The Finish Line!

Oh my gosh, you guys. I can’t believe I’m writing this. I just finished the first draft for my YA Horror novel The Seeking!

I had to look back over my blog to see when exactly I had started writing this piece, and it was back on September 11th of last year – so about six months back. That’s a wonderful rate for me – The She-Wolf of Kanta took multiple years to finalize. This draft on the other hand needs work of course, but I generally know where it needs to be fixed and tweaked.

The Seeking was a novel purely inspired by a dream I had. I was Dahlia in that dream and I had a position of power in a society. I saw the Gray People lurking in the trees and had this horrible feeling of dread. It was poignant. When I awoke that feeling lingered with me for just long enough for me to scratch out the scene I had witnessed – and that’s how this novel was born. I guess you’ll have to read it if you want to find out what that scene was.

For now though, this book is being put aside so that I can take some time to celebrate and forget the novel so I can tackle the edits with fresh eyes next month.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Words Written:
3/8 – 924
3/14 – 5,538 (OMG muse, calm down! haha)
3/26 – 2,058

Current Word Count: 67,102

Progress:
DONE!

Next Up:
Putting it aside for edits next month!

Commentary:
I can’t believe the progress I made on this book on the 14th. It was one of the final big scenes, and I had been putting it off for days because I knew it would be difficult to tackle. I kept finding other things to do instead of work on it, then on Wednesday my sister was like: “Why don’t you just work on it now?”

It seems simple, but damn. I was like, why not? Next thing I knew I had churned out 5.5k words and it was dark outside. I feel so good getting this novel finished. I already have some ideas of where I want to try to find a home for it. Meanwhile I can go play some video games for a bit and let my brain step out of the sauna for a little while.

Progress Is Not Easy

As you could probably guess from my last post, moving forward on this novel was a difficult process. I had to squeeze out a few hundred words here and a few more there. Much like Dahlia is in this piece, I felt like I was having to find my way around in the dark. I knew where the story needed to go, but I wasn’t 100% sure how it was going to do it. (I suppose that’s a drawback of being a pantser at heart.) That said, walking a mile requires taking lots of little steps, and I finally got this bunch back on track toward the finish line.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Words Written:
3/6 – 712
3/7 – 1,330

Current Word Count: 58,503

Progress:
Moving into the final stage!

Next Up:
There are too many eyes on them, but they can’t let that stop them.

Commentary:
I’ve almost hit the 60k mark! It’s hard to get much writing in during the week since my job takes up so much time, so I’m proud to have gotten so much done this week.

To Forgive or Punish

It’s easy to say that forgiveness is the right thing to do when it’s a small problem. Don’t be angry at that child for stealing your candy, just forgive them and share next time. It’s a mentality that works great when you’re a child, but when you get up into the complexities and cruelties of the adult world, you learn that logic is too simplistic to really float anymore. Sometimes the insult or injury is too great to forgive. Sometimes forgiveness should come at a price. Regardless of your feelings about the topic, it is never an easy choice. The worse the injury, the harder it becomes to say that forgiveness is the best path.

Needless to say, that’s the difficult decision I’m facing right now in my novel. Dahlia has a decision to make, and it sucks that she has to make it at all.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Words Written:
2/23 – 628
2/28 – 453
3/3 – 2,262

Current Word Count: 56,466

Progress:
Making difficult decisions yet again. Poor Dahlia.

Next Up:
Mother’s decree.

Commentary:
I’ve hit that gorgeous 70% mark! I’ve said in multiple places that I think this book is going to get finished this month, and I’m still determined to make that happen. Oh and don’t worry, I have a number of writing projects on the back-burner waiting to get moved to the front once this one is finished. It seems like that’s how this being-an-author thing is supposed to go. I guess I ought to get on board.

A Fear of Compromise

I love it when a project starts to near the finish line. I love it even more when all my plot pieces start falling into place and I begin to understand how the story wants to end. You can tell I end my novels in Pantser mode, right?

I haven’t been able to be as full-steam ahead on this book as I’ve wanted, but I’m still quite pleased with the results. I think this first draft should be done in March if not earlier. It’ll also be nice to have a standalone novel out in the world once I polish it out a bit so it shines.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Words Written:
2/13 – 810
2/14 – 786
2/15 – 1,803
2/18 – 530
2/22 – 3,245

Current Word Count: 53,123

Progress:
Some horrible scenes followed by a crazy choice. But will the right choice be made?

Next Up:
We find Mother.

Commentary:
Sometimes you have to jump when an opportunity presents itself, even if it isn’t a perfect fix and even if you know there will be limitations. Compromise is always more difficult because it means you have to willingly accept loss. Generally there’s this idea that you’re supposed to fight, fight, fight until you win, but that never works. Over and over again history shows that compromise is the key to real prosperity, not railing blindly against your enemies. Nothing good ever came from completely refusing a compromise.

And omggggg, 2/3 of the way through! The ending is rushing up though, so this might not make it entirely to 80k words, but that’s okay for a YA novel. 😉

Creating a Habit

Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to participate in a workshop with fellow authors. It was there I learned something that I had always known deep down in my heart, but it was somehow different hearing it from people I knew and respected. The only way to become a better writer was to write. Not just a little bit of writing a day, or every so often, but routinely, every day. This meant anywhere from writing 2,000 – 10,000 words a day, which honestly had me chuckling to myself. I can knock that out during NaNoWriMo months sure, but all the time? Is that humanly possible?

The more I thought about it, I thought, why shouldn’t it be? During NaNo months I train myself to do it for a full 30 days, aiming for that 50k finish line. The first few times I did this, most of my manuscript turned out to be trashed, but the more I’ve done it the better I’ve become with drafting. I’ll do some edits while I go through, I’ll make notes of things I know I’ll need to change down the road for continuity, but overall I already know what I’ll be editing when I finish this draft and move to the next stage. It’s just actually going back and making those fixes. So why shouldn’t I be able to knock out 2k/day or so?

I’m a big believer in the fact that we hold ourselves back. We build things up to be bigger than they really are in our minds, and when confronted, those barriers tend to come down fairly easily. I believe that our creative limitations work the same way. Sure, I don’t expect to be able to write 2k words a day every single damn day, but I’m going to try. I want to have about an 80% rate of succeeding in that word count goal because I know I can do it. It’s just building it into a habit and sticking to it.

And so far, I think I’ve been pretty successful!

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Words Written:
2/11 – 2,229
2/12 – 2,116

Current Word Count: 45,949

Progress:
This book is a series of safe relief moments followed but utter terror. I really like that tbh.

Next Up:
Just when you thought you had gotten the hang of what to expect, suddenly something entirely different comes out at you.

Commentary:
Moving up towards that 60% mark, steady and surely. I’m really proud of being able to pick up the pace on this piece again and to really let it keep going. I think I’m really figuring out what makes these characters tick more and more and it makes me so pleased to see their journey spread out onto the pages. This is definitely going to be a roller coaster ride of a novel when I get done, so I’m sorry about that dear readers, but you know, you kind of expected that didn’t you?

Next up: coming to terms with some pretty terrible stuff yet again, and figuring out what to do with it. Will it be a hindrance or can it be used to an advantage? We learn that not every Gray Person is the same.