* One chapter and an epilogue. So now the draft is done.
Step 1a: fix formatting messiness like smart/flat quotes, tabs, headings, blahblah (trying out a Google Drive plug-in for some of this)
Step 1b: decide on a cover, buy it, hope the title designer still has any of those fonts from lo these many years ago; get that ball rolling
Step 2a: crack into my running list of Words I Use Too Often
Step 2b: describe more things, geez!
Step 3a: reread everything, streamline sentences, look out for dropped plot threads and fix them
Step 3b: repeat (Note: Do not take 2 years for this step)
Step 4a: turn over to beta readers
Step 4b: pivot to extras for Books 1 and 2
Step 5a: get betas’ feedback, reread, decide what to implement
Step 5b: same as 3a, plus insight from betas
Step 6a: write synopsis of first two books, plus the blurb / cover copy for this one
I actually love editing, in all seriousness. Editing >> writing >> outlining >>>>>>>>> blurbing. I’m pretty jazzed that we’re finally at this stage. Onward and upward.
Should I try to post more often? Maybe. I’m one chapter from the end of this draft, so is this mostly procrastination? Absolutely.
I’m here to link to this article that I found interesting and relevant to my goals in telling stories: You Don’t Have to Kick Ass to Be Kickass: Shoujo fantasy and the value of the noncombatant hero
Focusing on anime and manga, obviously, but I am still a bit of an anime nerd and have been influenced by its tropes. Growing up playing JRPGs, I liked the idea of defensive magic and noncombatant characters, but the “angelic and sacrificing caretaker” trope didn’t speak to me (sorry, Rosa and Aerith [RIP]). (Team Rydia 4ever) Those sorts of influences filtered through to the kinds of characters I wrote about later. And clearly, I’m not claiming to be unique when my female lead is a healer, one of the tropiest fantasy tropes going – but as I develop as a person who tells stories, I hope to keep finding less hackneyed directions to take the story. Like, as this essay talks about, not constructing a binary of male/female fighter/healer hero/damsel, or casting either side of those binaries as inherently better than the other.
Actually, if we get right on down to it, the fact that my stories are probably never going to focus on combat as a means of problem-solving might be what makes them not feel like fantasy in the first place, which makes me a bit sad because I like fantasy, I swear I do. I just… do not care about slaying things. And there are plenty of fantasy novels that are about court intrigue or magic college or what have you, which is the kind I like most. Still, I can’t shake that image of the dragon-slayer or the lone hero who sticks a sword in the demon king as What It Means to Be Fantasy. (Am I just overly influenced by games again, hello, Link? Maybe.)
On a less self-promotional note, speaking of noncombatant heroes: I’d also like to shout out Ascendance of a Bookworm, a recent light novel and anime fantasy series in which the protagonist spends the entire first season a) trying not to die of a magical wasting disease and b) figuring out how to manufacture books by hand from first principles. I love a fantasy series that mostly ignores things like “magic systems” to geek out about trade guilds and class struggles and stuff (see also Spice and Wolf). I left off somewhere in the second season. Oughtta continue that.
Speaking of continuing… back to the draft!