90,000 Words Later – What I learned from writing a fantasy novel . . .

What’s done?

Recently, I finished drafting, revising, and editing my manuscript for The Witch’s Uprising, a medieval-inspired fantasy for teens, young adults, and adults. It took me more time than I wanted, but it was worth every bit of effort.

At 90,000 words, my manuscript is longer than I originally planned. I’m proud to say that I’ve finished something of this magnitude, and I hope it will be one of many projects in years to come.

What have I learned?

This process has taught me so much about writing and my own habits as a person who creates fiction. Here are a few lessons I learned along the way:

  1. Writing sprints are more productive than long spans of time dedicated to writing.
  2. Setting a small, easily-achievable goal is better than setting a large, intimidating one.
  3. Taking time to prewrite helps scenes develop more fully.
  4. Rereading the manuscript several times improves the entire process.
  5. I need more eyes than my own to spot whether or not a manuscript is working.
  6. Sometimes, subplots begin to evolve organically.

Below is a graph that represents how I felt during the process – it was a roller coaster.Feelings of Accomplishment Vs. Time Spent Revising

Here’s the annotated version:

Labeled - Feelings of Accomplisment vs Revising

What’s next?

  • I sent The Witch’s Uprising to my editor and am awaiting her go-ahead to query literary agents.
  • My next project is a medieval-inspired fantasy with the working title Threadbare. I am currently 12,000 words deep, with plans of finishing a draft in the coming months. See a description below.
  • I am also planning a novel called Unbound Blade for National Novel Writing Month. You can follow my progress here during November.

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Threadbare follows Wylla, a young seamstress’s daughter who accidentally discovers a small dragon near the mysterious Darkwood of her village.

Wylla is twice blessed, as her mother says. She is a girl of two heritages – the settlers from the north, and the islanders of the southern seas. Her mother’s people were storytellers born of fire and warm magic tides. Her father’s people were craftsmen with courage as strong and bold as the stone they carved.

Were he not taken by the Darkwood, he would tell her she was strong as a dragon’s fire and tough as a castle keep, not cursed as all the villagers believe.

A needle and thread are all her mother needs to keep a living, but Wylla dreams of dragons with wings so strong they could uproot the Darkwood and fly away together.

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