May 1st, 2023
I apologize if this blog feels a bit more formulaic than the usual affair. I am writing this very last-minute and am in the midst of a minor emergency. Everyone is okay, just a stressful time. But I love you guys, so let’s get into this.
April was quite the month. I had a blast abroad, edged patrons still closer to the Conjoining of Paragons finale, got some Perversion of Purity written — and, most of all, wrote a lot of The Road to Hell. Most of my month has been consumed by that story. It is the most work I have ever put into a piece of fanfiction, and also by far the best fanfiction I have written. I am beyond excited for all of you to read it, and as I will get into soon, that time is fast approaching.
I am currently still staying with Athena in the States. This has been a wonderful chunk of time. She has been a great hostess and we have had a ton of fun. She has also been the devil on my shoulder and is almost single-handedly responsible for how much money I have sunk into my book collection this year — the answer is far too much money — but I have enjoyed my stay immensely. She has been incredibly supportive on the content side and has helped me get a ton done — both in terms of writing and real life things I want sorted whilst I am here in America.
That seems like as good a transition as I will get, so I think it’s time to dive into the reason you all came here: a content update.
Let’s just address the elephant in the room since I have still gotten quite a few questions about it in the last month.
I have no new updates for Ashes of Chaos. I am in the same place I have been for months. There is a lot about the story that I really don’t like, and even if that wasn’t true, I don’t think I physically have time to wrap it up before I hope to turn pro. I am not officially abandoning the story yet, but with each month that passes, that prospect becomes more and more likely.
If it does come to pass, there will be an entire blog post talking about it, so those of you on the Discord server with the @Blogger role will be the first to know.
I should also note here that Fabric of Fate is in a similar state to AoC. I would still love to write that very out there PJO fic using some of FoF’s rough character archetypes and ideas, but for all the reasons mentioned last month, that actually happening is very, very unlikely — not unless Lily wants to actually throw ridiculous sums of money at the project. /j
Let’s get onto something more optimistic and talk about Perversion of Purity. I am leaving The Road to Hell until the end of the ongoing fanfiction projects section because it’s going to be the longest.
I wrote four chapters of Perversion of Purity this past month. Harry is now officially at Durmstrang. Two chapters have taken place since his arrival and the Patreon chat has been buzzing like I have not seen story chats buzz in a very long time.
It’s a very good feeling. The idea of each task taking place at a different school predates this story by several years. Back in 2017 when I originally wrote AoC’s first two years, the idea was that I would do a similar thing there. Except I ran out of steam/broke out of my depressive state before I ever reached that point, and when I revisited the fic in 2020 soon before its posting, I knew it was not the right story for the idea.
Perversion of Purity is, and it is very surreal to finally be at Durmstrang. I have gone through a lot of effort to build a culture and a world around the other schools and I’m very excited to showcase more of that going forward.
I feel like I’m having to address this in every blog, but no — I DO NOT HAVE AN ETA FOR BOOK 4’S COMPLETION! I appreciate the interest from all of my readers. It warms my heart and you can all continue asking if you’d like, but don’t expect any answers until at least the end of summer. Maybe by then I will have a clearer picture. It’s difficult to say — you’ll get an idea as to why before this blog is finished.
All right, now onto The Road to Hell. Let’s see how long this section winds up being…
I wrote nineteen chapters for The Road to Hell in April. Yes, you are reading that correctly — nineteen. That is not a typo. It has been a very busy month and this story is where most of my time and energy has been devoted.
Why so high a number? There are a few factors that go into my output. I am still in the States and have far fewer distractions here, plus more direct support. Both of those things help more than you might think.
The biggest factors are that CoP is finished and that I have, after years of procrastinating, received my official ADHD diagnoses and began medicating that.
Not having a third story on my roster means that I can dedicate large, unbroken stretches of time for a single project. That makes a huge difference because I’m not constantly having to change the tone/characterization/plot of what I’m writing, and it lets me hone in on things a lot more. This is definitely how I will be writing going forward. It’s how I have wanted to write for a long time, but having three ongoing epics that were posting simultaneously made doing that very difficult. I also think that this method just leads to better writing.
And, yes, stimulants are also very helpful — but please, please, please, do not take them unless you have been diagnosed with a condition that makes them necessary and then have had them medically approved. They do impact your body and they are not wonder drugs — they just combat my mental disabilities very well.
There is another factor here I have not yet touched upon.
Road to Hell consists of three very distinct arcs. I have decided to make each of these arcs a ‘Part’ of the story. Part I covers the story’s first calendar year, and I want all of that written and revised before it’s publicly posted. Having that very distinct goal has helped a lot. I am very goal-oriented, and that has kept me on a straight and narrow path.
It’s also just the highest quality fanfiction I have written. I am very open in saying that I don’t think the first half of CoP is all that great and that PoP’s first two years struggle heavily on a prosaic level. Then there’s AoC, which is a whole other can of worms. I think those stories get pretty good after those points, but Road to Hell surpasses anything I have written in the fanfiction genre and it comes with no caveats.
That is very liberating. I, for one, enjoy writing things of a higher quality. It is far more motivating and I am physically excited each time I pen a new chapter.
There is also the fact that I know many in the community have judged my abilities based on the early portions of those aforementioned works. That is not unreasonable on their parts, but it does present a false perception of my current craft. I am competitive and I enjoy proving people wrong. Those two things formed the foundations of what made me a professional athlete, and that spark has been lit anew.
I want to show how much better someone can get if they work really hard at something and I want to show where I’m really at. Not that I care about the critics or their opinions, but it will be nice posting something that I can direct new readers to and say, “If you want to see what my writing’s really like, go and read this.” All of that excites me and it has really sped my progress along.
The time for me to reveal what I have written is coming fast. Part I will consist of forty-four chapters — yes, I know I said not far north of thirty last month, leave me alone — and thirty-nine of them are written. My hope is to finish Part I’s rough draft — minus chapter 18; I have to go back and write that during revisions because I wrote slightly out of order — this Wednesday or Thursday.
Then come the revisions. It’s difficult to say how long they will take because it will be a more extensive process than anything I have done so far. My goal is for this to mimic, on a smaller scale, how I want to edit my future novels.
There are a couple specific plotlines that I want to tighten up the moment I finish chapter 44, and then I will go through every chapter and smooth things out. I don’t think there will be a ton of prose edits on this one — not until the line editing stage that comes after content revisions are complete — so I don’t expect this to take as long as PoP Book 3’s revisions did. But once I go over all those chapters, I will then have my betas look over any significant changes I have made and provide feedback.
My good friend Matt — also known as M J Bradley or DarknessEnthroned — has also agreed to give Part I a look over and provide something of a guest edit. I wanted the opinion of someone who does not typically read my stories, and I have a ton of respect for Matt and his craft. His feedback on the story’s first six or so chapters was invaluable months back, so I thank him graciously for agreeing to lend a hand. My editor, Athena, will also be looking things over sometime during that process. I am not entirely sure when yet — she has a lot on her plate — but I’m sure she will have a lot to say.
Once all of that is done, we will begin line editing chapter by chapter, but we can start posting at that stage. Discord will probably start getting chapters sooner, but this is when FFN/AO3 will begin receiving uploads and Sam Gabriel will begin on the audiobook. I will be posting a Road to Hell release blog once the revisions are complete, and there will be more information about the audiobook and all the fun stuff that comes with it in that blog.
I think that mostly covers Road to Hell for now. Expect further updates later this month. I’m hoping to have this posting sooner rather than later given that there is currently a lull between PoP Books 3 and 4 and that CoP uploads biweekly.
You might have noticed that I have done a lot of summarizing, but not a ton of forecasting. That’s because, once Road to Hell revisions are complete and a couple more PoP chapters are written for the backlog, I will be taking AT LEAST a month to work on a novel. I’m actually hoping to take two months seeing as I am so far ahead right now, but we will see. Ensuring that my patrons have their content will always come first. That is something I take very seriously — sometimes seriously enough to make people in my real life quite cross with me.
I’m actually going to do something different in this round of novel writing. I have about 50,000 words done on a novel I’m pretty happy with, but here’s the thing — that is probably book one of a ten book series, and the longer I stew on that, the more I realize I’m not super comfortable with that being the first professional project I take on. Not because I don’t think I’m up for the task, but because I think I should establish a bit of a base before diving into that.
I am going to start working on a trilogy that has been nagging at me for the past year and a half or so. These books will be shorter — though still long — and less demanding, so I’m hoping I can take a good chunk out of book one during the month or two I will be working on it.
I plan on writing the entire trilogy and then revising before submitting it for hopeful publication because I am an obsessive perfectionist, so you guys still have me on the fanfiction side for quite a while. I plan to be very transparent about my progress and about when I will look to make the transition from amateur to pro. I can promise that, before that happens, I will be finishing both PoP and The Road to Hell — even if it delays my plans to turn professional.
I hoped to have more updates on things like server events, podcasts, and Weekly Writing Updates, but I don’t have much to report there. Just that I would love to host a writing challenge on the server — potentially with prizes — for the summer if that is something you guys would be interested in. Let me know. We can easily begin urging you lot for prompts, or I can come up with some myself or with my betas.
I think that will cover everything for this month. I’m not sure what next month’s blog will look like since it will hopefully just say, “I finished Road to Hell Part I revisions in splendid time and have begun working on my trilogy”, but I’m an expert rambler so I’m sure I’ll find something to prattle on about.
Thank you guys for another incredible month. I am loving the warmer weather and hope you all are too.
Best of luck to everyone finishing up school this month — it’s almost over and I’m sure you’ll all do great!