A “Quick” Backstory For My Novel, Part 4.

This is the story of how my YA fantasy novel project started! If you’re new to the backstory, please check out part 1part 2, and part 3.

January to March 2022: This was a period of rapid progress in my novel. I was working on several pages at once: the manuscript itself, a similar document full of running notes, and a Notion page with the following subpages:

  • Series Wiki, where I put all my worldbuilding elements as subpages
  • Plotting Page, where I jotted down plot threads and made ‘scene cards’ (basically pages for each scene, that you can re-order as if they were physical index cards)
  • Plans and Processes page, where I put all my to-dos and Kanban boards
  • Inspirations and Research, where I listed books and webpages I wanted to read, and took notes on them as I read them
  • Practice Experiments, where I tried writing sample scenes and dialog, brainstormed titles, and worked on the prose.
  • Drafting Notes, which tracked the status of each scene (whether it had been outlined, drafted, polished, etc.) in a table.
  • Book budget, which tracked what I’d spent on the project already, like on editors.

I started with just a few of these pages, and added more as I needed them for all the ideas I was having. It was quite a thrill, this stage of the project. I had all the pages open on different tabs, and kept jumping between them as the ideas flowed! I could barely type fast enough to keep up.

Around mid-February, I felt ready to draft Act I in detail. I started going to writing sprints with Sarra Cannon’s writing community, and plodding away at the manuscript, using the Notion pages only for reference.

I was excited about how Act I was shaping up, but soon I got stuck again. I slowed down and let my mind wander, to let the ideas bubble up again.

Soon, I started to get some glimmers of answers, so I wrote a lot of scenes in my note-taking apps on my phone and computer, and as voice memos, until I finally felt confident in the story. In late March or so, I had checked every scene off the list.

April to July 2022: By this point, I’d been working frenetically on the novel for a while, and needed to make time for other pursuits, like blogging, sustainability research, and general life-maintenance. So I slowed down on the novel and set myself a more manageable (I thought) goal of organizing all the writing I’d done on Acts II and III.

I was able to do about half of what I had planned, so some of the scenes still need pasting into the manuscript.

And this is when I started telling this backstory! I wanted to share my novel writing progress with this blog’s readers. To do that, I first needed to catch you up to the present day.

Which I have – now!

Looking ahead

Now, it’s August, and my goal is to paste in the stragglers and start polishing up the scenes. I’ve also been drawing some of the scenes to help me visualize them. (It’s a lot easier for me to get into the atmosphere if I do!)

So I hope to share progress updates and some of the drawings (if they don’t give too much away) along the way.

(Oh, and if you’re wondering, I don’t have a title yet. That’s something I find difficult in general.)

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