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  • Writer's pictureJames Varma

(Update) It's been a while

3 Months, 2 weeks, 6 days and 1 new perspective

Novelist AI Art

Last time I posted on here I was talking a lot about how I'd given myself a new perspective on writing and figured out how to keep myself motivated while working on something outside my normal routine of picking a month and writing the whole thing in one go.

I talked about the struggle I went through in 2023's NaNoWriMo, and how I overcame it.

Unfortunately a couple of days after that I got sick, lost that momentum and never really found it again.

Between that, the huge uncertainty in the games industry, some housing uncertainty in my life and a lot of other stresses I've had a rough few months when it comes to projects.

It's been 5 months since NaNo and I still haven't finished the book, and for the time being I don't intend to. I got to a stopping point so that it didn't just cut off half way through something that I'll never be able to remember and I put it aside. I did this for a few reasons, one of which I will talk about later, but it was also because I wasn't having fun anymore. For me, a big part of writing is to have fun. I have a solid career as a game designer, I earn plenty and I don't need to become an author to save myself or get into a stable financial position. I write because 1. I enjoy it and 2. I think that others might enjoy it aswell. So when fun disappears then I really have to think about whether the project is worth continuing and while I decided that this is a project that is worth continuing, it's not one that I should be working on right now.

And with all that said, lets check in on the other projects.

Wild Card

My 6 book wild west fantasy series

Publishing Wild Card, the series starring Benjamin Wexley that I have been writing for 6 years and whose 6th book I failed to complete this year, is now my primary focus.

That's a bit misleading, it's always been up there, but what I mean is that I've set aside the last book despite not finishing it in order to focus back in on the first book entitled "The Gentleman" in order to complete a new draft, send it to alpha readers, beta readers and to an editor and then start trying to get it published.

I've done a full 'as reader' kindle re-read and found plenty that I'd like to update and fix as well as some parts that I'd like to expand on. At present it's only 60k words (roughly 240 pages I think) and I'd like to get it closer to 75k (300 pages... I think).

Next I will make the changes I wanted to make before I do an 'as editor' read and make changes as I go.

After that is done I will send it to readers, do another pass and finally start sending it out to agents. I'm hoping to do this by the end of the year.

So why am I doing this now?

When I started writing Wild Card it was about the time that I heard both George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfus had gone decades without finishing their series and I thoughts 'oh man, an agent would probably love it if when I brought my series to them it was already complete, they wont have to worry if I'll complete it!' this, as it turns out, is not true.

For the most part agents don't like getting series, especially from new writers, it's a lot harder to sell an X-book series than it is to sell 1 book (what if book 1 flops?) so the other reason I put down book 6 was to come back to it later when the time is right and start working now on Wild Card book 1 to get it in front of readers.

I don't regret writing so much of the series first, it's really given me a solid understanding of the characters and now that I'm going back I have found so many inconsistencies with the series that I can fix, but that is where it is now and what's happening next.

Magisterium Academ

Memoirs of a magic school kid

Over Christmas I started work on a solo journaling RPG called Magisterium Academ that I planned to put out on at some undetermined time. I put it all together and wrote it all up, did one playtest of it and set it aside.

I needed a break I needed to go away and come back and I think soon I'll be in the right frame of mind to do so. It's still coming, it's just not ready yet.

The Last Blade

A D&D inspired story with Anime action

I also talked about The Last Blade which I have mentioned often on my twitter and in previous updates. The intention of The Last Blade was to write another story that I could self publish and move on, maybe write more books in that series, but towards the end of last year I sent it off to alpha readers and got a lot of useful feedback.

Unfortunately I've been embroiled in the seemingly never ending Wild Card 6 book and haven't yet had time to implement those changes so it, too is on pause until after I finish editing Wild Card 1 or at least until I send it to readers.

New Concepts

A step into a new world

In more hopeful news I have been working on a new novel concept. It's a combination of Arthurian legend mixed with Shonen manga themes and western fantasy morals. This series that doesn't yet have a name follows a young commoner who's life is turned upside down when a sovereign dragon who was supposed to bond with a lord of the Wingcrest kingdom chooses to bond with him instead.

This is a trilogy of books where we see the young commoner grow from nothing into a hero.

More info soon, but I've been spending a lot of time recently just working on ideas and putting together notes in Miro.

Very likely this is what I will be writing during NaNoWriMo this year, hopefully using some of the wisdom I tried to learn at the end of the last one as this is also not going to be done in a month.

Thats pretty much everything going on lately.

Thank you for reading and for the support everyone shows every day.

If you're interested in reading Day Bringer you can find it on Amazon, both in kindle and Paper Back formats. (US) (UK)

If you want to keep up to date with the latest news then your best bet is to follow Starling Press on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.



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