At the start of July, I decided I’ve been doing enough reading and studying: it was time to start writing for real. I’ve been following a modified version of the schedule in The 90-Day Novel, where you spend the first four weeks developing characters, worldbuilding and creating a loose structure. I’ve also been using suggestions from Story Genius (and making myself all depressed by coming up with my main character’s misbelief and how it was instilled), as well as tools I’ve been developing myself. Two weeks in, I’m really excited about where this is going!
Writing is full of paradoxes. You won’t actually know what you were writing about until you’ve written it. You should write what you know but also be able to write about what you’ve never experienced. You’ll write better when you give yourself permission to write badly. The biggest paradox is that you should write what you want to read, as if no one else was ever going to see it… but if you ever want an audience, you need to be able to slot your story into an established genre and subgenre. I had a good idea for an urban fantasy book, but most of the urban fantasy books I read didn’t spark that feeling of “I wish I had written this,” and I realized I’d be better off starting with a high fantasy series than getting boxed into a genre that didn’t thrill me.
To figure out exactly what I wanted to write, I made a list of the books I most loved (or wanted to love) from the 150+ books I’ve read since the beginning of the year, such as Uprooted, The Night Circus and Throne of Glass, then added some of the books I already loved, such as The Lies of Locke Lamora, the Harry Potter series and the Discworld books. I went to BookBub and looked up how the books and authors were classified, wrote down the key words then used them to create a description of my ideal book:
Teen/YA/NA epic fantasy in an enchanting but dangerous historical/medieval setting influenced by fairy tales and mythology, with a tone that’s dramatic, enchanting and humorous in a sardonic, slightly dark way. Primarily action/adventure with female protagonists, with a focus on character relationships and emotions, particularly having to do with friendship, social issues, power struggles and romance.
If that sounds good to you, watch this space.