So, we all know that your girl is ambitious, right? Often to the point of detriment. But, I honestly don’t know how to function any other way. It’s one of the reasons I am currently pursuing an MFA (albeit very slowly). Even though I have a day job. Plus a second job and writing, which I label a third. However, I’m very excited that my MFA is leading to a summer writing project I hope to use to support my writing.
What is it? And how does this summer writing project support my novels? I’m so glad you asked.
Read on to find out more!
Current Projects and Goals
So, I have two main current writing projects. The first, I’ve been working on for ages. It’s called BLOOD PRICE: a feminist epic fantasy created entirely from one question. What would a world that centered on periods (yes, the bloody kind, not the punctuation) as a form of power look like? Then: what would it look like when that power is taken away?
I absolutely love this story. A lot of my summer writing project is going to be tied to this, but teaching me skills (hopefully) to apply to my other stories. Which are:
- A current WIP, fantasy romance, featuring a traumatized woman x inexperienced cinnamon roll, plus found family, DnD questing and re-envisioned fantasy racial roles in a queernorm world
- I’m also toying with a second WIP, thanks to my current screenwriting course. Which, honestly, I didn’t expect to get a novel idea out of it. It’d be an epic fantasy tragedy (emphasis on the tragedy) about a cast out ward, dragons and a political system founded on lies and magic.
With all of these stories, I want to publish them–traditionally, if I can. But, self-publishing and indie are also looking mighty appealing. Especially with an older, portal fantasy series that I want to return to, one day.
Summer Writing Project
How does a summer writing project tie into all that above? As I discussed before, one of my main writing weaknesses is research. That’s what my MFA advisor wants me to focus this year on, in particular. I created an annotated bibliography of books–both non-fiction and fiction–that I thought could help me support the worldbuilding of BLOOD PRICE.
In our last meeting, we discussed summer plans. We’ll both be too busy to meet. And, since I’m a non-trad student, my summers look different from my full-time MFA peers. She asked if I needed to take it off, due to the busyness of my summer job. Or, if I could do research and writing.
I’ll admit: I’m was (and still am) hesitant that I’ll be able to do it all. So, she came up with an idea. As I do research and find things that really interest me, after I complete a section, an idea or a chapter, I’ll write a “250.” This is 250 words exercise. But, these 250s will be written as worldbuilding aspects that relate to what I just learned, but are incorporated into the world of BLOOD PRICE.
How It All Relates
This summer writing project excites me. I’ve never done anything like it, but it’s also ridiculously appealing. Because:
- It’s low stakes: 250 words is something I can fit into a few minutes, on a good day. But it’s also something I’ve been trying to train myself to be okay with just completing, as I’ve been using 250s to write in my current WIP. It’s an amount I can fit in between everything else. With this summer writing project, they are only meant to be 250 words. It’s “done” at 250. Of course, if I’m inspired, I can do more. But I’m not losing momentum on a manuscript if I don’t. That’s…refreshing.
- There are actual applications: Despite potentially not using any of this material within the actual BLOOD PRICE manuscript, there is so much potential to create elements that I will, in some form. It’s a fun, creative way to learn more about my worldbuilding. Then, when I go back to edit BLOOD PRICE in the fall, I can find ways to incorporate it organically.
- If I like it, it’s a good worldbuilding tool in the future: If I enjoy this, then this is a great method to do for all future books (or when rewriting older works). Especially because one of my main reasons I avoided research is because I want to write. Research takes time away from that. At least this way, it scratches that itch.
But Nicole, will you still be working on your fantasy romance WIP? Honestly? I hope so. It’s been very slow so far–and I still want a solid zero draft by the end of the year. Taking off the whole summer sounds…disappointing, to me. But, it’s also something I’ve unconsciously done for a while now, since writing has been one of my least priorities. So, even if I do, at least this summer writing project will allow me to write, even if just a little. Plus, it’ll help build research skills I’m lacking, prepare me to edit BLOOD PRICE and it’ll allow me to make progress on my MFA.
It’s a win win all around, in my book. I can’ wait to get started!