Now that I’ve finished drafting Planet Dragos and the story is in the editing process, it’s time to make an announcement and answer some reader questions. I’m going to go in order of less important to most important.
PLANET DRAGOS STORY LENGTH
Guys, it really is a novella.
Some of you are worried about the length of the story. Planet Dragos is a novella that came in around 35,000 words—which is a long novella (what I typically write). To give this number context, 40,000 words is reaching the territory of a short novel. As soon as we have the final files formatted, we’re going to upload them to all the online booksellers and the placeholder file, which now appears to be only 7 pages long, will disappear.
LIAM IN COLLEGE
I have been asked when readers can expect a book about Liam going to college. The short answer is, I’m not going to write one.
I DID think long and hard about doing so. In fact, I had once considered writing a trilogy just on this alone. I thought it would be entertaining and readers would enjoy it, and I even went so far as to write some test pages and commission cover art for the project.
However, as I thought more deeply about this I realized I don’t have the interest or the voice to write a new adult fantasy. Trying to do so would be a disservice both to readers and to myself.
So, there won’t be any stories about Liam going to college. He’s off on his own adventure, out of sight, and learning and growing on his own.
DRAGOS AND PIA
It’s now time to announcement that Planet Dragos is going to be the final story with Dragos and Pia as point-of-view (POV) characters.
Once upon a time I wrote for some blog interviews that there was so much story to tell about the Cuelebres—and there was. I have loved these characters every bit as much as readers have, but something has shifted.
Now, even though they are still in love and having adventures, I no longer feel they have so much story to tell. Now I feel like they have earned their HEA (happy ever after). This is an important emotional and mental shift for me as a writer, and I don’t see any going back from it.
I am still holding open the possibility they will appear in other people’s stories. Like guest appearances on TV shows, if they do appear it won’t be as main POV characters.
WHAT’S COMING AFTER LIONHEART
I have three possibilities for what I will be writing after I finish the Moonshadow trilogy. They are all such fantastic choices, I haven’t reached my decision yet. When I do and I’m ready to go public with it, I will let you know.
FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES IN HOW I WORK
Some of you already know that I have an autoimmune disease that has disrupted my work schedule and life over the last few years.
I love my job. I am one of the luckiest people in the world, and I am grateful for it every day. But I am no longer able or interested in holding myself hostage to the self-inflicted cruelty of work days based on word count output.
What is word count output, you ask? It’s when you say, I need to write 3,000 words a day no matter what it takes. If if takes me twelve or fourteen hours to get that 3,000 words, I’m going to do it.
Author Jeaniene Frost tweeted quite a long thread about the difficulty of word count days and how terrible writer exhaustion can be. If you’re interested, you can read that here: https://twitter.com/Jeaniene_Frost/status/984193058483982336
When I read that, I felt as though Jeaniene was writing about me. That’s what I’ve done for ten years, and that decade was on top of just completing two grad school programs. I think, looking back, it’s no wonder I crashed and had an upsurge of autoimmune symptoms. And I crashed hard. I had to sleep for three months, and I’m still in the process of fully recovering.
So! This blog piece is not meant as a complaint. This is simply to say, I am now needing and wanting to take an entirely different approach to writing. Now, like so many other people who go to work, I’m going to work for a certain number of hours in a day and then QUIT. I’m not going to make myself sit in the chair and force out more words to hit a word count goal. I’m going to say, at the end of my work day, that I did a good job no matter what my word count ends up being. Because while writing is most definitely putting words on a page, it’s also so much more. It’s world building. It’s plotting. And writing as a business has a surprising amount of administrative work attached to it too.
Putting out word count days does give a person the advantage of being able to calculate out a deadline. For example, writing 3,000 words a day means a 15,000-word count week. And that leads to a 90-95,000 full length book in a predictable amount of time.
NOT putting out word count days, but working, say, a 9 to 5 job instead… I haven’t done it yet, so I don’t know when it will result in a full-length book.
But it WILL result in finished books – and those books will probably be finished not too much later than the more difficult word count work model. Working an hour-based schedule will also result in a healthier writer who has time for self-care like exercise, weekends off, and making home cooked meals.
So that is how I will be writing from here on out. And that means my next book is coming. I’m not exactly sure when, but I will be working on it every day. I’ll share snippets of that journey with you from time to time, and as always, we will be sure to let you know when I finish drafting on LIONHEART and when pre-order pages are up. My guess is that it will be around August. We’ll find out.