Wednesday 30 November 2016

I Wrote A Book // What Comes Next? // A Big Ole Writing Update

1st August 2016: I started Stay in the City, the sequel to the high fantasy novel I finished in June.

30th November 2016: I finished it.

Image result for excited sherlock gif

So, what even is this novel?

In the land of Ivaria, teenagers are Selected for their special talents and go to complete their education in the court of the Queen. Corrie, our narrator, is an introverted writer who generally prefers books to people. When she is Selected she thinks it's a new sparkly life in the sparkly capital city. As the first book begins, it is summer, and everything is exciting and happy and gleaming. But events, as events will, take a turn for the worse, and soon there is snow and blood and darkness and war and revolution and magic. Trees kill people. Secrets fester. An awkward introverted romance wends its awkward introverted way. We drink enough tea to drown a small country. By this point -- the end of book 2 -- everybody is in love, though mostly with the wrong people. War! Stabbing! Sentient forests! Do you drink tea a lot of tea, read a lot of books, and have a habit for wading straight into danger? You'll fit right into these novels.

I wasn't actually participating in NaNoWriMo (because a) I started the book in August, b) I handwrite and c) NaNo is not my style, I don't think) but it is the 30th of November. So I kinda feel like I won NaNo.

And what else?

I've had a rather strange afternoon. I moped about like an untied balloon. I tried to draw and paint and listen to Les Mis -- normally a definite cure for any sort of weird feelings -- but it didn't work. In the few hours after finishing the novel, was I walking on an elated cloud of sunshine? Honestly, no.

But I am happy! And proud! And excited! And very grateful to my Heavenly Father, for helping me to get to this point. It's just ... here's the thing. I really really hate the limbo between drafts of novels. I am not a furious NaNo-er. I'm not a write-a-book-in-a-month-or-maybe-even-a-week-and-then-breathe-a-sigh-of-relief-until-next-tine. I am someone who took four months to write this novel -- that's been a little less than 1k per day, on average -- and that's what I like. I do not like not writing a book. You know True Love Waits by Radiohead? I'm not living, I'm just killing time. That's how I feel when I'm not writing a book!

Am I creatively exhausted? Weirdly, no. These feelings of limbo I'm talking about. I did experience them in between drafts of TCATT (the first book), but I was also -- at least in the first few days -- like, “yikes, I need a break!" Now? Not so much.

After a few hours, though, the blues are wearing off (probably also because I ate an amazing dinner of peppers stuffed with couscous, tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon and cheese. Food really does make everything better and don't listen to anyone who says it doesn't). I am happy! I am excited! I am full of love for my babies (despite what I've put them through this book. Sorry guys. It's only going to get worse).

me @ them/this book
Now we draw to a question.

What Comes Next? 
(You've been freed, do you know how hard it is to lead? You're on your own! “Awesome! Wow!" Do you have a clue what happens now?)

“Well, redrafting, obviously, Emily!"

Actually, no.

Good question, Ross, let me explain.
Honestly, my book is perfect, so it doesn't need to be redrafted.* Well ... maybe not. Let us dip into my life schedule for the next few months. “Gee, Emily, sounds fun." Yeah, I know, what can I say?
*That was a joke, to clarify. Such a joke. I mean, a joke. If you read this first draft -- which no one ever will, obviously, except me, when I cry painfully over how bad it is -- you would know how much of a joke that was.

In January I am moving to Kenya.

Image result for i didn't see that coming gif
Kidding. You already knew. But we can at least pretend I kept some of the element of surprise.
I will be living in Kenya until May. (Doing school and church work, if you didn't know.) That's over four months. And here's the nub and gist of the matter: I will not have consistent electricity. 

Now, I handwrite, and I'm sure that when I second draft, I shall rewrite/add many, many, many scenes (because, structure? What the heck is structure? I know already that the book is seething with plot holes and saggy bits. I just, uh, don't know what they are). But I will be working from the typed* first draft. Which means I need my laptop. And I don't really want to rely on it when I'm in Kenya.
*Nearly typed. I'm getting there. If you're interested, I've got 81 284 words typed, and just over ten chapters to go.

There are Various Reasons for this. We won't have many plug sockets in the house. No internet. Sometimes we might have power cuts. My laptop is temperamental to say the least. What if it crashes? Will I able to get it fixed cheaply in Nairobi? I don't know. Also, I won't have masses of space to take stuff, and I do need clothes and other life necessities (boring, I know), and four months' supply of books. Will I even have space for a laptop?

“So, are you just not going to write a novel while you're in Kenya?"

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As if. I would die. May I never go four months (nearly six months, starting from now) without writing a novel. So, what then?

I'm going to write LesMisBook.

This post is already ridiculously long, so if you're saying “LesMisBook, what's LesMisBook?", you're going to have to wait. But I can say it is a contemporary. So I will be taking a break from fantasy. And maybe that will be good for me?

It's a tough one. I have very mixed feelings. Because on the one hand, I love the LesMisBook concept/characters/high presence of Nutella sandwiches, and I can't wait to write it! But on the other, the thought of leaving Stay in the City in its lonely first draft state -- the thought of leaving Ivaria, leaving my babies -- fills me with torturous horror. And I know that once I start LesMisBook I'll have a whale of a time, and end up being sorry to leave it, but ... still. How do I write a book that's not part of the TCATT series?? I never have! I don't know how!

And that probably accounts for my finishing blues. The knowledge that I'm leaving this world and won't be back until May. Which is ages away!

And that was slightly rambling and mildly angsty dip into my writer's brain, and if you read this far, I salute you. Thank you. But you must tell me: did you finish NaNo?? YOU ARE AMAZING. We can pretend I did, too (rather than just coincidentally finishing a novel on November 30th) and celebrate together! (I'm eating Bitsa Wispa, that's my celebration. What is your celebratory food?)

With you, with Stay in the City ... ~loud sobbing~
But I shall return -- because, in case you missed it, I finished my book, so I now actually have time for things. Life updates! Starting Sparks updates! Tags! Book reviews! A short story! My Kenya TBR pile! Maybe even a vlog! The excitement is just too much, isn't it? Until then, friends, goodnight.



  1. So somehow I missed that you were going to Kenya...0_0 WOW THAT IS SO AWESOME. And I would literally die without my laptop (no honestly I think I would...I am rubbish) but I think it's awesome that you're still going to keep writing and working on things without it!
    And the biggest of congrats for finishing a novel!!! I'm so happy for you!! My congratulatory food is just generally chocolate. Or cake. Chocolate cake preferably.😂 *piles congratulatory cake on your head*

    1. Yes I am! Thanks :D

      HA, THANK YOU.

      Thank you! Chocolate. Yes indeed. ~sifts cake out of hair~ Thanks for visiting, Cait!


  2. "Trees kill people. Secrets fester. An awkward introverted romance wends its awkward introverted way. We drink enough tea to drown a small country." That's an awesome summary. It sounds suspiciously like my life, though...the tree and tea part, that is.

    Congratulations on finishing your novel! That's always exciting!
    I'll be looking forward to reading some more LesMisBook. I miss those snippets.

    1. Hahaha glad you enjoyed! But do trees kill people where you live?? Because that's a little worrying ...

      Thanks! Your encouragement about LMB is so lovely, Blue, thank you <3

    2. ...Well, no human has actually been killed on the property- despite the trees' efforts. But the black locusts seem to have an especially strong hostility, and we've had some fierce battles.

    3. Despite the trees' efforts?? How hard are they trying?? And locusts?? I see my knowledge of Canada is extremely poor. I didn't know there were locusts!

    4. I'm sorry, I should have clarified. Black locust is a type of tree- an tough, fast-growing invasive tree with thorns. A bitter enemy.

    5. Ha, right, OK! That makes a lot more sense. I was very surprised to hear of locusts-the-insects in Canada! XD But I am sorry to hear about your bitter enmity.

  3. I love your book summary! And congratulations on finishing it :)

  4. Umm yeah, you TOTALLY won NaNo I think! Really, congrats!! I can understand the mixture of feelings associated considering your circumstances, but hopefully taking a break from the story for a few months will give the drafting a sort of new set of eyes once you come back! Both the high fantasy and the LesMisBook sound super interesting btw.

    1. Thanks, Aylee! That's what I'm hoping :D

  5. CONGRATS ON NANOWRIMO! Yeah, the internet in Africa isn't so good. But at least it forces you to do other things like... go outside! bahaha I'm joking. Go outside, psh, I have books to read!

    I hope you have a blessed time in Kenya. God speed!

  6. Congrats on finishing! I've never actually finished anything over 3,000 words and change (and technically that was after years of edits on a story originally 1,500ish words).

    1. Thanks, Patrick! But you should totally have a go at a novel! Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the Muse shows up, too. That's what Isabel Allende said. She is right!

  7. Your book sounds SO good, Emily! And WOW you wrote that whole thing FAST xD. *applauds you* And YES you should do a vlog - that would be so cool!

    ~ Savannah

    1. Thanks, Savannah! I think I'm going to, stay tuned!

  8. Congrats! That summary sounds great - I'd say you won NaNo!

  9. "By this point -- the end of book 2 -- everybody is in love, though mostly with the wrong people." Haha, still don't know why Corrie and Freddie aren't together by the end of book 1. I have issues. Excuse me for a moment while I go scream at something.

    I think it's a really good idea for you to write your Les Mis book. I've switched genres a couple of times and it's great to get out and see the world (or whatever, that was a stupid metaphor but you get what I mean). Plus I love the sound of your Les Mis book, despite the fact that I have no clue what's going on with Les Mis beyond the fact of Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. I know, I know. I'm a horrible human being but we'll all survive. (I've also been to Victor Hugo's house, so there's that.) I'M SO EXCITED FOR KENYA FOR YOU JUST ASDFGHLK;!!!

    1. BECAUSE THEY'RE BROTHER AND SISTER?? (Not by blood, that would be a plot twist, lol!) Buuut I thiiiink SitC will change your mind?? I HOPE.

      Hahaha, I will see the world writing-wise while I'm seeing the real world of Kenya! XD You should 100% watch the film again / for the first time if you've not seen it, see it onstage if you can, and read it. I mean no big deal it's only the BEST THING EVER. But Victor Hugo's house??? THAT'S AMAZING! In Paris? Or on Jersey??

      THANK YOU!!! <333

  10. *throws confetti, brings huge cake, releases balloons*

    Sorry, I couldn't afford fireworks too. *cough*

    SO CONGRATS! I mean, I know that you've finished. Because you told me a while ago and this post is about two weeks old. . . Oops. But any reason to celebrate, yeah? :)

    I guess it would be weird since you've always worked in the TCATT world to do something else novel length. It's like uncharted territory. I'm having a hard time imagining what it's going to be like after the Oddball Trilogy. I mean, I have one or twoish side projects. But my next BIG project? Man, I don't know. I mean I have ideas but it's going to be so weird! (That was not an intentional pun to the weird idea, but let's pretend it was, because then it's funny.)

    Still. I'm excited about THE LESMISBOOK! Huzzah!

    I do rather like that you mentioned that tea-lovers will like TCATT in the blurb thing. Yes. Yes they will. :D

    That first Sherlock gif though ALKDFAE;FLJWOFDJ! I love that part so much. I keep looking at it. He's so excited!

    1. DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. It's December, we're all poor, the confetti, balloons and huge cake are beautiful! XD XD

      Any reason! ~eats huge cake~

      It really is! Though I was plotting LMB this eve and GETTING EXCIIIIITED!!!!! And I'm LOVING the unintentional weird idea pun! XD Is one of your projects not tugging at your sleeve in particular asking to be written? What are the possible options? The weird idea ... Eelistle? What about that Oyster Boy?

      SO AM I?!!??

      Ha, I hope so! XD

      ME TOO! It's such an amazing gif <3 :3 :3

  11. That is so cool that your doing that. I know you can write your book while your there too, You've got this.

  12. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am in awe. I mean, a book drafted in four months. Specifically, Stay in the City drafted in four months. Even more specifically, Stay in the City drafted BY HAND in four months. ALSKFJASLKFJASLJ. Finishing a book is an incredible feeling, but that limbo is not so fun. (I know this is all old news and you're well past this stage already, but we'll pretend I'm talking to the past Emily right now. *nods*)


    On another note, LesMisBook actually officially being written is an exciting thing. :)

    1. THANKS! The limbo is horrifying. The limbo between finishing LesMisBook and restarting TCATT was seven weeks, which is the longest limbo I've ever had. IT WAS AWFUL.

      AHAHHAHAHAHA well you're going to have to wait and see, my friend! Hopefully not too long. I hope to finish TCATT by the end of June, and then get SitC to you defs within 2017, though obviously it's hard to plan these things.

    2. Gah, almost two months!

      *cheers* I can't wait to see what happens to Corrie and the crew (and specifically Corem...!). I have such fond memories of reading TCATT. <3

    3. It was horrific!

      I'm sooo glad! Finishing TCATT by the end of June is unfortunately not going to happen, but it will be early July, so I'll start work on SitC either mid July or early August! I CAN'T WAIT!

    4. Let's just say that after making humongous goals for June and failing to reach most of them, I am well acquainted with "it's unfortunately not going to happen." But there is hope for July for both of us! :D


Thanks for commenting! :)