Friday, August 25, 2023

On the Taleweaver's Desk Issue 9: August 2023

Hello, all! The summer months are almost at an end (assuming you consider September fall, which . . . let's be real, it really isn't), and that means many things. It means the Silmaril Awards are coming up in just a few weeks. It means that Song of the Selkies is less than a month away from release. And it means that it's time for another Taleweaver's Desk update. Once again, there aren't a lot of changes since my previous update, but I have made progress on most of my active projects. So, let's see what's new! As always, if you want to know more about any project in this post, you can ask me in comments or take a look at my Works in Progress page.

On the Taleweaver's Desk Issue 9: August 2023

On the Desktop

These are the projects you might find open on my laptop or desk if you took a peek at it during a normal day. They're currently in progress and at the top of the priority chart.

Song of the Selkies (Daughters of Atirse #1)

What is it? A roleswap Little Mermaid retelling featuring selkies and a princess who genuinely wants to do all the things a princess is supposed to do.

Status: Fully drafted; a little less than halfway through the first edit. Available for preorder now!

Everything about this book has taken longer than anticipated, but we are pressing onward. I give thanks every day that I write pretty clean first drafts so I can focus most of my editing energy on making the actual story better without having to wade through lots of spelling and grammar mistakes. (I also give thanks that I found such a great team of beta readers, all of whom gave excellent feedback on a rather tight turnaround.) The part of the book I've been editing this week involves a lot of rearranging scenes and trying to make sure the timeline works, so that's held me up, but I think once I get past this section, I'll speed back up.

Bastian Dennel, PI #4

What is it? Book 4 in my Bastian Dennel, PI series and my first murder mystery.

Status: Twenty-six and a bit chapters drafted.

Having to spend extra time on Song of the Selkies met I didn't finish this in July like I hoped, nor will I finish it in August. I expect that this will be my main writing project in October, once Song of the Selkies is released and the Silmaril Awards are over. Once I finish drafting it, I'll decide whether I want to switch the order of Books 4 and 5 like I mentioned back in May, though at the moment I'm leaning away from that plan. The only real advantage of that plan is that it might mean getting a book out a little sooner, but either way, there probably won't be a new BDPI book until 2024. Sorry!

D&D Campaign: Defenders of Serys

What is it? Defenders of Serys is the homebrew D&D campaign that I run for my D&D group.

Status: In between writing adventures.

I finally finished writing and running the Middle Earth adventure — huzzah! — and wrote another, much shorter, adventure that we're in the middle of now. I'm currently taking a break from D&D writing to focus my energy on other projects (namely, Song of the Selkies and grad school) and hoping that what I have written lasts long enough to when I can work on the next adventure. I thought it would, but my group has cleverly bypassed about half the encounters I planned, so we'll see. For the record, I'm quite proud of their cleverness — I gave them an open-ended riddle, and the solution they came up with was much better than either of the answers I had in mind. And the encounters they bypassed, I'll save for another time, so we're fine on every count except maybe time.

Stacked on the Side

These are the stories that I'm not actively working on (at least not officially), but I'm keeping close at hand because I plan to get back to them soon (or I just work on them sporadically as the urge takes me).

There are no significant changes to any of these projects since my last update, but I'll leave the list here for anyone who hasn't seen it before!

Blood in the Earth

What is it? Blood in the Earth is the sequel to Blood in the Snow and a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses crossed with the myth of Hades and Persephone.

Status: First draft finished; awaiting rewrites. I probably won't get back to it until late 2023 or 2024 at this point due to all the Bastian Dennel, PI books I have planned.

Once Upon a Dream

What is it? A light steampunk (or gaslamp fantasy?) Sleeping Beauty retelling; the predecessor to The Midnight Show

Status: Edited several times over. Awaiting another round of rewrites/expansion/edits.

Shelved for Now

These are stories that are also on hold, but which I don't have specific plans to work on very soon. They're still within easy reach should I decide to return to them, but they aren't a top priority.

There are no significant changes to any of these projects since my last update, but I'll leave the list here for anyone who hasn't seen it before!

Dust of Silver

What is it? Classic-ish fantasy retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses crossed with Rapunzel, the first book in what has the potential to be a rather long series. Also, a rewrite of a book I wrote years ago that won't let go of me because CHARACTERS.

Status: Several chapters into the rewrite, though those several chapters haven't been touched in a few years.

Between Two Worlds

What is it? A portal fantasy adventure about what happens when you come home from the adventure, only to discover that the adventure isn't quite as done with you as you thought.

Status: Awaiting another round of edits/rewrites while I write other things and daydream about its sequels. May get bumped further up the priority list depending on certain other factors, but probably not for a while yet.

The Way of the Pen

What is it? Self-aware fantasy adventure about a girl and her author.

Status: The first draft is sitting on my shelf, patiently waiting for its turn back in the spotlight, as it has been for some time. Of everything in this section, this is the most likely book to move up to Stacked on the Side or On the Desktop, as I occasionally have wild thoughts of editing it and shopping it 'round to traditional publishers. However, that actually happening in the next couple years is improbable, due to selkies and Bastian Dennel taking priority.

Berstru Tales series

What is it? A classic epic fantasy series and the longest-running series I've worked on (either in the number of books written or in how long I've worked on it.

Status: Needs to be rewritten from the ground up, but the bones are good. There's a particular character who's getting a whole new arc, and I'm really excited to write it . . . when I have time.

Awaiting Delivery

These are the stories that are on their way, but haven't quite arrived yet to the point where I can write them: ideas I'm toying with but haven't even started to draft because they're still too nebulous.

Additional Bastian Dennel, PI novels

What is it? Exactly what the heading said.

Status: I am having lots of thoughts about Book Probably-5 (Jack and the Beanstalk) and have figured out 90% of the setup and 60% of the plot. I don't outline books before I'm ready to write them, but I may have to start making exceptions for BDPI books because I'm genuinely getting really excited for this one and have no outlet for it. I'm also excited for Book 6 (Little Mermaid + a non-fairytale classic novel), and I may have to outline that one too so I can properly organize all the ideas I have for it.That said, outlining is part of how I usually work up to starting a story, so . . . we'll see how that goes, if I decide to do it.

Daughters of Atirse stories

What is it? At least three other stories in the same series as Song of the Selkies. Specific stories planned: The Goose Girl crossed with Puss in Boots (a prequel), something in the Beauty and the Beast Family (a sequel), and my take on Tam Lin crossed with a couple other fairy tales (another prequel).

Status: I want to write all of these so much and I haven't even published Book 1 yet, y'all. It's a struggle.

Novellas from the world of Blood in the Snow

What are they? Currently, three ideas for spinoffs, most of which are also fairy tale retellings: one Puss in Boots (no, really), one Orpheus and Eurydice (probably crossed with a similar Japanese myth, Izanagi and Izanami), and one that's not currently a fairy tale retelling but would be about Gan and Azuma before they were animal-keepers at the emperor's palace (inspired the summer I spent watching a lot of Hogan's Heroes).

Status: Won't be written until after I edit Blood in the Earth.

Unnamed Fantasy Murder Mystery

What is it? Exactly what the headline says. A prominent noble is murdered; his adoptive daughter is poised to inherit his lands and position — but some are saying her hand was behind his death.

Status: Still just an idea, but it's an idea with a really good soundtrack. Still not going to be tackled until after Blood in the Earth. May end up being set in the same world as Daughters of Atirse, though not in the same series.

What projects are on your desk right now, and how are they going for you? How far in advance of writing a book do you outline it? (And have you had any success with outlining far in advance?) Tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!


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