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Thursday, July 8, 2021

Writing Update: Enid Release Date, Cover Reveal, and More

It's been a hot minute since my last post, that's because I've been hard at work writing Enid, basically like this:

I never gave a "lost progress" update on that (I only really do that for blog posts), but several months ago I was about 200 pages into the first draft of the story when the cruel hands of fate destroyed it. And by the "cruel hands of fate," I really mean my hard drive, which royally shat itself and died. You might say, "But Dylan, shouldn't you have uploaded the story to the cloud so that this wouldn't happen?" and to that I say, I was syncing it to Microsoft OneDrive, so it was supposed to be in the OneDrive cloud and not only stored on my computer, but the keyword there is "supposed to." It did not. For whatever God-forsaken reason, every single document on my computer EXCEPT for the manuscript was uploaded to the cloud. But hey, at least I got to save my old resume from like, 2017, who cares that I lost over 50,000 - 60,000 words of progress? It's a fair trade.

That being said, the rewrite is going well. A thorough outline has been done (well, it's like 95% done) and even though I'm going off of memory which ensures that this version will be different from the original 200 pages I had, I think it's actually better than the original was. But it's hard to tell because I remember really liking the original, so this could easily just be my way of coping.

Either way, I'm like 30,000 words deep into the rewrite, and it's quite exciting.

A little about the book itself; the synopsis will (of course) be readable on the back of the cover, which I'll be attaching below, but I wanted to talk a bit about what the synopsis doesn't tell you. For starters, I'm not entirely sure what genre I want to label it as. My natural instinct is to just call it YA and be done with it, but that's not really accurate. While I think teenagers would be the largest audience for the book, the general rule is that the age of your protagonist is the age that the book will be geared towards. So if your protagonist is a 16-year-old high school student, guess who the book is for?

My protagonist is 20, so I probably shouldn't be trying to lump it in with stories about teenagers.

Obviously people of all ages read YA, but the other important factor is that YA novels are coming-of-age stories, and mine definitely is not. But, then again, a lot of "YA" Dystopian novels began to lose sight of the whole "coming of age" thing and went straight to "Our 15-year-old female protagonist is going to effortlessly overthrow this government because reasons," so maybe the trend of YA beginning to be more about tone and less about whether or not it's a coming of age story gives me a pass for calling my book YA Fantasy.

I wish the NA genre became a thing. No, not Not Applicable, New Adult--publishers tried making it a thing for a while, but it never took off and no one takes it seriously anymore, now it's just a meme. Which is a shame, because there are some scenarios where it does make sense. My story has many of the calling cards of YA but has an older more adult protagonist and more heavy-handed down-to-earth realism, and while it's not a coming of age story it definitely has tonal appeal to younger readers and detail-oriented appeal to older readers in their 20s or so.

But New Adult will never be a thing, so I guess that just makes it adult. I also thought about lumping it into Literary Fiction, because the whole story is a poetic allegory, and it's chalked full of symbolism and philosophy and all of that other pretentious boring shit that most people don't like, which would make it perfect for the LF label, but generally Literary Fiction is super dry and boring as shit while my story is not, and it does have a lot of superficial similarities with YA even if its deeper themes are more literary-like (for all intents and purposes "literary-like" can probably just be replaced with "pretentious") so some readers might feel betrayed by that expectation.

I'll probably just roll with it being Fantasy genre fiction and call it a day.

Without further ado or continued rambling, here's the cover in all of its glory.

I have to hand it to Miblart for doing an absolutely gorgeous job, I'm in love with this cover.

As for the release date I mentioned, we're looking at April 2nd, 2023. Why this day? It will take me less than a year to finish writing the book (probably about 6-8 months at my current rate) but it will probably take at least a solid year of revisions to make it perfect. I'm not going to half-ass this book, it's my new baby, it gets the best of everything I can give it. I have a pretty big outline of each draft, and basically it's going to go through six or more drafts, as opposed to the usual three-draft system you sometimes see being the norm. And, of course, there will be beta readers, followed by revision, followed by alpha readers, followed by revision, followed by gamma readers, followed by more revision, followed by professional editing services, etc. Also because, if possible, I'd love for the book to hit shelves before summer for summer sales. People think that Christmas is when most books sell, and while that is a good time to release a book too (around November), it's actually only the 3rd best time. Believe it or not, January sells a shit-ton of books, more than Christmas in December. Why? Because of gift cards. All the people who got Barnes and Noble gift cards or Amazon gift cards that they want to buy books with are going to be cashing them in usually a week or two after Christmas. Yet, even so, summer remains the season with the most readers; but also because I want to release in early April, but April 1st doesn't cut it because then it's basically like saying my book is a joke, and even if it's true I can't have that, can I?

Not to mention, it's on a Sunday, which I like--it's still the weekend, but I have all day Saturday to prepare things. So, April 2nd it is.

Although, some of you may be thinking: what about Desolation's Reach? Wasn't that what my WIP was called? Here's what's going on with that; basically, Desolation's Reach is a 900-page monster of a manuscript (it's like 250,000 words right now and that's just the bare-boned first draft, the final draft will probably be over 300k) and a while back in late 2019 I did a sneak peek post of it. But I decided to set it aside for now and publish Enid first. You see, Desolation's Reach is so massive and unkempt that it would take me thousands of years to sort through all the plot holes, geography problems, continuity errors, and basic plot structure alone, let alone some of the more complicated issues like the flow of time in proportion to the size of the world being traveled.

So, I'd like to come back to it in a year or two after Enid is completed with fresh eyes after forgetting most of the story that way I can analyze it objectively from an outsider perspective. It's already working because so much time passed between me writing the start of the story and the end of the story that when I went back and read the first few chapters, I didn't recognize any of it. It was all new and foreign to me as if I didn't write it myself, purely because so much time passed since writing it that I forgot 95% of it.

Enid is going to be a "shorter" book (take that with a grain of salt) but not a short book, probably around 140k words. Definitely a somewhat long story, but it's more straight-forward than Desolation's Reach. DS is a massive epic fantasy with dozens of important characters and tons of locations, while in Enid there's only a few characters, and the world is smaller and more intimate. Because of its more straight-forward nature, I should have an easier time (not "easy," still really tough, but at least doable) revising and fixing the story to get it in the direction it needs to go.

That's the beautiful thing about writing--if you want to publish, you can publish in any order you want. I have a few stories I want to write after Enid that have to come first, but one idea I've been entertaining is going back, taking A Spurious Hanging off of Amazon (essentially unpublishing it) which would make Enid my new "debut" novel, then re-writing it and publishing it again. Because, frankly, I think I could do better. So that would make my third book Enid my first novel, my second novel Desolation's Reach would still be my second even though I wrote it long before Enid, and that would make A Spurious Hanging like my 4th or 5th even though it was my first. Weird, right?

Anyhoo, that's not all--back in May, I had the pleasure of joining Adam on the Fantastic Earth podcast, a new series dedicated to long discussions about what makes stories and other worlds great. For some reason, I remembered to post that everywhere EXCEPT here, so I'm rectifying that now for anyone who wants to give the podcast a listen. Throughout the discussion we bounce around from topic to topic, talking about fantasy, world building, verisimilitude, story-telling in cinema versus books and video games, and much, much more. It was a total blast, and we covered a lot of interesting topics and discussed different world building philosophies from several people, hopefully you'll find it all very charming and informative, I'm sure.

Worldbuilding Podcast with Adam

I'm not sure what my next essay will be about (I'm thinking POV or something of the sort) but we'll see.

Mark your calendars for April 2nd, 2023 and look forward to the release date!

And as always,

may all your cups of tea be your cup of tea,

and I'll see you in the next post.

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