Knowing when to stop

I don’t think I’m ready to write the fourth Therapist sidestory novella. It’s about 5 chapters in, and I’m already reconsidering a) the path of the second act and b) whether I’ve done enough research to do justice to the psychological topics touched upon in it. I don’t think I have.

This isn’t a case of lacking confidence in myself, I think; I have gotten to a point where I feel fairly good about my skills. Just that the idea needs more background research and more consideration about how it’s going to resolve. All of which takes time.

So I’m going to focus on editing the first three for now. By the time those are finished and released, I’ll know whether it’s time for the fourth story or whether I want to save it for later. There’s another potential story in that universe I might still pursue someday, so there’s room for a wave 3. These three end on a nice note; there are threads we can still pull on, but I don’t think there are any cliffhangers.

About beta reading:
If you’re interested in beta reading, please let me know (email or Reddit PM; details on the About page). I’ll start badgering people outright when the drafts are closer to being ready — probably in late November or December.

The stories are all written to follow from plot seeds in the first four novellas, so I think coming in cold would be an interesting challenge at best. I do welcome the attempt if anyone is interested, however. The three stand alone from one another, so beta readers are definitely free to pick and choose.

All are about the same length as the Therapist volumes, about 40k words each. Working titles:

  • (book 5) The Sylvan Dragon’s Herald, about Morel’s quest to return the dragon hoard and Hazel’s struggles with her anxiety. Narrated by Hazel, witch of the Southern Forest. Vibes: meditative, witchy, hopeful. A smidge more downbeat than the main series in that the leads are struggling with heavy feelings, but it has a positive direction and a happy ending. Contains some extremely mild f/f romance. Also contains more dragons per ounce than anything I’ve ever written in my life.
  • (book 6) Starting Over in Another World with My Level 99 Self-Doubt, about Berry’s retirement from adventuring, establishing a life in a small town, and the goings-on at the Two Claws Inn after their expansion. Narrated by Berry, ex-adventurer and plant mage. Vibes: snarky, determined, found family / workplace dramedy. Some swearing.
  • (book 7) The Unconventional Courtship of the Mageknight and the Dark Lord, about what happens when two former edgelords fall for one another, but also about trying to be a better person; narrated by Sir Solan the Mageknight and Dark Lord Drekar Nightshade. Contains a LOT of swearing and a moderate amount of m/m sexual content (fades to black before it gets explicit, but there is a lot of making out and specific references to off-page activities or thoughts). Vibes: grumpy/sunshine, where the “sunshine” leads a Dread Army that is really just a dorky intentional community with a death metal aesthetic; dark humor; cynicism turning into optimism.

More detailed content notes will come along with the beta reading questionnaire; I’m still putting those together.

I feel good about this decision, which usually seems like a promising sign. Though it does scuttle my pseudo-NaNoWriMo plans. I guess I’m editing instead of writing for NaNo, then. Here we go.