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My writing plans

How many novels am I working on?

I try to focus on about three at a time mostly, the same three, but I have more on the go than I admit.

Nobody will believe me if I said I have approximately one hundred and fifty unfinished works and about forty works stewing because I am pernickety and a perfectionist that just can’t seem to decide on the plot or another version of it.

It has been some months since I last said this, that when I whine about not finishing the project in time for my deadline, it is that one specific novel I am on about – project AD.

When I say I haven’t written anything I often mean to say towards the main project specifically – because in all honesty, even on my hardest of days, I am still writing something; be it poetry, songs, short stories, snippets of ideas or other novels, you can bet your bottom dollar I am still producing roughly three thousand words a day elsewhere.  But for me, it’s the main project that counts.

Along with my approximate 3k words on other works and approximately 3k words toward my main project on a good day, I am also in working mode whenever I watch YouTube, socialise on twitter and read books – which means all in all I work longer than anyone should!

There isn’t a time in my day where I am not working, unless of course I am eating, because I usually use meal times as a way to socialise with my nearest and dearest and all focus is on them.

When I read a book, it’s usually educational for me in some way.  I rarely read fiction books, but that is a habit that’s slowly changing.

I was asked on twitter recently, what would I call my writing niche?  It got me thinking, because I couldn’t answer straight away without thinking about it for about ten minutes and when I thought of what it might be, I had to google it to see if it was a thing and it is; abstract fantasy.

I suppose it is abstract fantasy because a lot of my works have a lot of abstract ideas, such as anthropomorphism, breaking down the boundaries of what is stereotypical of fantasy creatures and even breaking down the boundaries of societal norms as there is a lot of gender fluidity in some of my works.

Often whenever people ask me what I mostly write I give them a long list as a reply, something akin to; I write dark fantasy, or things of a dark theme such as descent into madness survival, anthropomorphism, dystopia and a bit of steampunk and vampires.  Those are my usual go to replies – however, it says nothing really of the giants and dragons I write about and it totally bypasses the fact that it is an abstract idea not the general run of the mill fantasy everyone is cosy with.

For example, I might have dragons who dress in regency clothing having afternoon tea picnics discussing the barbarism of humanity; or beautiful faeries with butterfly wings, heavily tattooed with shaved sides of their heads in intricate patterns getting ready to wrestle a badger as a ride to go to the summer solstice party.  You get what I mean here, though lovely and fantastical it can be a little dark in the way I write things, but still not too dark for family entertainment, that’s important to me!

So I have grown comfortable in understanding I am an abstract fantasy author with mild horror thrown in here and there.

Abstract fantasy is more doable than you think – although most people would consider Douglas Adams work “Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy” as a comedy sci-fi it is often marketed as abstract fantasy. 

Terry Pratchett, Diana Wynne Jones, Clive Barker and Garth Nix are also considered abstract fantasy authors, to name but a few.

My current project AD is definitely abstract fantasy but it does have some steampunk elements to it too, so the marketing here can be difficult unless I decide which niche it’s actually going to be and personally – I think it’s going to be marketed as a YA science fiction because I think the steampunk elements are quite big, the anthropomorphism is due to genetic mutations, the animals are building a world out of the scraps of junk humans have left behind and they are building weapons to fight each new rising faction that is occurring out of the dust. 

I think this project screams Tank Girl, Mad Max and The Fly so this is why I have chosen to market it as YA Science Fiction rather than abstract fantasy, because science is quite a large theme in the series and yes, this is going to be a series of books and eventually I plan to make them into a graphic novel, but at the moment I am not confident in doing that – so they are novels right now.

I have also changed the species of a rival group, which is why I am falling behind on the project, because I had to rewrite four chapters depicting the new species which set me back about a week, I am happier with the idea that this rival clan is sheep rather than rats as I felt that rats are overdone as bad guys.

Also the main character has a disability, which I felt is often underrepresented in literature, so I am proud of that and it really makes the story, it really works well.

This story has bought back the fun in writing for me, which is something I haven’t felt since 2015, it has a lot of wacky ideas which work and I am so proud of.

But Project AD is definitely not my only project, no worries there.

This is part of a series, but it is not my only series I am working on and there are plenty of standalone novels too.

I have a vampire saga I am working, this is probably going to be my longest series of all my books and again I would market them as science fiction because of the fact that my vampires are not originally from Earth and they do space travel from time to time.

Another series I am working on has twelve defined stories and there will absolutely never be more than twelve books in this series because it would defy the plot, there is a specific reason why the number twelve is important to this series.  I have mentioned this story before as Steampunk 1 and this story will be marketed under steampunk because it’s quite rigid in that genre.  It is a lesbian romance of travel companions who explore new cultures and debunk science together.

Another is a dark fantasy about ghost children, this is a standalone book and I won’t say much else about the plot just yet.

There is another dark fantasy about a haunted teddy bear, which I’ve vaguely mentioned two years ago approximately.

There is a dragon trilogy I am working on.

A series of stories about giants in the same world, but all different characters, with their own stories, but it is a specific world; so far there are five planned, two half written.

A werewolf novel, which is a standalone – the plot isn’t exciting enough yet and needs a lot of work!

There is so much more than this, there is no need to worry about me being a one trick pony, honestly!

I can’t focus on one thing for too long it triggers my ADD really bad and I am always juggling ideas, some for years being remastered time and time again – but there is more to me than just anthropomorphic mutant warriors having gang warfare and vampires flying around in spaceships and lesbian balloon riders debunking science… much, much more!

I am also working on a series of books based on angels and demons and the bible etc., there is just so much fighting to get out of my head!

In my next post, I am going to be talking about how I structure my stories and how long my ideas can take to write on average.

Thanks for reading!

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I am exhausted

For the past few weeks it has been a mentally exhausting time for me and my whole family; Some people from my past have been trying to contact me again and I have learned recently that two relatives on my side of the family have cancer, and understanding that more distant relations are also suffering loss; along with this I have been trying to manage my sons increasing anxieties and screaming matches between him and his father amongst other things, such as the house falling apart, quite literally due to storm damage and damp.

All of it has taken its toll on my physical health and unusually I have been sleeping eleven to thirteen hours a day and still unsatisfied with the rest.  Consequently for the past five days in particular, I have not written a word towards any novel and this is going to severely affect my chosen deadline.

Paul would like me to stick to my deadline but also understands that I should not push myself to do it by the deadline, because my mental health and mental growth is more important – however, I have people waiting for my work and that gives me a sort of pressure.

Also my perfectionism drives me to the point of insanity and if I make a statement about doing something by some self-imposed deadline, I am merciless even to myself if I fail it.

What is frustrating about all of this is the mental bashing has come at a time when physically I was showing big signs of improvement because of the high protein diet and small activities I have been doing as well as giving up the caffeine. 

It is almost like bad luck is queuing up, waiting their turn.

I told Paul recently that I feel like I am cursed, or that I have somehow cursed him because he had a wonderful family and a sort of happy life before he met me and slowly his life is going the downward spiral I have.

It’s like I am an unlucky penny.

I have to say, it’s one of the many reasons I don’t like to get close to new people, because I really do think I bring them bad luck.  However, take me to a casino and you wouldn’t believe it, I have been used as a good luck trophy at those places in the past for good reason!

My grandma in particular loved me tagging along with her at bingo and casinos, because she would regularly win large prizes and a couple of exes owe big wins to me too; but in everything else though, I seem to doom people who live with me to a hard life.

I noticed it only affects people I live with if the people are happy with stagnation, so maybe it’s not me after all?  I noticed people with an ambitious drive for life etc; seem to do better around me than those who are happy as they are.  I don’t know, but it does affect my confidence somewhat.

I need people in my life who is energised by positivity and excitement on a consistent basis, that the more positive energy and drive the person they live with has, the more they have – but I noticed some people are different, some people get the energy from me for a short time, love being around me, but to live with me drains them and then consequently they drain me.

It’s a strange phenomenon.

Paul is convinced I am an anomaly, that there are very few people like me who can have consistent positive energy without falling apart eventually.

I am drained by stagnation and people who make do.

Gosh I sound bad.

Well in any case, at the moment I am drained and I am finding it hard to keep my positive outlook and that is affecting productivity.

I am beginning to think that October 21st was a bad idea, I should have kept with my instinct of the 23rd of January, but I believe I got a little cocky, thinking that being firm with everyone in my household would make people back off each other and I could be more productive.  Instead, some people have used this against me in order to become worse. 

Henry in particular openly confessed to me he doesn’t want me to be successful and potentially famous because that would mean he would become famous too and he doesn’t want that.  This is a major reason why Henry has been trying to be sick from school a lot, even becoming bulimic in the process to be sent home from school because of the vomiting factor, and so he understands whilst he is at home I cannot write because of the screaming matches between him and his father, who is home all day too.

Often I try to diffuse the screaming matches to no avail, because it just seems to make things worse, no matter how calm and collective I try to be.  The both of them are as bad as each other and so often I sit there just watching them scream at each other, because most of the time they don’t hear me anyway.

It did work, me being in the bedroom writing on my laptop for a couple of days, but Henry started to scream louder to the extent he nearly lost his voice, just because he wanted to disturb me.  He then started to sit outside the bedroom whilst I wrote, in order to play his robot wars with the loudest commentary he could muster.  This is what I am trying to work around; I have little support from Paul who seems to be falling apart at the seams in every single way right now.

It’s exhausting because it is almost constant now.

I have learned to write when they go to Tesco’s forty five minute bursts every three days, not enough.

I am trying to get a handle on my physical health so I can go to a café to write, because really, even the nosiest café in town is quieter than here and this house is getting a reputation in the street in being the mad house, because neighbours can clearly hear what the yelling is exactly about, it’s that bad!

They’ve even asked if I still live there as they noticed I am the quietest person here and they rarely hear me!

I can’t afford to sit in a café daily, but even if it’s twice a week I’d get more work done there than I would here, but I need to walk there and I need a while to get strength back into my legs.  Because I have been bedbound and housebound sick for years, it has taken me nearly three months of small exercises to be able to stand in the kitchen for fifteen minutes, whilst preparing a fruit salad for myself.  So it will be at least another three to six months before I can walk to Tesco café.

I am not putting off the deadline that long.

But it does mean I have to do unsociable habits; sleeping during the day, so I can write at night.  Waking 11am sometimes 1pm to sleep by 2am only gives me ninety minutes a day, but it’s something.  But it does depend on how exhausting that evening has been.

I am trying hard to pull Henry away from the laptop and robots in order to do something with him that won’t provoke screaming matches between his father and him, but it’s a task to get the boy doing anything else.

I am thinking about going into credit again to buy a shed/office for the garden, but honestly I can’t think about doing that until one debt is completely paid off in March.  If I am still struggling by March, I would have to consider it strongly, so I can work on my novels.

It drives me nuts not being able to write as fast as I want to, even resorting to taking hearing aids out and sitting with cotton wool in my ears, they still manage to penetrate that and I am completely deaf in one ear and 30% hearing in the other; but as I said, they scream loud enough for the street to hear the conversations.

I really don’t say it lightly.

I am knackered.

Happy reading!

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Rekindled love

I am really very excited today, so excited in fact, that I have decided to write a second post for today that has been written today!

I am reeling over the work I have done for project AD; never before have I trusted my instincts to write a story like a pantzer, project AD was definitely planned, but it’s being pantzed a lot as I am going on, I am not sticking to my normal rigid formula and its working, it’s working wonders!

I am so happy, for the first time since 2015 I am beginning to love writing again!

I was scared that I might have to announce an extra month for the project deadline, but I am pretty sure that now I know what I am doing and what the characters want from me, the faster this story is going to be finished. 

My deadline is still October but maybe not Friday the 21st October as I didn’t realise when I randomly chose the date that it’s the end of the week – so I may post it a couple of days later for the Monday or perhaps even a few days earlier, who knows?

All I know is, that this story is making me feel energised and happy again – I no longer dread the process of writing, just to silence the muse, I am now loving it again.  It’s an amazing feeling I can tell you.

I believe 100% that the love for writing has come about because there are vampires in the subplot and it is those vampires that are making me love writing again.

Now does that mean all my stories will have a vampire subplots?  No, but there is more to me than just vampires, I love most dark mythology and this project was always intended to have some of those.  I never planned for dark fae in this storyline nor did I plan to have children which the protagonist is protecting, but it is all coming together and it is doing so, very nicely!

Thanks for reading!

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Overcoming my obstacles

I am taking on a lot of new challenges lately all at once, Paul thinks I shouldn’t have done so much at once or at least tried to, but it’s just me all over – in at the deep end, always.

As well as trying to do the writing deadline for the 21st October 2022, I am also trying many new things to improve my health – one major thing which is leaving me zomped, is losing my reliance on caffeine.

I have a thirty five year caffeine addiction thanks to my lazy mother, who got me into cola drinks and Lucozade around the age of 5 for convenience sake! 

As a child I was too short to get drinks for myself because the sink was too high up and she doesn’t believe in the health benefits of bought mineral water or fruit juices and didn’t want me climbing on a step to do it either, so a lot of the time I went without water and diluted fruit juice drinks – instead, she kept a cupboard low enough for me to have access to drinks and snacks for myself whenever I liked, so long as it didn’t bother her – those drinks and snacks were cans upon cans of Pepsi, cola and bottles of Lucozade, the snacks were crisps, biscuits, bite size chocolates and cakes to my little heart’s content.

When I was nine a neighbour kid I befriended taught me how to climb up on the cabinets safely, but by then I was already addicted to caffeine.

When I first moved in with Paul, Paul was horrified to discover I had an addiction to Pepsi and cola in general so much so, that I was drinking an average of 3 litres a day with three coffees on top!

That’s how bad it was!

In recent years I have bought it down to just one or three glasses per day, which is still bad, but I am fighting a thirty five year addiction here! 

On the 20th of August I decided to go cold turkey and not put coffee, cola or Pepsi to my lips at all – the result is extreme tiredness and a permanent headache as well as the general shakiness and blemish outbreak which is resulting in my detoxification process!

I guess I am cheating in a way, because I have a chocolate flavoured protein shake round twice a week, but the calories are less and so is the caffeine in comparison to what I was consuming!

Because of how crap I feel at the severely reduced caffeine intake, I have gone into a quiet depression, which is making it hard for me to be online – as I am getting tearful whenever someone is nice to me.

Basically I have been quiet on twitter because I need to get a grip!

Along with Henry being home from school until the 7th September and going cold turkey from caffeine, I have to admit, I am struggling to do anything productive whatsoever other than stare at the TV not taking in what I am watching and basically feeling in a state of exhausted shock!

I never knew that caffeine can do this to someone, when they stopped!  Emotionally I feel like I have been on a rollercoaster, I feel highly stressed, crying at the drop of a hat and generally feel like I am going to die because of the palpitations I seem to be getting since stopping the caffeine!

Why am I doing this to myself?  To get healthier!

Am I deliberately trying to put obstacles in the way of my deadline – NO!  Paul has asked me this and it is definitely a NO!

I have started to do this because Pepsi in particular is becoming far too expensive for us these days and it is that or food – plus, I am doing it because it is starting to give me stomach ache whenever I drink it!

As for my October 21st Deadline – I know I won’t make it for the graphic novel main project I am working on, because I have chosen to do the art myself for it!

The novel I will be approaching publishers for is going through what I hope to be its last draft between the 7th September and the 21st October and that is going to be my debut novel – I hope!  It is a Christmas fantasy.

I need about another three to six months to hone my art skills enough for me to be able to feel confident that I can do the art myself! 

The problem comes at the fact that each picture can take me ninety minutes to six hours to complete!

Paul said this is ridiculous, this will mean that your AD project is going to take you two years to do all the pictures you’ve got planned in this list! 

OK, I realise that, but I had the idea that if I did just one picture of each character and gave this to another artist as an idea of the style I want, then that will drastically cut the time down – won’t it?

Well that’s my reasoning behind it anyhow!

Paul is very disappointed that project AD is not going to be my first; he had hoped the second one would be D1, but it’s not that either, it’s CS, my Christmas story.

D1, I am unhappy at the ending.

AD, I want to do the art.

CS is easier to get out faster as I have no interest in doing the art for that and I just want it to be a novella.

SP is another one of my current projects, but that is even more complexed than AD and there are at least twelve novels in that series and a series of that size is not a good debut risk for any publisher!

I could send out one of my finished vampire novels by the deadline, but again, they are a huge series or rather saga series, that I don’t have time to write them fast enough to sate a publisher or agent just yet!

I could do one of my two horrors, which are standalones, but at the moment the Christmas story is fresher in my mind!

I had thought just to sate people who believe I am not really a writer, that I should just choose one of my series to post on my blog, just to show you the work and can and do, do – but then Paul said what if it turns out to have been potentially a bestseller, then you’ve shot yourself in the foot all for the sake of naysayers!

Then I thought – he’s right, they’d love that, wouldn’t they?

I did think though, about turning some of my old poems into short stories for the blog and eventually my YouTube channel as mini art movies.

That idea is actually very exciting to me!

Happy reading everyone!

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Camp NaNoWriMo started late for me

I didn’t remember that it was Camp Nanowrimo month this month until the 2nd of July and made no preparations for it; I intend to start my words in progress again from today. 

I haven’t written anything towards a novel since February, due to getting Covid and my son being in and out of hospital and school, because he is sick. We don’t know what’s wrong with him yet, but we’re waiting on tests, so it could be an ongoing thing, we don’t know.

But from today I am going to be writing towards a project I need to be finished by October 2022, that’s my deadline, after it is written it is going to be sent to an agent, because I feel ready now – whether or not an agent wants it or not, is another matter!

I won’t be sending my other finished works out yet, because I need them to stew a bit more as I am unsure of them.

The project is Anthropomorphic Dystopian 1.  You can read more about what I am doing with this project here… https://tardycreative.com/2022/06/25/anthropomorphic-dystopian-1/

A couple of my finished projects are favorited by my beta readers, but to me, I am unhappy with their overall plot because I am undecided on the ending.  I am happy with everything but the end result.

With the above project, I am very happy about the beginning, middle and end, so this is why I am very happy to send it once finished and redrafted and edited.

I have always been a planner, not a pantser, but this particular project has been planned within an inch of its life that purely in its planning stage it is almost a finished product in itself – though in my mind, it is too rough around the edges to send out as is.  In Paul’s mind, the story is finished, but in my mind that is not even the first draft, it’s just a bunch of planning notes!

Whether or not this book is really a novella however isn’t determined yet, can’t really tell through notes alone!

But it is an exciting project, a lot of fun, it is intended for a family audience and I love it!

I should be able to work on it for an hour or two a day and for me that’s around 3k words lately.

I have given myself seventy three days from today to finish it, let it stew for a week or two, re-read and potentially edit again before sending it out by my deadline a week after my birthday – around October the 10th it may be late in the year, but I will try my luck.

Happy reading!

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