The first YA Fantasy novel I drafted was called “To Be Queen”, book one of what was going to be a trilogy. I wrote it for my first ever National Novel Writing Month in 2013. A few weeks before November in 2015, after having drafted it four more times and even having gone so far as to query it, I decided to make some major changes.
Ultimately, I ended up splitting the book in half. I wasn’t sure how I would make the word count, let alone how I would make its counterpart longer, but in the end it had approximately 65,000 words, just like all of its preceding drafts.
The first book in the Sorcerers of Papridia series (that name might change) is now called “To Answer to a King.” It will be followed by, “To Be a Queen”, “To Conquer a Tyrant”, “To Defeat a God”, and “To End Magic.”
Towards the end of 2015 I started on “To Be a Queen.” With the new year, I made a resolution to write a thousand words every day, and as of right now (02/21/2016, 3:30 PM) this draft has approximately 55,000 words. When it is complete, it should have close to 80,000 words.
As soon as I’ve written the end, I plan on redrafting “To Answer to a King” one more time.
…which will make for a total of seven drafts in less than three years. I’m hoping this really will be my final draft before getting an agent, though under the agent’s jurisdiction I may have to redraft it before getting a publisher.
I’ve had enough people ask me “What’s your book about?” that I’ve started giving one basic answer. “Well, the premise is there’s this sorcerer named Wade who wants to get revenge on the king for killing his brother. But there’s a lot more going on than that.”
I’m aware that it’s a very simple and vague answer… I’m working on that. If I dive any deeper than that, however, I really won’t ever stop talking about it. It’s not just about a sorcerer seeking vengeance. It’s about a deceased king who had more secrets than anyone’s ever realized, a new king who hates his job but is resigned to it, a prince who’s too afraid to ask for forgiveness, a girl who wants to learn to stop hating herself and the world she lives in, a sorceress who longs for a world she’s no longer a part of, and two brothers who desperately want to know how to move on.
And that’s just the first book. As the series goes on I throw in curses, blessings, gods, and things that are much, much bigger… Five books in a magical world, and every chapter ends in a plot twist.
Every draft of every book I write is significantly different from the last. The original “To Be Queen” had a simple enough plot, but now it’s twisted into something so complex that my outlines must be completely detailed. For example, the outline for my current draft of “To Be a Queen” is a whole 16 single-spaced pages long.
I’m happy to say that there was a problem bigger than plot holes, and I’ve been told it’s improved significantly–perhaps to the point where it’s hardly a problem at all anymore. Somehow I lived the first eighteen years of my life having no idea what ‘passive writing’ is. In the time since, I’ve just about completely done away with it. I’m still not sure what it takes to have found one’s own writing voice, but if I’m not writing passively anymore, I’ve got to be close to it, right?
Every day I devote at least two or three hours to plotting, researching, and writing, and every day I’m another day closer to getting my first book published. I can’t wait until my first book baby sees the light of day and I can cross out the ‘Aspiring’ in ‘Aspiring Author’.