What Have I Been Up To?

Hey everyone!

Over the winter, I took a fairly big hiatus from doing any writing. At the end of February, I got myself back into writing by getting back into the Carrot Ranch Literary Community. This is a fantastic community of writers who are truly supportive, and who read each other’s work in addition to writing their own. Each week we are given a new prompt to react to, and we have to write a response that is exactly 99 words. Our stories are collected and posted as a weekly anthology. I’ve been really enjoying writing these short stories, and learning to really prioritize what words I use to tell my story, since I have so few to use. I have been posting these stories on my short story and poetry blog.

I have also recently discovered the MindLoveMisery Menagerie, another writing community with daily prompts. I haven’t written too many stories based on the prompts from there yet.

This month I created my own poetry challenge for National Poetry Month. I am publishing a poem on my blog every single day in April, based on a series of prompts that I previously made, based on the theme “A Fairy Forest In Spring”. I have also invited others to join in the challenge on my Facebook page. My friends who have joined have been coming up with some pretty fun and interesting poems.

I am also planning to participate in the Haldimand Public Library Poetry Contest, which has the theme “Community” this year. I have a couple rough drafts for poems, which I need to edit before I submit them.

Once April is done, and I’m done writing poetry at such a high rate, I hope to finally return to working on my novel.

Future Projects

Despite trying to keep my attention on only one long project, my novel Faeblood, I can’t help but keep thinking up new exciting projects that I want to bring to life one day. Once I’m past the rough drafting stage for Faeblood, I might consider working on one of these while I work on editing it.

Escape (working title) is going to be a standalone fantasy novel set somewhere in the Wexlan Empire, possibly at an earlier point in history than when Faeblood takes place, perhaps even before the empire is fully formed. I have actually gotten a good ways into a rough draft for this novel before, and spent several years working on it, alternating between it and Faeblood. The one major issue holding me back from making real progress forward despite all of the time that I spent on it was that I didn’t know where I needed the plot to go, or how I wanted the story to end. When I return to this project, I plan to spend a decent chunk of time plotting out the major moments in the story, so that I actually have a road map to follow when I return to actually writing it.

The idea for Escape came from a short story challenge on the writing website Jottify (a site that no longer exists). The challenge was to write a story under a thousand words about winter. I wrote Flight, a story about a girl fleeing from a pursuer in a snowy forest, who meets a stranger who recognizes her, and aids her in her escape by using a magic teleportation spell. My fellow Jotters loved the story, and several really encouraged me to build on it and write a longer story with the characters. And so Flight became the prologue for my novel Escape, a story set three years after the events of Flight.

I have some strong ideas for what I want to do with this story, and what themes I want to explore in it. I’m going to have a lot of fun writing when I reunite with Azaira and Darenth and explore their story again.

Gothica (working title) is another standalone fantasy novel set in a different area of the Wexlan Empire, at a different point in history. I’ve put far less work and planning into this novel, but I have some strong ideas for it. This story will probably take place later in the history of the empire than Faeblood. The city where Gothica will take place will have some decently advanced steam technology. The protagonist, Larzia, will journey outside of the city to search for a coven of witches, hoping to learn how to do magic from them. Larzia will learn whether the coven will accept her into their circle, and whether it’s even possible for her to learn magic at all.

The Gate in the Forest is going to be a middle grade mystery adventure novel about a group of kids who research and later explore a mysterious abandoned gated mansion in the middle of the forest. Although this story may seem to be more of a contemporary novel at the beginning, there will be fantasy elements in it, especially when the kids learn more about the mansion and its history.

The Bard’s Story is going to be a middle grade fantasy adventure set in a land where society is separated into various groups. Each group has control over a certain type of magic, that they alone can use (e.g. fire magic, ice magic, love magic, story magic…) The protagonist will be the from the Faction of Bards, the group that is able to use story magic, so she will be able to magically tell stories that feel so real that the listeners believe that they’re actually in the story. During the story, she will begin to question why her society is organized the way that it is. The themes that I want to explore in this novel are friendship, arrogance, rivalry, and believing that you are better than others.

Poetry anthologies: I love poetry, will continue writing it, and so I will put out collections of my poetry at some point. I plan to organize them by certain themes, like poems about nature, or fantasy inspired poetry.

Short story anthologies: I have fallen completely in love with flash fiction, and my collection of stories continues to grow. I will most likely also publish collections of my flash fiction based around certain themes.

Current Projects

Being a creative person means constantly thinking up ideas, regardless of the amount of time or mental energy that you have to dedicate to them. I adore the thrill of a new idea when it takes root in your mind, and the creative flow when it’s fresh and exciting. I have so many ideas that I want to turn into professionally published pieces, but I’ve learned that I need to narrow my focus to only a couple projects at a time if I want to steadily progress with any of them.

Faeblood (working title) is a fantasy novel that will be the first book of a duology. I will possibly market it as YA, depending on whether that continues to make sense for the story or not.

I’ve been working on this story for many years, and I have been learning so much about the process of writing a novel, and developing my skills, as I’ve worked on it. I have restarted the story from scratch several times until figuring out what really worked for how it needed to be told. The idea for this story came from a recurring day dream that I had about waking up in a different world, and meeting an elf who became my guide and showed the world to me. When I decided that my day dream was cool enough to be novel, I separated myself from the protagonist, and developed her into her own character. Nallasha is still similar to me in many ways, but she definitely differs in many other ways, including in some surprising ways that she herself discovers throughout the course of the novel.

Nallasha is an artist who struggles with imposter syndrome and confidence issues. At the start of the novel, she has just finished her official schooling at university, and has a final practical exam in the form of doing a commissioned piece of art for a client outside of the university, which has to be approved by a professor, who will then sign off on her application to the Artist’s Guild, at which point she will be a professional artist. Nallasha has been bullied by her classmates, put down by several professors, stopped creating art for fun, and feels trapped in her dream career. She dreads the transition from student to professional artist. While visiting with her first client for her commission exam, her curiosity leads her into a magical portal, where she travels to a different part of the world. During her adventures there, she learns more about herself, her skills and strengths, and gains confidence in herself.

Faeblood takes place on opposite sides of a large continent, with vastly different cultures on either side. Nallasha begins the novel on the western side of the continent, in the Wexlan Empire, where humans are the only known race, magic is not believed to exist, and there have been technological discoveries such as steam power. Nallasha is from Kantaboor, an island that has been recently annexed by the empire. The Kantaboorians have traditional stories about faeries, elves, other mythical creatures, and magic, which Nallasha fell in love with as a child. Any belief in these stories as real is ridiculed by the rest of the empire, and increasingly in Kantaboor as well.

After travelling through the portal, Nallasha arrives in the Rythsal Forest on the eastern side of the continent, which is elven territory. There, Nallasha discovers the existence of faerie tale creatures that she was taught did not exist, along with further discoveries that she hadn’t heard about in stories as a child.

I am currently over 50,000 words into this novel, and about three fifths – two thirds of the way through the plot for my rough draft. I have plotted out where I want the novel to go, but I am not sure exactly what will happen during the climax yet. Nallasha has a big decision to make, and I’m not totally sure what decision she will make, or what her motivations for that decision will be.

I can’t wait until I complete writing and revising this novel so that I can publish it and share it with all of you! I’d love to tell you more about it, but that would be giving away spoilers.

From Seed to Tree: The growth of a poet (working title) is a collection of metapoetry, organized in chronological order of when I wrote them. Metapoetry is poetry about poetry. I first thought of the idea to do this project when I was taking a poetry workshop course in university, and realized just how much metapoetry I had written since I had started writing poetry. Most of my earliest metapoems were about having writer’s block, and how frustrating it was. My later poems about writer’s block were far more poetically interesting, and when I compared my earliest metapoems to the ones that I was writing at that time, I could see a clear example of how I had grown in my poetry writing skills. I had become interested in publishing a collection of poetry at some point, and a collection of metapoetry seemed like a unique idea. Since then, I have consciously continued to write more metapoems to add to the collection, including even a poem that reflected on the fact that I was deliberately writing a collection of metapoetry (I felt like I was inside the movie ‘Inception’ when writing that one).

At some point, I need to decide that the collection is complete, or full enough to be published. It’s hard to know when I’ve reached that point since my potential to write more metapoetry is infinite, and I always want to keep on developing my skills further. I think that it’ll be a very interesting book of poetry to read, and I’m curious to see how people respond to it.