My quarantine novella is done and dusted 🙂 It’s around 23,000 words and now available on Smashwords and Amazon. I’m also halfway through my goal of publishing two stories this year.
Just finished a second draft and I think I that I only have line and copy edits left to do. I was planning on changing the ending, but I now think it’s fine the way it is.
I can’t believe that this story is almost done. Could it be that I’ve gotten to this level where I can just churn something out and it be decent the first time around? Dare I hope that this is where I am now?
How did I get to this position? I suppose that it is because I not only had a rough plan; I am also more objectively critical about making decisions regarding my work. I don’t agonise over something and waste time. Also, the idea that nothing needs to be perfect is quite freeing.
My quarantine project is done 🙂
Looking through my calendar I saw to my surprise that I came up with the story and completed the first draft all in one month. I can’t believe it. It’s like all those unpleasant feelings I’ve had about this project is gone.
Currently, it stands at 22391 words and has two main POVs. While it took a month to finish, I only wrote for 19 of those days. I will leave it for a few days before editing. I still have a June/July release date, but I’m hoping for sooner.
I’ve made my mind up to complete a project during my time in lockdown. It’s my new novella ‘The Dragon’s Mate.’ I’ve already done 15,000 words and if I do another 500 every day this month, then I’ll have doubled it by the 31st. I don’t have a set word goal for this story, so I’m not sure if it’ll pass the 30k mark when completed. I kind of know where I’m going with this story and I am planning on this being just a stand-alone.
The Dragon’s Mate revolves around two teenagers as they team up together to try the stop their King gaining control of dragons and prevent him from having absolute power.
Isolation is getting to me. I’ve been all over the place and every day I’ve felt both sadness and happiness. I’ve been trying to learn Dutch on Duolingo and I’ve plateaued halfway through the first stage 😦
Also, I stopped editing in favour of starting a new medieval fantasy novella I thought up on the second day. Since then I have completed two chapters and a total of 9100 words. I’m mostly making it up as I go with only a few future events to aim towards. Since it’s short, I might have it done in a month 🙂 Below is what I did for my story.
- Nothing (thought up of a new story idea).
- Wrote 3039 words.
- Wrote 2328 words and created the book cover.
- Wrote 742 words.
- Wrote around 2500 words.
I’ve found that I work best with no music and only ambient sound around me. It makes me focus more and afternoons/evenings are when I get most of my writing done. I used to run a Youtube vid of jazz cafe music in the background because I previously found that I could hyper-focus in a noisy cafe. So I figured that I would take it home with me. It kind of worked but not as well as no sound.
And because I was struck with a new shiny idea, I also had to have a book cover made immediately. I spent a few days looking at dragon images on iStock until I came across this one. With some simple editing on Pixlr.com I went and made me a decent cover image. The trick is to keep it simple.
If you’re interested in reading a short story set in a medieval time that involves two sisters going to a witch’s community for help then read the first chapter down below. It is currently available only on Amazon through KPD Select. From June 6 it will be available on Smashwords.
Turning over in bed, Daphne looked at her younger sister. Edwina looked so peaceful asleep, so unbothered by the world. Her face was so angelic. Daphne scrunched up hers. If the situation were reversed, then there would be no problem. It just wasn’t fair that the world treated them differently.
She listened to the commotion down below. Her father and brother were already up and packing for their trip to the nearest town. She listened as they exited the house. Their voices rose up into their bedroom window.
‘Hopefully, this will take us through the winter,’ her father said to their mother.
‘It always does,’ her voice was quiet and soothing.
‘Hold the fort while I’m away.’
Avoiding the floorboards that squeaked, Daphne stared out the window and down at her family. Eric was already on the cart with their father climbing onto it. Her mother was standing beside it. Then the two of them rode off through the early morning mist. It could be a week before they sold all their pelts.
‘Wake up Ed,’ Daphne said as she shook her sister’s shoulder.
‘What?’ she was annoyed and turned away.
‘I have to tell you and mother something now that Father and Eric are gone.’
‘Wha? Later,’ she pulled the thick wool sheets over her head.
The pair descended the curved wooden steps and as Edwina was about to fall asleep again at the table she heard her sister speak.
‘Mother, I have to tell you something.’ The sound of her distressed voice opened her eyes. ‘I’m with child’.
‘Oh, dear Lord!’ cried their mother after a moment. ‘How? Who? When?’
‘I haven’t received my bleeds in six weeks.’
‘It’s one of those men Eric hangs out with at the Tavern, isn’t it?’
Daphne gulped and before she could say anything her mother continued, ‘Don’t worry the women of Evelyn can get rid of it.’
‘What those damned witches?’
‘How can you even say that? Those women provide a valuable service to the community. And you need it now.’ Daphne began to tear up. ‘You should know better than to believe what comes out of the mouths of those types men.’
Then she turned to Edwina. ‘You’re not in the same boat as your sister, are you?’
‘No, I’m still a maiden.’
The look on their mother’s face was harsh. ‘I will not have a disgrace for a daughter. Damn it. No one is going to want you now. Why did you do this yourself?’ Then she calmed herself as her eldest daughter began to cry. ‘You will go to Evelyn and they will fix everything. I can’t go because it will look suspicious. Edwina, you will accompany your sister. If people ask, say she’s coming down with the pox.’ Then she left through the front door. Daphne was silent as tears fell down her face.
‘Who is it?’ Edwina asked. Her sister shook her head. Why wasn’t she saying? Her stomach clenched as she thought that how the child was conceived. What type of man would hurt her sister like that? Their mother shouldn’t have blamed her if that was the case.
She couldn’t place a time when Daphne was alone with a man here. Unless it didn’t happen in the house. Maybe it happened in a few moments of stolen privacy. Maybe behind the Tavern? And Daphne was not one who could count on looks to ease her passage through life. A child out of wedlock would mark her out. At least someone can hide their lost girlhood.
Then their mother re-entered the house. ‘The mule is saddled up. You two will ride along the cliffs until you get to Evelyn. It will take you all day, so you need to leave now. Edwina, I need to talk to you. Daphne, pack some food; the women are not a charity you will be expected to do chores in exchange for their services.’
Outside the house, Edwina and her mother talked. ‘Did you know about this?’
‘No, I only just found out.’
‘Mr. Cole will not have his son to marry into a family that has a tainted daughter. Make sure your sister comes back without it.’
‘Don’t let her out of your sight.’ Then her tone changed slightly. ‘I have to admit. I’m surprised that she managed to find someone to lay with. I would have thought it would be you in this position.’ Edwina knew exactly what her mother was referring to. How could two full blood sisters look so different from each other? It was almost like the Lord himself had taken the beauty that should have been halved between the two of them and gave it all to her. h seemed destined that Edwina was made divinely beautiful so that she could secure a rich man.
She thought of Eli Cole, the only son and heir of Mr. Cole the biggest landowner in the region. According to her mother, how Edwina played herself would decide how her life would turn out.
‘No, I will be with her all the time.’
‘Good. Also, find out who it is. And never speak of this outside of Evelyn.’
They went back inside, and the two sisters got dressed in their winter garments. It was always windy along the coast no matter what time of the year. So just like their father and brother, the pair set off, but in the opposite direction. They carried with them food in a knapsack, a knife for defence and the order to follow the white stone path and not stop for anyone. Their mother made sure to mark Daphne’s skin to give credence to their story. After all, a person infected with pox needs to look like they are contagious.
The woods gave way to open plains and they turned to travel parallel to the cliffs of Evelyn. Their trip along the most well-known but seldom travelled path was uneventful.
‘How much longer?’ Daphne whined. Edwina rolled her eyes, a lot sooner than seven, eight months, she thought. ‘You can see it in the distance,’ she pointed ahead of her to the singular stubby mountain that was highlighted by blue skies.
‘Really? We’re only halfway there.’
‘It’s going to be sunset when we arrive remember?’ Her sister’s hands tightened around her waist. ‘This wouldn’t be an issue if you didn’t get yourself into this mess.’ She added.
‘You think I wanted to be in this position?’
‘Well, why did you sleep with a man you’re not married to?’
‘I didn’t think,’ her voice stopped, ‘I didn’t think that you could become pregnant on the first time.’ Then Daphne hugged her sister, ‘I didn’t think it’d happen to me. Not like this. You’re not going to tell Father, are you?’
‘No, this is women’s business.’
I completed the seventh draft of my short story The Witch’s Room and I decided that it was ready to be released into the world wide web with my name attached to it. It is currently under review on Amazon and should be up within 72 hours. At the moment I am only putting it on KDP select as a means of trying to get as many people to read it. If all goes well in a few months I’ll put it up on Smashwords 🙂
This story started with the visuals of a character entering the Witch’s Room. I thought that the scene was awesome and I shouldn’t/couldn’t let it go. So I had to work out what needed to happen for this scene to occur in a story. So I wrote it down on my work notepad and when I got home I began working on it.
Looking back on the dates of my word documents, I had the first draft completed just before 5pm on the 15th of February. That’s less than a month ago! Since then I have drafted every 2-5 days. It only took me a few hours every time to draft because of how short it is (I was also working on other stories).
I think the most challenging thing about this process was picking the book cover image. I wanted to have a stone sculpture of a woman to portray the scene in the Witch’s Room. But I was very nitpicky about it. It had to be aged and not too ornate. But I couldn’t seem to find one that fit everything because a lot of stone sculptures of women from the past were of the Virgin Mary or Angels and had religious themes to it. You can see that I found an image as close as possible to what I wanted. It’s not how the statute looks in the story, but it’s the closest.
I did another draft of my short story. It’s only 6241 words long and I was able to go over it 90 minutes. It was mostly skimming through as it is pretty much done now. I just have to give it to some people to read and create a cover image.
Just completed another draft. There was less to do than the last one, but I still took out some sentences when I was just expecting to do individual words. I think with another edit it might be mostly ready 🙂 I also need to create a cover image. But I’ve almost picked one.