small fandom that has formed around it. I've received fan art. And fanfiction.

Lady Dragon, Tela Du
And as I'm on the verge of publishing LDTD, I feel as though I've come full circle. LDTD was the book that taught me how to write - indeed, I had just finished its fifth draft when I began working on Sew. I'm frankly amazed at how the story has come together, because let me tell you, it has not been easy these last few months. But I finished my final round of edits yesterday, and I just want to say - I can't wait for you guys to read it. Perhaps it's cliche to say this, but this is the story of my heart. Almost all of my betas agree that it's my best book yet.

And one drew me fanart!

And other made me mock covers.

1 comment:

  1. I'm one of those betas who say it's your best book yet. ;) Yeah, I probably would have told you to keep writing but not publish Sew just yet if I'd known you then, but as it happens, I didn't. I like Bookania and all, but I LOVE Rizkaland. You've come a long way as a writer, and I'm sure you have even further to go. The rest of Rizkaland will be awesome...even though you're ripping my heart out with book 3.


Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

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