Today, right before lunch, I finished hand-writing the complete first draft of my second novel, tentatively titled ‘To Dwell in Dreams’. This is the second installment of my planned ‘Once Upon a Reality’ series, which follows the trials and tribulations of Jolee’s older sister, Ashlyn, as she comes for a visit and ends up staying in order to deal with some of the more horrific memories of her past. This second story is based off of the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ fairy-tale, drawing much more from earlier versions of the story than from the Disney production, unlike with ‘Till the Last Petal Falls. I’ve been posting small progress reports every once in awhile on my website, where I will continue to update each and every time I make any more progress in the finishing and polishing process.
So what’s next, you ask? Currently, I have been having a group of writers feedback the story chapter-by-chapter. Currently, they are on Chapter Sixteen, collectively. I’ve been getting really helpful feedback regarding the pacing of the book and how each chunk of the story makes the reader feel, how some parts of the book as its been initially written don’t scan right, and where there could be a little bit more explanation. While I wait for that in-depth, step-by-step feedback to be completed, I will be sending out the full first-draft manuscript to at least four different readers. I will do this in order, so that each subsequent reader knows what issues have already been addressed- and either agree with the issue or present another way in which the issue can be resolved, or an argument to keep the manuscript as is in certain points. After that, I’ll factor in all of the feedback and edits and make necessary changes- after which I will have a ‘final’ edit run for typos and whatnot before sending this manuscript off to publishers.
To keep my mind busy while I’m waiting for my readers to go through the manuscript, I will also be working on my Honors thesis (Metaphorical Theology and its implications for how the Catholic Church should teach theology to the laity). That way, I won’t be encouraged from the inside to be too hasty with the edits, and give my mind enough space to be able to look at the manuscript critically when I pick it back up again for my editing after all of the feedback has been collected. All of this should be completed, or at least be very near completion, by the end of the summer (at which point I will begin extensive planning of the third novel, which will tackle the story of a female autistic going through puberty, following the story arc of Snow White).
I’m beginning to learn that one of the most important thing as a new writer is to keep busy. Pushing on with the writing of my manuscripts (and sometimes, the compiling of my poetry manuscripts when I just can’t manage to write another sentence of fiction) keeps me from falling into ‘writer’s despair’- that moment in every writer’s career when they take a look at their finished product and panic- ‘Oh, no! That was horrid! Look at all these mistakes that I can find!’ I’ve found that it’s much more productive to see those mistakes, acknowledge them, and then attempt to incorporate them into the next project, rather than obsess what can’t be changed (such as the many typos in the current paperback edition of ‘Till the Last Petal Falls). That way, instead of breaking myself down, I can make myself into the writer that I would hope to be someday- both for myself, and for my readers. I’m hoping that I can make this second installment an even more gripping and touching read, and I continue on with this series, and I thank those of you who are with me now and will continue with me into the future. I look forward to showing this new work to you all! Wish me luck!