Welcome back for the February edition of the Reverian Times! Last we left off, we had a very wordy author going on and on and on about her approach to writing a novel, a status update on her current WIP, and some other shenanigans to delight and entertain. Not to worry! This month’s edition will be no less delightful and mercifully less long-winded.
What can you expect to find in this month’s newsletter? Why I am so glad you asked. I’m going to continue the tale of my personal approach to writing a novel, provide a WIP status update, as well as generate some hype by covering some of the fun things to come. And, for my kind and generous patrons, you’ll be able to read this month’s themed Thought Bubble, starring the characters you voted for! <3
Which reminds me, this is one of two versions of this newsletter. My patrons get their very own special edition with a couple of extra goodies that aren’t available over here on ye olde website. If it sounds like something you want to get in on, you can click here, or click on the lovely white Patreon icon at the top of the page.
Let’s get right to it, shall we?
Last month I walked you through the steps I took when I started writing my current novel-in-progress. (Click here if you’d like a refresher.) It all began with a character idea— the spark that became a raging fire. The story grew so big that I simply couldn’t keep it all locked up inside my head anymore. One thing led to another, and I began my quest for knowledge.
“How do I write a book?” I asked Google.
“Have you heard of the Snowflake Method?” it replied.
Okay, it didn’t actually reply. That would be creepy. But my hours and hours of research through it led me to the Snowflake Method, which I really jived with. And that led me to where I left off last month— Outling. And having said that, it alone was not my next step.
“You lied to us, Dee?!”
Not intentionally, I swear! See, something else I covered last month in my Status Report was that I initially wrote this book in a different world— a world that’s owned by someone else, no less. That’s not a thing I can publish! But, as I explained in greater detail, it was the easiest way for me to get my thoughts out of my head and on paper at the time. I’ve since finished crafting the world the story was meant to take place and am nearly done rewriting my manuscript within it. My how it has GROWN!
So with that in mind, when you reach the outlining phase, it helps to have a good understanding of the world your story is taking place in. Bear in mind, most of that information won’t make it into your story, but, for me, I needed to know it as well as I know my own home. You, my dear author, are the sole keeper of the world’s secrets. Neither your readers nor characters will know as much as you do, and that’s perfect. Understanding your world inside and out will help you write a believable story. In my case, I also tried to create enough mysteries that, if I’m lucky, I can one day go forth and write more stories within this world to explore them. Every writer is different. Some prefer to pants it and do their worldbuilding as they write their story. It’s the method that truly works for them, and that’s great! Me personally, though? I can’t do that.
So sit your butt down and write an outline. This task might feel overwhelming at first but remember: you’ve already written the basic outline via your Snowflake. For some writers, this is enough. The thought of writing an outline in addition to their Snowflake is unnecessary and repetitive. But me? I need this stuff hammered into my head. Bulleted lists are significantly easier for me to reference than chunks of text, so I do exactly that. My bulleted outlines map the entirety of a story in sequential order, start to finish, and it helps me figure out some of the stuff in between key scenes. (i.e., developing character relationships naturally through minor arcs, events, or interactions, setting up hints of things to come or misdirection, and stuff like that)
The most important thing to note, though, is that none of what you’ve done so far is set in stone— not even your outline. The moment you start writing the novel for realsies, you’ll probably find that it starts to take on a life of its own. You’re going to have new ideas as you go, including new characters. Want to know a secret? My main antagonist wrote herself into existence. Yep, she was never meant to be the big bad of this tale. I’m glad she is because she is far more interesting than my original villain. But she’s a good example of what I’m talking about right there— the living breathing entity that is a story will start to guide you as you write it. You, the author, began writing with a plan, but the act of writing will show you the best way to tell your tale.
Use your outline as a guide, but stay open to new directions. With the outline beside you, you will always find your way back to your main plot, and the story itself could very likely be stronger for the deviation. And if it’s not, you can simply cut that part out and return to your original plan.
And that’ll be where I leave off for this issue. Join me next time for Part 3, the thrilling(?) conclusion to my approach to writing a novel!
A decent number of you lovely, lovely souls have been actively rooting me on and supporting me for some time now, anxious to get a peek at the story I’ve been writing. You know who you are, and I want you to know that you inspire the ever-living stuffing out of me! It’s tough being a new author with this big idea and amazing characters and not being able to gab about them for hours. (To say nothing of the frequent soul-crushing moments of self-doubt.) I love this story fiercely, and every fiber of my being wants to share this story with the world. If I love it, someone else out there is going to too, and I want to talk about it with them. I want to gush about chapter, I dunno, 19, or character So-and-So! I’m a fan, first and foremost. But the publishing world is weird, and for me to have a shot at traditional publishing, I must remain tight-lipped. Mind you, I’m still not entirely beholden to the traditional publishing route at this point, but I’m staying quiet anyway just to be safe.
With that said, I regularly commission art of my characters because I love them to little pieces. Through the magic of social media, this art has been seen by hundreds of people. Some of them liked the art they drew or saw so much that they’d ask to know more about the characters.
“Keep an eye out for my future book,” I said. “It’ll tell you everything you want to know about them.”
It melts my heart every time someone new creates a bond to them from art alone. And the fact that some of you are here because of that is so wild! You are the damn best, and I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know! Thank you for keeping me driven. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not the only person who finds these characters interesting. But most of all, thank you for believing in me and for your constant encouragement! <3
Now I’m all mushy, guys. *sniffles* Here’s the status report:
Current Word Count: 161,867
Current Chapter: 53 Current Page #: 626 Original Chapters Remaining: 2
Compared to Last Month
Word Count: 114.5K Chapter: 32 Page #: 441 Original Chapters Remaining: 8
Snowflake completed. Outline begun.
Book 3 Loosely Snowflaked. (Keeping it loose as experience has shown that events from previous books may change some of the original plans.)
What’s Dee got in store for you this time? Well, let me tell you!
It’s Totally Our Own Adventure! Coming soon, I’d like to add a new section called “It’s Totally Our Own Adventure!” Each edition will host a short 1-3 line story snippet that will require the readers to make a decision at the end. These choices will be listed here on the website for all to see and cast their vote! I love community-driven works, so I suspect this will be good fun. And Patrons will get to vote twice— once on the website, and again in a separate patron-only poll.
Streaming! I’m planning to make this a more regular thing, I promise! Those of you that follow me on Twitter no doubt saw that I ran into some technical difficulties, but those issues have since been resolved. And I’m closer to finishing my rewrite than I’ve ever been, so you can expect to see more streaming content from me very soon! You can find me at @roguew01f84 on Twitch, or watch the reruns on my YouTube channel.
For Patreon Beta-Tier Rewards! Oh-ho man, guys, it’s that time again. Chapter 3 of your Path Tales will be coming at you live at the end of March. If you haven’t already given me your responses from last time, please do so asap so I can write your customized story. As always, if you prefer to bow out for any reason, please just let me know.
Short Story, Coming Soon! I wanted to flex my writer’s muscles a bit, stepping outside of my default third-person point of view comfort zone to the first person, and I’m actually quite taken with the result! I wrote a brand new standalone short story about a bard that’s cursed with a siren’s voice and forced to fight a battle she has no stake in. However, it’s through this adversity that she finds a new purpose— a reason to believe she could have love again for the first time in a long, long time.
Currently, there are no Q’s to A, but I’m going to keep this section open because I very much enjoy interacting with all of you!
To submit a question via my website, please leave your question in the comments below this post or feel free to use the form on my About page.
To submit a question via Patreon, feel free to drop it in the comments below this post or send me a Message.