That Writing Life

I’m on holiday from The Day Job this week, and since I’m feeling a rare sense of pride in my writing (The Royal Sentinel is currently #340 in Fantasy on Wattpad, so yay!) I’ve decided to use the time to take a good crack at Down From The Tower.

I’d made some good headway a few months back, but due to my main character, Mandisa, accidentally morphing way too much into Naomi, I decided to start over again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Naomi, but I wanted to write a very different sort of leading lady this time. Mandisa is practically Naomi’s opposite in almost every way. Best way to describe it is that Mandisa is the Elle Woods to Naomi’s Katniss Everdeen. It’s a fairly hefty change of pace for me, especially when you consider that I’ve been writing Naomi almost exclusively for the last six years, but it’s been the sort of super fun challenge that makes being a writer worthwhile, I feel.

One of the things I was pulled up for doing badly on when writing The Redwood War series was the bland world-building, so I put a lot more thought and effort into that with Down From The Tower. I doubt I’ll ever be at the Brandon Sanderson level of epic world-building, but I’m proud of what I have so far. It pains me a little to compliment myself (but I’m going to power through it anyway) but I feel like my strongest area will always be writing compelling characters, and honestly that’s just fine with me. Still, I always want to improve at what I do, and I’d like to hope that I’ll be showcasing at least a little of that with this project.

Also I always felt fairly bad for having more male than female characters in The Redwood Rebel (something I was able to fix really quite easily in The Royal Sentinel) so I’m not going to fall into that same trap again this time. It’s far too easy to trip over these tropes, even as someone who is fairly thoughtful about the media I consume and put out into the world, so I’m determined to be a lot more mindful in future. Once again, I hope it’s something that shows in my work.

Down From The Tower is currently only planned to be a short novel of around 50k words, and depending on its reception, may or may not become a series in the future. It’s been a really long time since I last sank my teeth into writing a big project, the last year or so having been entirely about editing The Redwood War series, and writing poems and poetic prose. I’m nervous about it, but I’ve been doing this long enough now that I know the only way to get past that fear is to just barrel straight through it. The feedback I initially had for The Redwood Rebel really knocked me back hard, and it’s honestly taken me this long just to build myself back up to the point where I feel ready to have a pop at traditional publishing again. That’s my plan for this project, at least, so I guess we’ll just have to see where it takes me.

In the end, it may work out or it may not, but I tried giving up and I found it was much harder than trying to succeed ever was.

For now I’m just throwing down words and powering through this first draft. Once that’s done, my plan is to knuckle down with book three of The Redwood War series (working title: TDC) until I have something resembling a draft I can feel at least semi-confident to send out for beta-reading. I’ll swap and switch between the two projects until they’re done, and who knows? Maybe in a year from now I’ll just be that much closer to being the writer I want to be.

Wish me luck!

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