Room for writing

I’m incredibly inspired lately, and very suspicious of it. I know, I know, I ought to be thankful, and I am, but it’s been so long that I felt like this that I keep fearing this rush might end. Though deep down I don’t think so, not right now. I’ve cared better for myself this past year, I’ve tended to my Muse, taken time for my writing, been in closer contact with myself through morning pages, so this isn’t a fluke. That’s just my Old Critic’s voice creeping in, telling me I’m not cut out to be this, a writer.

But while it lasts: It’s fantastic! I am now over 40,000 words into Darklight Rest and still haven’t hit “the middle” where things slam to a sudden stand-still. Even better, I’ve failed twice before trying to write this story, and both times for the same reason (I think): It was too character-based, centered only around Liya and Mariany and ignoring the rest of the people and the immense conflicts that could arise from a setting like that. This time, there are half a dozen other characters who have interacted with Liya as much as or more than Mariany, and I have (gasp!) subplots!

Now, I realize this doesn’t sound very confidence-building, coming from a supposed author. But this is first draft, and first draft is chaotic, and I’m just glad it’s flowing as well as it is. I’ll pick up the pieces in revision, and I know that I can. Revision is a beautiful, powerful process that can turn a real mess into a brilliant story. I’m looking forward to it!

Favourite quote from today’s writing:

Just that the sky over Darklight Rest would never be full of stars. Liya wasnโ€™t even sure that stars existed in this place.

My Muse was really with me this morning. The words just flowed from my fingers, beautiful, easy, right. Those are the moments I write for, and would write for even if I could never earn a cent with my writing (now that I already have, I guess that statement doesn’t work anymore; still true, though).

Another cool thing: I keep having little glimpses of ideas for a prequel to Naheli’s Sacrifice. I thought I was done with this world, but the idea of returning to the island, if only to meet those characters again at a different time in their lives, keeps enticing me. It’s one of those that won’t let go, I think. Right now, I’m thinking a young Dhamikhan, coming to the island for the first time, and a story explaining who he used to be and how he turned out to become the powerful Lord Dhamikhan supervising Naheli’s Sacrifice. If Darklight Rest shouldn’t last me through all of NaNoWriMo, I think I’ll be doing this prequel next. ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally: I’m up to six reviews on Amazon now! ๐Ÿ˜€ During my latest free promotion, I was able to give away exactly 100 copies of the e-book. How great is that?! People all over the world reading (or at least owning) my story! And I can’t wait to put more stories out there. It seems the more room I allow my writing to take, the more my Muse comes out of hiding. I love this!

The 2nd fifth

Writing has been good lately. Great, actually. I’m writing daily and usually getting at least 1,000 words, which I’m putting down to working less so there’s just more energy left for creative work. Teaching children is immensely creative, but it’s also draining. This school year, there’s just more room for stories in my head. ๐Ÿ™‚

Darklight Rest is progressing well. I’m in that lovely place of a novel that is after the beginning (which usually consists of a lot of finding my way, my voice, the direction of the story) and the dreaded dragging middle (where I lose my way completely and have no idea what I wanted with this story in the first place). So roughly the second fifth of a new project always flies — characters keep popping up, the setting grows as I need it, witty dialogues and unexpected rules jump up from all directions. I’m enjoying this part of the writing. I sit down every evening and get words almost immediately. Varyan, who was intended to be a side character, is taking much of the stage and being surprisingly loud-mouthed. Not the way I imagined him, but I’m going to let him play for now and see what he’s planning.

I’m starting to like Liya a lot. She has a bit of spine that I want to bring out more, and she says what’s on her mind. She’s still succumbing to Darklight Rest, but I there’s not much she can do at this point.

Mariany, on the other hand, hasn’t made an appearance at all yet, although she was meant to be the second main character. I’m not worried, though. The more backstory and subplot I have, the better. Last time I tried getting this story right, it came out too thin. When there’s too much, I can always cut later. (I cut LOTS out of Naheli, leaving only the bare, stark bones of the real story in the end.)

I’m not sure, however, that this is still going to be the story I’d originally intended. That’s fine, too. My Muse usually comes up with something better during the process, even if that means ditching ALL of my plans, and 99% of my first draft writing. I write fast, so I can shoulder that time loss. The first draft always seems to be like just writing down what the story is really meant to be — what I honestly wanted to tell, beyond all the things that I thought I wanted to tell. It’s pure creativity.

Also, NaNoWriMo is around the corner! It’s my eleventh year, and my third go at Darklight Rest. I have a good feeling this time around, though. I’ll get it done this year. The characters are coming out too strongly to go back into hiding after this.

Finally: I’m celebrating my very first subscriber to my mailing list and three reviews for Naheli’s Sacrifice. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย Moving very slowly here, but steadily. That’s always been the way I work, taking longer time than others to get going, but then staying on the path until I hit my goal. Doesn’t matter if it takes decades; I plan to be around and writing for a while yet!

Darklight Rest & Naheli

It’s really exciting to watch the stats Amazon produces on your published e-books. Apart from being able to see how many copies I sold (three, two of which to family :D) and how many were taken during the free promotion (just over 50 now!), I can see how many pages have been read by readers using Kindle Unlimited. At least, I think that’s what it is — still learning my way around this!

The graph is really interesting and looks like this:


Now, there’s no telling how many people actually share those read pages, but seeing as there are days between those two spikes with no pages read at all, I’m guessing there were only two people. And if that’s correct, it would mean Person A read the entire book (which is about 445 pages) in two days, and Person B read it in one day. Which, although at first glance it may seem sad because there were only two people, is actually great — because it would mean that at least two people found the book interesting enough to read it in just a day or two. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย And I may be totally wrong with this, but I’ll choose to interpret it in this way and be happy about it!

This week I got the print version for Naheli’s Sacrifice done. I am now waiting for my proof copy to make sure it all looks good, and I’m so excited to see it! That must be a special moment, to see the book in actual printed form… well, unless I’ve messed up with the cover and it looks horrible, which might be the case. ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ll know more hopefully this week when it arrives.

Darklight Rest writing has been good today. I don’t really know where I’m going with this story, other than some vague ideas about Liya and Mariany. But I’m about 20,000 words in and Mariany hasn’t even showed up. Which doesn’t matter, I always tend to write a LOT in first draft and then cut a lot in revision. But I’m inspired and enjoying the writing and also getting some new characters that I like.

Also, I discovered PinInterest! I can’t believe I haven’t used it sooner. I made this collection for Darklight Rest, and it inspires me to no end, especially when, as usual, I get stuck with the setting. ๐Ÿ™‚

First review

I really hadn’t expected to receive any reviews at all this early in the process, but today I got one.ย I still can’t believe it.ย I don’t know who the person is, which feels really strange, because so far the only people who have read… well, ANY of my writing have been friends, family, or members of online writing groups. It’s a good one, too — not a five-star one, but I’m totally fine with that. The comments are VERY nice and I’m… I don’t know. I’m at a loss for words. I always dreamed about publishing a book, but now is the moment I’m sitting here crying because this… knowing someone, somewhere, read my words and liked them… enough to even post about them… this is what I really wanted. I’d be glad to make a living from my writing some day, but in the end, I don’t care that much about sales. My number one goal, which I set up when I took one of Holly Lisle’s classes, was to reach others with my stories. People I don’t know in person, people across the globe.

And now it’s happened. I think this might be the second happiest moment of my life, my wedding being the first one. ๐Ÿ™‚

See review here.

Naheli’s Sacrifice is live!

Oh. My. God.

It’s so much. There’s so much! I don’t know where to start, I don’t know how to catch up, there’s just so much to do and tell and brag about! (This is me grinning here!)

Last week, I finally published Naheli! I ended up settling onย Naheli’s Sacrifice for the title, and I’m so proud of the cover. It may not be the final one, because there’s always room for improvement, but I think it’s okay for now, and good enough to be out there. I can’t image Naheli is actually being looked at, being read by people!

Of course, the big crash came already a day or two later. Two copies sold: to my wife and my mother. ๐Ÿ˜€ I was prepared for that, though, so it’s all right. It takes time to get the book out there, to even get people to realise it exists. This self-publishing business is IMMENSE. There’s so much to learn, there are so many resources out there, and I’m excited and so enjoying the process. Finally I am working on my big dream for real!

But for now, just for today: I’m happy. Naheli is out there, it’s gone to about 20 people for free when I ran a one-day promotion last Sunday, and I’m excited to see if there will be any feedback at all. It feels strange, knowing that the story is there in the hands of people I don’t know. I’m so curious to know them. I want to know what they are like, why they decided to download it, what they usually read. If they are like me or completely different, where in the world they live. So… if you are one of them, one of the 20 people who own Naheli’s story right now… please leave a comment and tell me who you are. I always imagined myself as the kind of writer who would actually talk to her readers. ๐Ÿ™‚

The latest days, I’ve worked on putting together a free e-book containing some bits and pieces of notes and pictures I’ve collected during the whole Naheli-creation-process. Amazing, the things I found! Maps that are four years old, things I hardly remembered planning to put into the story. I had time travel planned, of course! ๐Ÿ˜€ ย Along with alternate dimensions, dark angels (those still fascinate me — I may go back to them one day), the mainland, a fanatic sect called TRUTH… oh, it was exciting. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I do think Naheli’s story turned out better this way.

I’m working steadily on a new project. Will post more about that later. AHHHH, I’m so happy and proud! Talk to me, treasured readers! ๐Ÿ™‚