New Draft Complete!

Exciting news: I finished a new draft!

A brand new story, so shiny and sparkly, is finally drafted after an agonizing year of trying to get through it. I never fell out of love with the idea, but slugging through the middle was really hard this time around. I knew where I had started and where I was going, but I spent a long time figuring out how to get my characters there. There were definitely some surprises and twists along the way, and I fell in love with relationships I hadn’t originally planned. Actually, two of my characters were supposed to hate each other… and they ended up in love! I gave myself warm fuzzies, and I can’t wait to give them to you, too!

Then I hit the last third of the book. Once I knew what was going to happen again, the words flowed like I had turned on a faucet. And last night I hit that last key. Finally. This feeling. Ugh, amazing. If you’ve ever completed a large project or a passion project, you know this feeling.

What’s next? Well, letting this one air dry for a bit (about a month, just long enough to work on a new story for NaNoWriMo!) so that I can come back to it with new eyes. As I was writing, a lot of different things changed, like the age of my main protagonist and her feelings about another character, so I know there is going to be a lot of rewriting and cleanup. After the sitting-period, I will print off the draft, read through it for overall notes, and then open up a brand new file to redraft… something I’m actually really looking forward to. I can’t wait to shine up this story, to tie up the loose ends and plot holes, to implement the new ideas that I had mid-drafting.

What’s this new story about? Without creating an actual summary, here’s the idea:

Ember is a half-human, half-Nis (fox spirit) hybrid who never quite felt like she fit in. Then, she finds herself forced to graduate (or, you know, expelled) from Nis school and moves in with her brother. However, she is left with this warning: she must learn how to be a real Nis, or she will be rejected from their society altogether.

Then she meets Sora, a Swan-shifter. Sora is part of a discreet organization known as the Knights Errant, an organization claiming they want equality and justice for all types of supernaturals, not just the Nis. This quest for equality strikes a chord in Ember’s bruised heart, and she begins spending more time with Sora. However, not long after this, her pearl, the seed and anchor of her magic and the most important part of Nis life, is stolen. If she can’t recover it, she may just be banished from Nis society permanently and without the chance to make amends.

In an effort to recover her pearl, she begins going to Knights Errant meetings with Sora. Before she realizes what has happened, she’s in over her head and forced to resolve a centuries-old cover-up by the Nis Elders… one that could ultimately destroy the world. With the help of her brother and her new friends, she joins the fight to stop an ancient evil and find her place as a true Nis.

So there you have it! I’m so excited about this story, and I can’t wait to polish it up and get it out into the world.

In the meantime, anyone else doing NaNoWriMo this year? I’m going to try to complete it with a new high fantasy based on a D&D campaign I wrote a couple months ago.

Tell me your stories and plans in the comments!

Juggling Multiple Projects

Growing up, I was the kind of girl who was obsessive about stories. I devoured them like they were the juiciest cheeseburgers, and I always craved more. Naturally, that evolved into writing my own stories. But that’s a post for another day!

Instead, today I want to talk about something that has plagued me since my early writing days, all the way back in elementary and middle school. That’s right, I’ve been writing since elementary school.

As a kid, I was filled with ideas. They were in my dreams, they were in the television programs I watched, they were in the other books I read, they were in my life experiences. They collected like raindrops in my brain. They brewed and stewed and percolated.

However, the abundance of ideas that I almost always tended to have at once proved difficult at times. I would start writing something, then get distracted by one of these new shinies. Instead of focusing my mental energy on planning and plotting the work in progress, it shifted to thinking about this new idea. And you know what happened? The work in progress died. I turned all my attention and writing time to the new idea. Oh sure, occasionally I would halfway finish a story. But I never returned to it, never polished or relished or cherished it. I was too focused on the next big idea.

But things changed a few years ago, once I was in the thick of grad school. I started writing fast and finishing things (yes, in grad school. Writing became my escape from the stress and from difficult situations I couldn’t otherwise escape.). I made a decision, either consciously or unconsciously (I really couldn’t tell you if you asked now) to be serious about my writing. To finish ideas. To make them sparkle. And I wrote and completed three manuscript drafts in a year. Yeah, they may never go anywhere. I may be done with them now. Or for now. But I finished things.

However, I still had that same problem of how to juggle multiple ideas at once. I would still get new, captivating concepts while I was drafting. In fact, it’s happening to me right now. But I think I finally figured out a solution. Once again, it comes down to dedication and discipline.

So here’s my new way to juggle projects (and it’s working for me): I am not allowed to touch the new idea until I have added at least 1000 words to the old one. And in setting that one, unbreakable rule for myself, the days that I get to write and really focus on writing, I end up with over 2000 words in a sitting, half of the old manuscript and half of the new manuscript.

So what about you? Do you have this same problem? How do you manage multiple ideas and projects at once? Comment below with your stories and advice!