Writing Update- April 2020

It’s been five months since our last writing update, so I figured it’s about time to do another update.

To start things off with, I’ve moved my daily updates/accountability posts onto Twitter. If you want to see how I’m doing on a day-to-day basis, follow me @scribblermendez. I’ve stopped doing daily accountability posts here because I get better foot traffic there then I do here.

I got some feedback from beta readers, and I’m now in the middle of doing a MAJOR rewrite to ‘The Great War; The Cruel War.’ Here are all the changes I’m making to the story:

  • I’m going from present to past tense.
  • I’m switching from standard format to epistolary-memoir format.
  • I deleted one major character.
  • I added one major character.
  • I added a new villain.
  • I overhauled the original magic system.
  • I added a new complementary magic system.
  • I’m adding a plot. Because, you know, somehow I missed having a plot the first time around. (Oops.)
  • And finally, I’m adding a ton of niggly changes which I can’t list here for the sake of being concise.

I still believe in ‘GW;CW,’ but this rewrite is taking a lot of energy. I had hoped to have draft 8 done by May so I can go into query submissions, but right now it’s not looking like it. I’ll need to have draft 8 done, then do a draft 9 to trim down the word count at least 15%, because the changes I’m making are making the book awfully chonky.

As of right now, I just finished editing Act 1. I basically had to throw out the original Act 1 due to all the changes I had to make, which is why editing that Act took 3 months. Fortunately for me, I get to re-use most of Acts 2 and 3, so from here on out things look a lot better.

Next, I’m going to talk about all the books I’ve written net-total. I’m doing this for all my fellow aspiring published authors, so you know that you’re not alone in writing and not publishing. Here’s a list of everything I’ve written.

  1. MOVING SHADOWS, Incomplete at 80,000 words. Urban Fantasy. Written when I was in high school. Written in 2009?
    1. I abandoned this one because I was I wrote it during summer of high school, and school restarted.
  2. THE ARCANE ILLUMINATI, Incomplete at 100,000 words. Urban Fantasy. Written as an Undergraduate. Written in 2010?
    1. I abandoned this one because… I forget why. Probably because the plot got out of control, thanks to me being a plot gardener as opposed to an outliner.
  3. THE APOTHEOSIS OF VELINDRA DEUMONTEU, complete at 180,000 words. High Fantasy. Written in 2013.
  4. THE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED AFFAIR, complete at 81,000 words. Urban Science Fantasy Cozy Mystery. Written in 2014.
  5. THE DANDY AND THE DEVIL: A TRAGICOMEDY IN THREE PARTS,  complete at 145,000 words. High Fantasy. Written in 2015.
  6. THE DEVIL WITHIN, Complete at 120.000 words. High Fantasy. Written in 2015.
  7. THE DEAD CONTINENT, incomplete at 62,000 words. High Fantasy. Written in 2016.
    1. I abandoned this one because I lost the spark of creativity which fueled it.
  8. FATEWEAVER, incomplete at 92,000 words. High Fantasy. Written in 2016
    1. I abandoned this one because I wrote 92,000 words and realized I was only about 1/3 done. 250,000 words would be too long to be published, so I chickened out. Once again, due to me being a plot gardener and not outliner.
  9. EVAYNE’S DELIVERANCE, complete at 48,000 words. Military Fantasy novella. Written in 2017.
  10. ARCADIA BESIEGED, complete at 79,000 words. Science Fantasy Space Opera. Written in 2018.
  11. BOVESPO ECODOME PDcomplete at 40,000 words. Science Fantasy Police Procedural novella. Written in 2018.
  12. AN ARRIVAL UPON ARCADIA, complete at 80,600 words. Science Fantasy Space Opera. Written in 2018.
  13. A STAGECOACH TO OBLIVION, incomplete at 50,000 words. Fantasy Weird West Mystery. Written in 2018.
    1. NaNoWriMo book. I abandoned it because NaNoWriMo ended. The book was cute, had some zing, but I didn’t love it enough to finish it.
  14. ATON, incomplete at 65,000 words. Fantasy Thriller. Written in 2018.
    1. I abandoned this one because, once again, it was 65,000 words long and finishing it promised to require at least 200,000 words, or a major re-write. The plot was too open-ended, so I moved on.
  15. THE GREAT WAR, THE CRUEL WAR, complete at 90,000 words. Military Horror Fantasy. Written in 2019/2020. Once rewrites are done, will probably be around 120,000 words.

*: Additionally I have about ten incomplete additional projects which are between the lengths of 20,000 words and 70,000 words. I chose not to add them to this list because they were too short and too numerous to count.

Looking back at my major failures above, the thing in common most of them have is that I let the plot get out of control. When I write, I write using the ‘gardening’ style. I don’t have an outline but instead write by the seat of my pants with only a vague idea of where I’m going. For my large failures, I get to the point where I’ve written tons but have gotten very little in the way of plot done due to ambling around gardening.

To improve in the future as an author I think I need to do better at outlining/planning so I don’t wind up gardening my way into an open-ended failure.

Another way I can improve as an author is by just sticking to one book and editing it/refining it to the point that it can be published. I find it too easy to drop what I’m writing and write something else. I’ve gotten good at churning out first drafts, but I have little experience with editing a first draft into something publishable.

And finally, I have to admit I have basically no memory of a whole lot of these books. I wrote a lot of them them in only three or four months and never thought about them ever again. Most of them are trash as a result, as they didn’t have the time or careful thought required to turn a first draft into a finished product.

So as a message to all of you aspiring authors like myself, I have to say this: don’t expect to publish your first novel. Don’t expect your first novel to even be good. All cards on the table, I probably could have buckled down and published a half-dozen of the above stories, so don’t think I’m saying you have to write 15 stories before you can publish one. What I’m saying is don’t make the same mistakes that I have. Write a lot, have fun, be goal oriented, and don’t be afraid to move on if things just aren’t working out.

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