I’ve always loved talking about writing and my writing (duh…) but at the same time, there’s always that tinge of shame when people ask ‘what are you working on?’. It seems I can’t get a synopsis straight or even a pitch and it just comes out as awkward words starting with ‘there’s this girl and this thing…’. So I got inspired by Nicola at Queen of the Bookshelves (who’s one of the most awesome and hard-working bloggers I follow) to talk a little about projects and worldbuilding. As you guys know, this is more of writing blog anyway than a book one, buuut it’s always good to talk about projects with a bit of more guidance. So hopefully, I’ll be following Nicola’s posts and post my own.
This first post is about projects and WIPS. I started writing when I was 12 (it was a middle-school spin-off where everyone had their names changed). It didn’t have more than three chapters before I threw it out on the trash, so I can’t even share any of my probably brilliant lines. It took me a while to start writing again, and when I did, it was by the time I was 14 and was writing some really awful self-insert Naruto fanfiction. SERIOUSLY. At 15 was where I got the first spark for a real story, the one that would become my first finished novel.
The thing is, it took me almost 3 years to finish it. I wrote a couple of chapters, but didn’t feel ready enough. So back to fanfiction I went – writing and training until I could get the words just right and felt confident enough to move on to my own world.
It took me about thirteen months of drafting to get the story on paper. I used to write by hand, which took even longer. It’s entitled WELCOME TO HELL and it’s the story of Hime Walker, a girl who gets dragged off to a military institution where everyone has superpowers. The story developed so much in my head that it’s now become a trilogy (which has also book 2 drafted and book 3 drafted to a part, after which I gave up because I got some cool new ideas that had to restructure the whole series). The thing is, even after all this years, I still love Hime’s story. She’s an anti-hero, seeking justice but also completely unhinged. My favorite type of character to write 😉
After Hime’s story, I started drafting another story idea I got when I was in school studying biology. It was kind of inspired by the idea that snakes can never be good (I was thinking of slytherins, always the evil guys and never the good ones), and Victoria was born. Victoria is thought to be a lost princess on a kingdom where everyone can shapeshift into animals, but it turns out Victoria is a bit of a fraud. It was such a fun WIP to work in, and while I have edited some of it, it still needs a lot of work.
After Victoria I was a little lost on what to work next, but I had always wanted to write a detective novel. I set mine in São Paulo, with a young and hardworking detective called Carlota who’s tasked with finding who murdered one of the most prominent law professors in the best university in Brazil. It was SO FUN working on this, especially because I wanted to throw every single character in the suspicion spotlight, so pretty much all of them had motives.
As you may have noticed, I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I didn’t stop there. After writing some of these stories, I felt like I needed a bigger challenge — I wanted to start writing in English. The first project I picked was The Siren’s Call, which is a mermaid/pirate story that’s been in my head for AGES. To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to make it past 30k. Imagine my surprise when I ended the draft 3 months later with 130k.
I’ll confess, the draft is a complete mess. There are too many characters and plots, unsolved plot holes and things in the middle that I’d forgotten. On the first draft I’d even forgot the mermaids at one point (and they are pretty much the title characters). But there were so many enjoyable things about this book, and this is one of my favorite parts (enjoy!)
After working on The Siren’s Call, I knew I wanted to work towards publication. But with the Siren’s Call it was a little too hard — it’s a huge book, more NA fantasy than YA, the kind of book that’s neither here nor there and it wasn’t really marketable at that point. The thing about publishing is that, above all, your project also has to be sellable and interesting to agents at the time. See, for example, vampires. If you write a story with vampires in it, chances are that nobody’s going to give it a glance.
My next project was a fairytale retelling on a contemporary fantasy front. It’s called DOOMED, and it waves around the premise of “If history repeats itself, why not fairytales?”. It revolves around four girls who find out that they have been cursed to repeat the fairytale stories until they’re able to break out of the cycle.
Honestly, I love this project SO MUCH. It’s got some of the most interesting characters for me and it was such a good story to write. I loved every second of being in this world, and I was sure this was a project I could go ahead with… until I finished and realized it had ended at 163k. WHICH IS INSANE. Nobody wants to look at a project that long, especially from a debut author.
So back to work I went, and I finally found FIREBIRD. Firebird is one of the projects closest to my heart — it’s based on Russian mythology and folklore, as well as myths revolving around the creation of St Petersburg. It was so great giving voice to Tatiana, who’s an anti-hero and as crazy as they come. This is the project I’m currently polishing, going back and forth with CPs, editing it again until it comes out perfect. Despite all the edits I’ve done, I’m still deeply in love with it, and ready to polish it up even more. Here’s the first page of it:
As I said, crazy-crazy-crazy. I just love writing protagonists that aren’t really on the “do good” pattern and that don’t really fit in. Right now, as I never stop working (and you need rest between edits so you can go back and look at it with brand new eyes), I’m drafting other projects. There’s an Arabian Nights inspired story (which I finished and it was my last NaNo project), there’s one inspired by archaeologists in Egypt and Nefertiti’s tomb, there’s an alien invasion story and a space opera, there’s Ancient Rome and the Amazons… and lastly my new passion project, the #WitchWIP. You can catch a glimpse of all of those over at my Pinterest boards, if you are interested.
If I continue to do these posts (hopefully, I will!), I’ll probably be talking about one or more of these projects, depending on what the theme is. Watch this space for more writerly things. 😀