Today (February 12, 2024), I completed another story: an untitled sapphic gothic horror of 88,000 words.
This story managed to challenge me for several reasons:
Plotted the book
Whether or not to plot is something I go back and forth on. I'm a strong believer in the pants-ing method because I like (to think) my characters take me on their journey. Also, I lack the foresight at times when it comes to writing (or life) to plot a story. I usually cannot stick to a plot. (See point 2.)
2. Couldn't figure out the beginning or the ending
Someone might ask me one day where my stories come from? Most times, I pull the ol' Stephanie Meyer and say "my dreams."
The truth is that this book idea originally had a time travel aspect, walking through mirrors, and a lot more fog. I started writing this story three different times before I actually started really started getting into writing because I just didn't know how all the components fit together.
As a writer, I expect to rewrite the beginning of my book five or so times, but that usually comes in the editing process. Am I happy with where this book starts? It's better than what I had, but this is part of the editing process.
On the back end of the book, I rewrote chapter 24 (second to the last chapter) three times because I couldn't figure out the falling action.
Was the happy ending deserved after what happened in the story?
Was the happy ending doable?
Could I have an ambiguous ending?
Could I have a sad ending that was realistic?
Once again, all of these things will be figured out in editing. When I come back to the story, my mindset will be different. It will basically be a new pair of eyes (because I'll forget what happened in the story).
3. The writing style, a.k.a. lyricism
I tried a new style of writing for this story (which may be completed changed by the time this book is published). As I've been querying for literary agents with Witches of the Waves recently, I've been struck by the wants of the literary agents. There had been--from what I've seen--a want for "lyricism" in writing. Now, the definition of this can be very open, and I know that I sometimes struggle with reading lyricism as a writing style.
I have definitely been noted as someone who has a direct writing style. Based on this lyricism, I'm writing a lot of analogies, long sentences, and going with the flow. I'm not sure how it will go in the future.
4. Novel vs. Novella
For the first time in over a year, I wrote a novel (stories over 70,000 words). I moved into novella writing for an upcoming untitled series of Brides of the Vampire Queen, a sapphic polyamous series. Are you seeing a theme?
After the eight-story novella series, I finished up a story or two that were partly written. Getting back into long-form of narrative proved to almost be a challenge. While I worked on the novella series, I was finishing a story every month. I've been working on this sapphic gothic horror since November. I've forgotten how long stories can be.
With that being said, I'm already dreaming up my next story. I really have an inkling for a sapphic contemporary romance about losing one's virginity.
So what next with my sapphic gothic horror? Probably not a lot.
When it comes to editing, I don't look at a story again until after six months. With that being said, I have over twenty stories that need to be edited. I've been planning my first phase of Castle of Skulls, Lake Superior Mermaids, and the untitled MW series and have been querying literary agents. Once the first series of book is out, then I'll need to be thinking more long-term with a broader scope.
For now, I'm ghostwriting a motorcycle club dark romance novel that will be around 120,000 words. (Uffda.) I'm also still editing the untitled MW1 and MW2 stories. Thaw the Heart, the second book in the Lake Superior Mermaid series, is supposed to be published in May, and I haven't figured out a cover design yet.
I guess what I'm trying to tell you is... I don't know, but I finished another story. And I want to celebrate.