A Writer’s Journal: April

Words Written:

  • 12924 words

Stories in Progress:

  • Secret Speculative Fiction Novel
  • Buried Among Stars

Spring is in full bloom here in Virginia and my mood has been greatly elevated because of the constant good weather!

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Cherry blossoms have come and gone. But they were so pleasing to look at while they were in bloom.

The school year is also winding down, which means in a month and a half, I will have my days to do whatever I please. I’m looking forward to sleeping in until mid-morning, brewing a pot of coffee and doing something creative for the rest of the day.

April was such a good month for me. Despite not finishing the first Camp NaNoWriMo challenge of the year, I still have a rough beginning for my new novel. I’ll be honest, most of it is crap and will either be edited out or heavily revised in future drafts. But it’s a start and that was my biggest goal for this month. I’m still getting used to the characters and learning more about their motivations, needs, deepest desires, etc. I enjoy drafting this way because I believe some of my best writing is hidden in these “zero” drafts.

The novel takes place in the far future on an Earth-like other planet. Currently, I’m waffling on whether the people in this story are descendants of earthlings or if they are natural inhabitants who’ve evolved over time on this world. I’m leaning more into the latter of the two options. But as I dive further into this story and this world, I may change my mind (whether willingly or unwillingly) and go with the other option.

In a way, this novel is a challenge because of the main character. A lot of my characters are similar to me. They’re not self-inserts. But it’s easy to see a lot of me in my characters, something friends have commented on when they’ve read my work. This main character is very similar to my other characters. But she’s also the first character I’ve written where I question whether she should have a happy ending or not. She’s done countless horrendous acts in her past, some of which will be explored in the novel and will impact her story. But she also genuinely wants to make a change. She’s compelled to save a young girl from a brutal life, but her motives aren’t purely altruistic. The more I write the more I ask myself, should she be given a chance to change? In an older draft, the main character redeems herself and has her happy ending and I was fine with that. But now, I’m not so sure. I want her to have a happy ending mostly because I’m a sucker for those types of endings, especially when it involves an LGBTQ character, which my main character is. It will be interesting to see how this draft eventually turns out.

While my main focus was on drafting this novel, I did spend the past few weeks on a novelette that I’ve been working on since last year. It originally started as a short story, but by the end of the first draft, I realized the story was much too large for the short story format. The current draft is nearly 11,000 words and I feel it barely scratches the story with these characters and themes. I don’t believe it’s long enough to be a novel or novella. I know novelettes are hard sells. Hell, short stories are hard sells most of the time. There are a few markets that will consider novelettes, but those are still few and far in between. But I want to see what I can accomplish with a novelette. It’s long enough where I can let the characters do what they please and explore certain subplots, but also short enough where I can focus on it for a few months, while also working on longer works.

Like my novel, this novelette, tentatively titled ‘Buried Among Stars,’ is a work of speculative fiction. It’s my attempt at conceptualizing near-future space exploration and how we can settle on other planets. But most of that takes place in the background. The heart of the story centers on a young woman wrestling with her need to isolate herself, a recent common theme in a lot of my writing. It also features one of the most tender romantic relationships I’ve written to date, though I always seem to one-up myself in that department with each new project. In a way, it’s my love letter to space and to the people I’ve lost in my life.

It’s a story near and dear to my heart. I love it even though I may struggle to find a market to publish it. I hope to craft a tender, heartfelt story that makes people feel at ease, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

In an effort to not lose the momentum from this month, I’ve set a date for when the next draft of the novelette should be completed, sometime in early May. Sometime during the second full week if I remember correctly. And once it’s done, I’ll take some time away from it, work on my novel for a few more weeks and then I’ll have summer break to run through as many drafts as I’d like. Oh and I’ll have to find time to apply to two writing fellowships. No pressure.

I’m praying for good things to come my way in May. I have a good feeling about the upcoming month. Maybe it’s all of the good weather! Who can say?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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