A Writer’s Journal: April ’21

Stories Drafted:

  • ‘Book of Elders’ Draft 0

Stories in Revision:

  • ‘Book of Elders’

Words Written:

  • 19,343 words

Biggest news from April: the first draft of my novella is complete!

About partway through my novella draft, I realized that once this project was complete it would be the longest work I’ve ever completed! (I’ve worked on novels and a short story collection before, but none of those projects are actually ‘finished.’) I think as a writer, it’s important to celebrate the more mundane aspects of our craft and career. Completing this first novella draft feels like crossing over a major milestone that deserves recognition. Of course, now that the draft is complete and in the hands of my beta readers, I must transition to editor mode and dig deep to draw out the best parts of my story, while abandoning those aspects that drag the narrative down. But I’m immensely proud of myself for starting and finishing this weird, fantastical and emotional story.

Switching from drafting mode to editing mode is not easy. Once I reached the ending, I took a week to collect myself and rest my mind. That week has extended into two, soon to be three, but I managed to email my beta readers and check that off my to do list. The draft sits at 95 pages and around 33,000 words. There’s a lot of revision ahead of me. My biggest challenge is refining this alien civilization that plays a key role in the story. I’m not the best world builder. It’s easy to go from a fun, creative task to an overwhelming burden. I’m not sure how much to include subsequent drafts and what will stay in the safety of my notebook.

I plan on using World Anvil to help me world build and refine this civilization and the system that this story takes place in. I purchased a premium membership last year, promptly forgot about my subscription and never used any of the features. (A terrible habit I need to break.) Then, just as I wrapped up my first draft and began to dread the attempts at world building, I received a receipt via email for the renewal of my annual membership. (At first I was convinced it was fraud and I almost made a frantic call to my bank to plead for a new card. But I realized it wasn’t fraud, just a case of my poor spending habits and terrible memory.) Anyway, being reminded of my membership to World Anvil feels like a godsend and I’m eager to flesh out this world and incorporate my ideas in later drafts.

And because I’m currently fascinated with the novella form, I hope to use World Anvil to flesh out and world build other settings for other stories I’d love to tell. And maybe one day it will help me figure out this epic fantasy trilogy that’s been knocking around in my head for a few years.

All of my thoughts in April centered around this novella. I have other projects that I want to draft, but I can’t escape the feeling that I’m running out of time. By October, this novella needs to be ready for submission. And once it’s out on submission, I’ll eagerly jump to my next project.

May will be as busy as April and June is devoted to those final notes before I launch into another draft in July and August. So I should wrap up this post now and prepare for another week. Whatever projects you’re working on, I wish you success and endless creativity and energy.

Happy writing!

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