Camp NaNoWriMo started yesterday, and with it a new 'era' in my writing. For almost three years, my main WIP has been a YA gladiator novel called We Who Are About To Die. But as of yesterday, I have set WWAATD aside.
It's a decision I'm not exactly happy about, but it's one I've been considering for a while. See, I've put a lot of time and effort into WWAATD (it's been majorly rewritten 3 times), and I've loved the story and the characters very dearly (it was my second novel). But.
It's a story centred around a few teenage gladiators, living under a king who sacrifices people in hopes of extending his own life. Teenagers... quasi-dystopia... killing... arenas - the market for that seems pretty glutted right now (and it will get worse before it gets better). I want to take WWAATD all the way - when it has a decent shot of not being dismissed outright.
Besides, WWAATD is far from ready. It needs a ton more time and effort, and I'm almost too in love with the ideal of what it could be to be able to get it there. I need to practice on something I love a little less first.
I'll miss WWAATD, and the pig-headed MC Renata, but neither will entirely disappear from my head. Ideas will percolate, and one day I will pick them back up. Having first seen the light of day during NaNoWriMo 2013, We Who Are About To Die now goes to sleep. In a few years, I hope to be able to wake it up and treat it as well as it deserves.
For now, for April's CampNaNoWriMo, I'm in love with a new story. This isn't SNI syndrome - I've been writing bits and pieces of it for a while, trying to figure out the plot and the characters and getting a feel for the world. The title keeps changing, but for now, it's TEETH AND CLAWS.
Sara was only three when her magic-mad great-uncle committed regicide. Her entire family fled into exile rather than be stripped of their magic as the new king demanded.
When she was 10, they invested all their hopes of revenge in her - giving her the power to shapeshift into a dragon.
After coming of of age last year, Sara started an trade embargo to force the king to let her family come home, but a few weeks ago, a lone knight stumbled upon her band.
Now Sara's busy falling in love, escaping from prison, solving royal murders and playing politics. Will she remember that the most important thing is bringing her family home?
And unless I screw it up royally, I'll be using this story for my first stab at serious novel revision/polishing/querying. Because I love a lot of things about TEETH & CLAWS:
- It's potentially sellable (aka I'm not writing into a glut - that's kind of a motivation suck).
- It has a dragon (seriously, who doesn't love dragons?), and a shapeshifter, and some magic but not too much. Plus politics, rebellion and angst.
- I've done much better about not falling into the fantasy trap of everyone being straight, white, male etc. I've tried to gender balance the world, not just the cast, and I have lesbian and gay characters. (I don't say that to get brownie points - I'm just happy to be remedying a deficit that existed in some of my earlier stuff, including WWAATD.)
Basically, TEETH AND CLAWS is a lot of things I wish WWAATD could have been, and maybe also the best parts of WWAATD.
So here's to April, and a solid 30k!