[WriYe Blogging Circle] A Rose By Any Other Name

Topic:

Real name vs pen name? Is one better than the other? Why or why not?

For me, it depends on a few things:

  1. How hard is your name to spell, pronounce and remember. You can use your real name if it is hard to spell, pronounce and remember! I always support people who go for it and make others learn because it is your name and you deserve to have it spelled and said correctly. However, I can’t fault anyone who might want to use a different family name, a shortened name or even a new name for their own.
  2. Do you want anonymity? If you have a work life that shouldn’t mix with your creative life, maybe you want to keep it separate. Maybe you don’t want your family knowing what you write. Maybe being a famous writer isn’t your deal. Alls’ fair there.
  3. Are you already established in another genre? If you write multiple genres, you may want to have a pen name for new books in the new genre. Reason being, these are new audiences. New people that will want to read your books. Maybe some will overlap, maybe some won’t, but it would be nice to have a following that isn’t disappointed that your next book out is sci-fi when you usually write romance.
  4. Do you want one? Then go for it.

Bonus:
Which would you use? Real name or pen name? Why?

Right now, I use a combination of my real name and pen names. Right now, I am thinking I will have four distinct pen names:

This one, for my adult fantasy (and maybe my YA fantasy, but I waffle on this).

One for my horror/thriller/suspense stories.

One for the series I might end up self-publishing.

And the last possibility is to have a separate YA pen name all together.

The reason I want to have three is because I think that fantasy and horror have some overlapping audience but not enough that if I were to get published by a trade (knock on wood), I wouldn’t want my readers to hear I was putting out a new book only to find out it’s in the opposite genre.

It’s the one reason I lean toward having a separate YA pen name. I tend to write novels quickly, so I think I might be able (if all goes according to my dream plan) to publish under each pen name at least once every 18 months. That should keep a good cycle going.

The self-publishing pen name is strictly for business reasons. If I do end up self-publishing a series (and erin really tries to turn me to that side with all she learns about it!), I’d want it under a different name in case it goes belly-up.

This pen name is basically my real name with acronyms and my last name shortened. It allows me to keep some anonymity – which I really want at this point in my writing career – but also has enough of me in it that I don’t feel like I’m someone else. That’s why I use it for my favorite, main genre of fantasy.

My horror/thriller/suspense name is a family surname with my middle name. I think it would fit in the genre conventions and is short and catchy enough to be memorable. That and no one else seems to have a name quite like it yet so, gold.

Stats:

Words Written: 10,050 words (all in the thriller)
Chapters Completed:
3
Favorite Scene so Far:
Mae once again getting into a car with Vince. When will she learn that she can’t keep her lunch down with his driving?

[Camp NaNo] Hello Muddah. Hello Faddah.

Here I am at Camp NaNo July! (I hope that song is stuck in your head forever now.)

As I mentioned in my last post (about #50in5), I have decided to work on two different novels during this session of Camp. One is under a different pen name and will be the last novel in a trilogy.

The. Last.

I have never finished a trilogy before so it’s actually really exciting that it’ll be done. And at the same time, I think it’ll be sad. Which is why the first thing I did this morning for camp was to write the first paragraph and the very last paragraph. The ending 50-or-so words that will cinch the rest of the series together with a callback to something the character said in the first book.

So if you’re into thriller/suspense following a federal agent, let me know. I’ll give you that NaNo name.

The other novel I am working on would be under this pen name. It’s title, for now, is Shard of Sea, part of the Albica trilogy, as I will call it for now. I’m using that for #50in5 (which, pst, if you want goodies…). With luck, it will be every Friday along with July 21st, to coincide with Mandi Lynn’s #10kWritingChallenge.

Shard of Sea already has ~65k written in it, so I expect I should be around 60% done with the novel, if not further along. It follows Lady Thilda Rouk, who is the leader of the quickly-going-bankrupt nation of Lasiris. What’s even worse than that is the hints that the Lich who killed her mother and sister, and caused her father’s death in war, has returned. So she, along with her guardian Sir Auciet and her lover, Sir Rylis, go to the Vrolki for help.

The Vrolki tell her two things: first, she has to collect and repair the Lightbreaker; second, they’re sending emissaries along with her. These are their stories. (dun dun)

The only downside of working on this novel is that I haven’t touched it since 2016/2017. Many family events happened – good and bad – so I left writing for awhile. Coming back, it is a joy to read but some of the subtle things I was weaving in are still lost to me.

But that’s why I have planning documents and plot journals. So if I don’t figure out the few things I was hinting at by the end of my re-read, I’ll have to search out which journal all the details are in.

So, I will be taking a page out of erin‘s book and trying to check in weekly here. Maybe I can get back into the blogging swing of things…

Stats:

Words Written: 2,514 words
Chapters Completed:
0
Favorite Scene so Far:
The only one I have written so far, haha.

A New Challenger Approaches: #50in5

AKA: Don’t let me write in a journal.

Earlier this month, I made a second Camp NaNoWriMo account. My main one is finishing my thriller series (under a different pen name) but I wanted to finish up one of my fantasy books that I left dangling pre-baby. As I wrote this out in my Planning Journal (a book where I just let myself do some stream-of-consciousness planning and journaling about my writing life, goals, hopes, dreams, failures, etc.), I started to deduce a way to do them both in a month.

Most people would probably just split their main account and do 25k/25k between the two novels.

I decided no. Let’s go nuts. So I made a second account for my novel, Shard of Sea. And then I decided… why not dedicate Fridays to fantasy sequel and the rest of the month to thriller?

After mentioning this to my Writing Gang (Liz, Tatra and erin), a new challenge was created. As erin outlines, we are going to participating in #50in5. It’s pretty simple:

5 days.

10k a day.

50k in 5 days.

Is it doable? Sure. I can do some pretty fast drafting so 10k a day (provided my spouse is down for watching the kid during her fits) isn’t going to be too horrible.

Is it wise? Probably not. But I write relatively clean first drafts so I won’t destroy my novel in the process.

As erin outlines, we’re going to be making this A Thing ™. I have some postcards in the works that are functional (will help you track your words!). She has some awesome stickers to mark your progress. And you will also get some friends doing crazy work together.

So if you’re down, join us! Head over to erin’s post to sign up for goodies (if you want them) and prepare for some craziness in July.

(The second novel is an optional insanity if you’re being a NaNo Overachiever.)

[30 Questions for Writers] It’s Been a Hard Day’s Night…

Life has this way of getting to you. For me, the end of the semester consumes most of my time (in my non-writing life, I work in academia) and therefore, I disappear. But commencement is over, the first rush of summer paperwork is complete, and I have exactly one day to relax before my summer classes start.

Long story short: I have written some, edited some, #pitmad-ed semi-successfully and now can rearrange my schedule to work for me. I have a series to finish this coming month (and book two in a trilogy to finally get down), a series to plan, and more edits on The Final Rose.

But first, to keep my moment up… (and give you far too much to read):

30 Questions for Writers

(tagged by erin)

Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

My favorite writing project/universe would have to be the one I am editing, The Final Rose. There was something when I was writing that just felt right. All of these ideas rush to me, connecting subplots and creating symbolism and twists that I didn’t have on my original outline.

Even now, re-reading it, I think there’s a lot of depth to that story and universe. There is another series set in the universe which I will be working on by the end of the year.

How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?

For a fantasy writer, I actually keep somewhat small casts. I do have some novels that are more sprawling with split parties and adventures in different places, but most of the time, I try to keep it to a handful of major/main (5 or so) and then just a few important minor characters.

I don’t prefer either, but I know I seem to write more male main characters in my fantasy stories and more female main characters in my non-fantasy stories. I have no idea why.

How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?

Well, with the fantasies, I usually go to generators until I see something I can play with. A few times the names have just come to me (Wenna from Bottle of Sunset or Task Tannes from The Final Rose). Places are much of the same.

There was one novel when I was much younger (at least 13 years ago) when I would smash the keyboard and go with whatever was there.

Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

My first story? “The Friendly Ghost” when I was seven. I don’t think that counts…

My first completed novel was Sub Rosa. A fantasy (surprise) that followed a female main character who was an assassin with a very stylish elf partner. They were tricked into helping the Big Bad resurrect himself, which turns into a whole quest.

The female character was Rosalin, the orphaned daughter of (what turned out to be) quite famous parents. The elf was Ardre, who was a variation of elf that had him unaccepted by both wood and water alike. The two misfits did well together.

By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about “youngest” and “oldest” in terms of when you created them?

If we’re just counting characters under this pen name, my youngest character is either Fyran or Cecily from my novella duology, Midsummer’s Reflection and Midwinter’s Choice. They’re both sixteen and at the cusp of becoming themselves.

My oldest is Ikala from The Final Rose. She may appear young but her true age is part of the story.

My “youngest” would be the idea I just came up with last night (because why turn the brain off). The main characters have yet to be named but they are a set of quadruplet princes.

My “oldest”… That has to be Aralyn, the Roc-riding character in my high school short stories. Long red hair, penchant for wearing yellow, loved birds. I haven’t written anything with her in a very long time.

Where are you most comfortable writing? At what time of day? Computer or good ol’ pen and paper?

My preference is on my laptop, early morning, with warm coffee by my side. But it isn’t often that things go to preference when there is a young child and a full-time job.

So I usually either write at night (anytime after 9pm is late) or fountain pen and paper on the train during the commute.

Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

I am big on listening to video game remixes while I write because there are no words to distract me and I can hum along without thinking about it. OCRemix is my go-to.

Sometimes I will hear a song and relate it to my characters but it isn’t too often.

What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?

To Write: Fantasy, horror, thriller, usually all adult with some YA sprinkled about.

To Read: Fantasy, horror, thriller, usually all adult with some YA sprinkled about. Also non-fiction about historical figures, science, or the writing process.

How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.

Well, I come up with my story ideas a little strangely (I go Title -> Plot -> Characters) so usually, once I have the first two, I think of what type of character would serve well in that plot. Once I start thinking about that, usually something comes to mind: gender, some description, personality, etc.

Occasionally, I’ll get the idea for a character first, mostly the problem they need to solve. Then it is fleshing them out, seeing the plot around their problem, and eventually building the novel around them.

What are some really weird situations your characters have been in? Everything from serious canon scenes to meme questions counts!

Weird situations…

Well, in Bottle of Sunset, the explorers are mucking around in the swamps, trying to call on pixies. It’s not so successful…

In the sequel, Shard of Sea, they get captured by desert-dwelling elves. Everything is just not where it’s meant to be.

Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?

With this pen name, my favorite character is Jene from the aforementioned seven book series, hands down. He is a cranky old bastard which I can relate to.

Least favorite character would be Ziove from The Final Rose. I’m never truly in her point-of-view so it’s hard to relay some of the things she’s going to do or things she’s thinking via her body language and cryptic dialogue. It’s the reason that the edits for The Final Rose are taking so long!

In what story did you feel you did the best job of world building? Any side-notes on it you’d like to share?

The story with the best world-building is definitely the universe of Terrosya where The Final Rose and the seven book series is located. I have maps. I have magic systems. I have political intrigue.

What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

The Oriadians from Terrosya. They’re musically-inclined people who have a city full of spectres and hauntings which are just normal for them. They’re the most urban of my many settings in Terrosya which makes for a much more fun atmosphere.

How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

Inkarnate is my go-to tool. Sometimes I just draw maps out and save them for later. Here’s one of the land of Adomar (which isn’t going to be quite the best map).

Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

Brandon Sanderson. I want his output, his affability and his book deals.

Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing?

I think most novels I’ve written have some form of romance, either in the forefront or as an established relationship. For example, the romance of Task and Ziove is the driving force for some of The Final Rose. Counter to that, the already-set marriage of Ceack and Val in Obscura is just a part of their character.

I don’t think that full-out sex scenes are appropriate for most of my novels, but I’m not afraid to go there if the story calls for it.

Favorite protagonist and why!

Wenna from Bottle of Sunset (and the rest of that unnamed trilogy). She’s a strong character who just has one thing after another shatter the illusion of knowledge she has. By the time the third book comes, she’s going to be almost completely different.

Favorite antagonist and why!

Airaethon Ardhor from Obscura (and the rest of the Mist Trilogy). He’s very serpent-like in his actions and causes a lot of behind the scenes chaos before he’s revealed.

Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!

Actually, this is from what I’m writing now, but Wilford Garnot from The Lies of Jade and Ivory. He was meant to just be the roommate of the main character but now he’s become integral to the plot.

What are your favorite character interactions to write?

Arguments. In my first drafts, I’ll let them play out longer than they should so I can explore the emotions and true feelings of the character. Once I go back for edits, I can streamline it and bring in more characterization.

Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?

In my fantasy novels right now, no. Under a different pen name, I have a few characters with children. Getting the right age-appropriate reactions and development takes some research, but no one has pointed out that I’m so far off with the ages just yet.

Tell us about one scene between your characters that you’ve never written or told anyone about before!

I had to think about this one for awhile. I reveal a lot of things to my beta readers and critique partners. But though this scene is referenced in the novel, the original scene where Geir lets Task go in The Final Rose has never been written. It’s too far in the past to be relevant in the current novel, but serves as an important reference.

How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?

I am (and I’m not sure if I like the term) a “fast drafter.” When I have the time and motivation, I can write a significant number of words a day and my typing speed is relatively fast.

I usually can deal with planning and plotting in a month or so, unless it is a challenge novel (which I have a few from WriYe). I like to have a basic stats sheet with a small synopsis. A title is a must. And at least my main character, a minor character and the antagonist (whether corporeal or non-). Some world-building is necessary but I let a good amount develop as I write the first draft. I just make note of it in a notebook.

Then writing can take anywhere from a month to three. It depends on the challenge, the ease of writing (my thrillers are far easier for me to write than fantasies), and the POV. I can write first faster but I like deep third more.

How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone?

Oh yes. Many characters have died. And many more will yet.

I won’t say what novel, but I do have a character who is eaten by a sightless, underground wyrm.

Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.

One of my characters (in a series I am developing) has a pet griffin who acts like a cat. His name is Griff. They pretend he is a cat.

Let’s talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!

I have zero artistic ability. I suppose others could draw them if anything was published – either self or trade – or shared on the internet, but it is not. Yet.

Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

The only time I bring in appearances is when I am introducing a fantasy creature. Or if the physical feature has some significance to the plot or is symbolic in a way.

Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

I have. One of the characters in The Final Rose is revealed to be an addict (which I suppose is a stretch for this question). One character will be crippled by the removal of part of his body.

In other novels, I have had characters with limbs missing, characters with fractured personalities, and one with PTSD (in a sense). I tend to be very careful when writing these sorts of things since I do not have firsthand experience and I don’t want to offend by getting it wrong.

How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

All the time? Okay, that’s not truthful. A lot of the time I think about writing. Outside of my digital world, there are instances where I may be reminded of my writing (especially when I have students who act like some of my less mature characters) but that’s rare.

Final question! Tag someone! (And the part I missed: And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his characters! )

Paging Liz. Liz, to your blog please.

edit: So I somehow copied this question down wrong. Because that’s my life. So! What I admire about Liz:

  1. She has NEVER stopped trying to perfect her writing and her novel. I have been around with her with MoD since…almost day 1, I want to say. And she has been so dedicated about getting it done, getting it edited, and perfecting her craft to make it perfect.
  2. She’s always willing to try something new, even waking up at 4:30 am ;).
  3. She has thick skin. Thicker than mine by far! She never lets things stop her completely. And I won’t let her so… Tough. You’re stuck, Liz.

[#reviseandrevive] A Change Would Do You Good

For my #reviseandrevive prompt today, I want to focus on what happened during my first draft that needed to change. And to do that, I have to take you on a trip down the many paths I take during my writing adventure. So keep all your arms and legs inside and buckle up…

I don’t think the plot was the problem the first time. The problem was how I came to that plot. I, as they would say over in the NaNoWriMo community, am a plotter and not a pantser. But sometimes, no matter how much of an outline I have, great ideas come to me midway through and I have to get them on the paper. It has to twist and turn my story to fit this new, great discovery! Even if the backstory and the lead-up is not there.

So I have two options: make it fit in what what I have, or shove it in and hope for the best during revision.

With The Final Rose, it seems like I did the former. During my first re-read, things mostly made sense. I was lacking a significant amount of build up for the romance, but overall things made logical sense. What I’m doing now is smoothing out the edges with a bit of sandpaper.

But while I smooth, I’m also still carving, so to speak. There are scenes I need to add, then re-read and quickly revise to fit with the rest of the novel. Characters need a little tweaking – a new wardrobe or a haircut, in a sense – but nothing overall horrific.

And that’s where I am. My changes are small at the moment, the biggest change right now being a chapter that I chopped off half from and added to another chapter. But I’m only about a third in… There’s still time…

Ya Can’t Please Everyone, So Ya Got To Please Yourself

For this month’s WriYe Blogging Circle, we go straight to the root of the problem:

Why did you start writing?
Bonus:
How has your writing improved since you first started? What would you still like to improve?

So, let’s get back to the beginning. Why do I write?

Why wouldn’t I write? It’s where I belong, playing out the dreams and imagination that runs rampant in my mind. And it’s not something I can turn off on a whim. No matter how long I step away from it to focus on something else – first triathlon, first marathon, first child – it’s that comforting home I can turn to to find it waiting with open arms. Or blank page, as it may.

It’s like a compulsion. I always have a pocket journal – Field Notes, Log + Jotter, Moleskine – on me to take down notes or plot ideas or breakthroughs. There are more To Be Written plots on my computer than finished novels. I can’t stop and I won’t stop.

The only time I pause is when it is no longer fun. That’s the heart of the entire reason for my writing: fun. I have to enjoy it. To love it. Or else there’s no point in doing it.

That doesn’t mean I have to love it every day. To really become a published writer, writing consistently is important. Dedication over inspiration and all of that. But overall, I have to reach the end of the novel and say “I enjoyed that.”

Bonus

Oh Ancient Gods of My People – yes. I was a passive, telling-because-showing-means-what? novelist as a youth. Which I think is rather normal for most new writers. My characters were either flat or Mary Sues. My dialogue was florid enough to be in a funeral home.

But still, I enjoyed it.

What do I still need to improve? Consistency.

Fixing those muddled middles that are worse than a quagmire.

Most of all? Growing a thick skin. Plums are jealous of my skin’s thinness. But if I am going to be critiqued to improve, I need to actually accept it without pouting. (Or at least without pouting for more than a few hours.)

[#reviseandrevive] Baby, Now We’ve Got Bad Blood

The WIPWednesday progress for today involves drama. All good stories have drama of some sort, and it’s that tension that keeps a reader flipping pages. In The Final Rose,
I have a few dramatic scenes that I got excited while writing and am equally excited to rewrite.

So here’s a glimpse of what happens when Task and crew get to their destination, the Floating Islands, to give tribute to the gods… [First Draft Warning Alert]

Something red and glowing smacked into his face, nearly forcing itself down his throat. He grabbed at it, catching it between two fingers before it floated off in the winds. It was a petal – a rose petal – and one that had once sat on Ziove’s chest, proudly displayed like a battle scar.


Something was very wrong.


He shoved the petal into his pocket and pushed forward faster, making them keep up with him. She had to be there, standing just out of reach. She had to be near them, frozen in the wind the same way he had been at first.

Maybe the gods protected her. Maybe the gods were keeping her out of it and giving them a way out – death or run.

[#reviseandrevive] Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered

Those are the three things that my favorite character, Ikala, makes the rest of the cast of The Final Rose feel. It’s part of what keeps her always at the forefront of my mind when I think about characters I’ve created in the past years. Her personality, talents and character arc are one of my favorites.

So who is Ikala?

She is a summoner. In my universe, those are magic-users who can tap into the hidden energies of living (or non-living, in some cases) things and use those powers for their own means. They figure out what power an object holds by seeing through it to the crystalline structure of its parts (think of the carbon structure in a diamond). By recognizing the specific patterns and junctions, a summoner can draw out certain aspects of light, darkness, fire, water, whathaveyou. Above all, they credit this to understanding the word of the Gods, all life having come from them at the start. These are the closest to loyal clergy that I come in the novel.

They are in direct competition with mages, who are magic-users who tap into their own energy to “level up” their magic. Summoners are without; mages are within. I have a mage – Kyr – who probably is my third favorite character, but his story arc is far less interesting to me than Ikala’s. They don’t think the Gods have much to do with anything and that magic is inherent in every living being.

Ikala is asked to join the party early on and from the first introduction, when she catches Task trying to escape, her gentle, no-nonsense attitude is revealed. She almost always has answers to questions (which actually is important to the plot) and has more to lose by going up against the Gods during the big battles. Her crises are more than physical; they’re spiritual and mental. A few times, her hesitations cause problems.

I won’t reveal the dramatic character arc involving her, since it is vital to the novel, but I will say – it was something I hadn’t expected to do.

Why isn’t Task, my main character, my favorite? Well, he’s close. He’s a very close number two. But when I think about characters I’ve made, my thoughts always go to Ikala first. The novel wouldn’t work from her POV, which is why I keep her as a secondary character. Seeing her, and what she does, from Task’s and Geir’s POV is vital to her mystique. And her mystique is vital to her.

[#reviseandrevive] More Prompts, More Problems

Here are your Week 3 prompts for #reviseandrevive :

Week Three

April 15 – How did your plot go wrong the first time? How are you fixing it up? Or was it the characters that ruined it last time?

April 17 – #WIPWednesday: What was the hardest scene to write? Give us a final product glimpse.

April 19 – Prompt: Suffering

Still in Peaceful Dreams, I See the Road Leads Back to You

(Today may be a two post day because I have the #reviseandrevive prompt about which I plan to write).

As I think I have harped on about enough, this year is dedicated to shaping up and querying my novel, The Final Rose. The very first draft was written in 2011. The second draft, after it had been through a bit of critiquing, was in 2013. And now, five years after that, I am finally prepared to write the third (and hopefully final) draft.

#reviseandrevive was created to tie into a few projects, one of which is Resurrection April on WriYe. The concept behind that is to look at your older work that remained unfinished or written at the wrong time, and try to restart or finish it.

When I created the challenge years ago, I was hesitant. Sometimes, stories remained unfinished for a reason. Some need to be abandoned for issues involving plot, characters or execution. Major injuries to these can be recovered from with stitches and time; fatal flaws mean the story needs to be put to rest permanently. I’ve had stories ending due to both. Only the former can be revived.

How do you know when a novel is salvageable? This is my little cheat sheet (which I present as salted as the Dead Sea):

  • Do you remember the characters? If you have to reread the novel to get the names of side characters, that doesn’t count as not remembering. What I am talking about here is whether or not you remember your main characters. What did they want? What did they do? Could you slip back into their voice easily?
  • Do you remember the general plot? Again, you don’t need to remember every scene. What was the plot you intended to do? Do you remember the inciting incident? The climax? Does it still excite you?
    • If the answer to this last one is no, can you find a way to fix it that would make it exciting?
    • If the answer is still no, is this the right plot for these characters? Pitch it to a few friends and see if they can help you.
  • Can you re-immerse yourself in that world? This may be for only some writers, but can you jump back in and feel the world? Do you remember the important parts of world-building? The unique qualities that will draw your reader in?
  • Are you looking to write this to avoid something else? Like editing?

That last one is a bit personal.

Those are the things I usually ask myself when I look at reviving a novel (or rewriting). Sometimes, the answer is yes, like the novel I am writing now. Everything was still fresh. I wrote my first added in scene for the revision last night and Task’s voice was as clear is it was the first day I wrote for him. The scenes played before my eyes with a fully constructed setting. And the plot was what I had worked on the whole previous month.

Sometimes, the answer is no. Like a novel that will remain unnamed, but those who have known me awhile have listened to me complain. I tried to write this novel four times. The characters are nebulous, changing between drafts, because I could not pin them down. The setting is strong, but the alchemical/magical system is something that needs improvement.

The plot? Oh the plot. The overarching plot is there. But the inciting incident, the ordinary vs. extraordinary, all if it has never solidified.

Do I think the novel has promise? Yes. I really do. But the problem is either I am not prepared to write this novel, or I am not the right author to write the novel. Every time I try, I come a tiny step closer to distilling the essence. But somewhere along the way, the train jumps the tracks and crashes into the words I’ve previously written.

Will I try again one day? I am going to say no here, but I know it’s a lie. I’ll always go back to trying to fix this bane of my existence.

Until I get it down, though, there are other plots to chase.