So yesterday was dramatic! I woke up to my edit letter from Mónica in my inbox and read it before I even had coffee I was so excited. All 17 pages.
Then I really needed coffee.
After a flurry of brainstorming emails, I decided what I needed to do to make my manuscript “the best version of itself”… see, I had originally conceived The Demon King as the first of a duology. Which isn’t a terrible idea, but it meant that the cool twist and major bad-guy screen time was reserved for the second of the two books, and the first one ended on kind of an unsatisfying cliffhanger.
Which is no fun.
So what did I decide to do after bouncing a few ideas off my mentors?
Collapse the duology into a single manuscript.
NO BIG DEAL, RIGHT? Just casually squash the entire second book into the first and see what happens.
No big deal, I thought. I just revise 18ish chapters and then tack on another 40,000 words full of bad boy Demon Kings and magic mirrors and ‘ifrit warfare. No sweat. I wrote the last 9,600 words of my last draft in a single day, didn’t I?
So yesterday I wrote up a new character arc for my MC that includes the aforementioned escapades with bad boy Demon Kings and ‘ifrit warfare. Then this morning I finished my chapter-by-chapter+goals outline for the new draft.
Then I opened up a new document.
And I wrote the first line of my book.
In Kairouan, there was coffee for guests, coffee for war, and coffee for marriage.
And I stopped. Because I felt overwhelmed by the task before me.
Whenever I’m feeling discouraged, I go back to an interview that Sarah J. Maas did a few years ago with Swoon Says where she talks about her writing process. She talks about how she wrote A Court of Thorns and Roses (aka one of my favorite books of all time; shoutout to Kara for making me read it), and how even though it was a “magic” book for her, she had the same routine:
It’s that simple. Some days are better than others; some days every word is painful and I want to throw my computer into the street. Some days I just reread what I’ve written and either strut around the house, bloated on my own genius, or start quietly, thoroughly panicking that every word blows and I’m a hack-loser. But I still eat my breakfast, drink my tea/OJ/water, and show up.
There’s no magic to it. No special formula. There is no one process to creating my books beyond that: showing up. […]
So that is my process.
Show up. Write. Repeat.
So I’m here.
I’m going to eat some breakfast, get some more coffee, and maybe head to a cafe to get some fresh air.
And then I’m going to show the fuck up. Write. And repeat.
Even when classes start up again and the anxiety of being a PhD student at a stupid elite little university sets in again, I will show up for The Demon King. I will show up for Ramzy and Soukaina. For myself. For my mentors. For my readers, present and future.
And I will write.
(To an excellent soundtrack.)
That’s all for now. I’ve got a lot of work to do.