Novel Progress and NaNoWriMo

I thought I’d take a quick break from my cat blogs and give you an update on how my YA Fantasy/Romance manuscript, or should I say manuscripts, are going.

Yep, somehow my small 65k word novel I was talking about in this post decided to morph itself into a trilogy. The main character, called Phoebe Rose, had so much more she wanted to accomplish in her life then I had planned.

While I was really excited to reach 70,000 words, my book was lacking in tension in the right areas. The three act structure I was aiming for was completely off-balance. So I ended the book early at a slight cliff-hanger (can still be a standalone novel) and began to figure out the plot outline for a trilogy.

I’ve now completed rough outlines for all three books plus their endings, though I’ve left enough room for a few as yet unknown twists and turns to develop on their own. I love not knowing exactly where my story will take me, but having a definite ending makes the process easier.

I ended up changing the name, as Under a Different Sky was too long a title for a book in a series. The new series is called The Hidden Sun Trilogy, and I named the three books after the cities they were set in, though the titles will probably change again at some point…

These are the new book titles and word counts:

Book 1: Erebus (68,000 words)

Book 2: Hades (15,000 words)

Book 3: Helios (3,000 words)

Here’s a sneak peek at the rough copies of my book covers if I decide to self-publish. I couldn’t resist designing them ASAP (yes I do tend to get ahead of myself!)

I’m terrible at blurbs, but here’s a quick one for Erebus:

Phoebe Rose uncovers what she believes is a ghost living in an old warehouse close to where she lives. Inexplicably drawn to the stunning creature named Lucius, she is taken against her will to his underground home, a city that exists somewhere beneath our feet. Left there in the care of his brother, Phoebe begins to fall for the enigmatic Leon, discovering that not only do these strange humans live for hundreds of years, but they also love passionately too. With the return of Lucius looming ever closer, Phoebe must decide whom she loves more – and her choice may just ruin them all.

So ahem anyway, Book 2 is going to be my project for NaNoWriMO. Now that the plot outline is (mostly) done, all I have to do is get 50,000 words done in November and it’s pretty much finished! …Famous last words.

Publishing wise, I’ve decided I would like to have a go submitting my manuscript to some of the big publishers and agents here in Australia. Actually, this weekend I’m pitching to a publisher from Allen & Unwin in a private face to face pitch! You can read about what will happen here. I’ll make sure to keep you all udpated, as whatever the outcome, it will be a wonderful opportunity and I’m looking forward to sharing the experience. I’m really nervous, but hopefully I won’t stumble on my words too much.

If all else fails, I would like to get both Book 1 and Book 2 finished and ready to upload to Amazon by early next year. As much as I would love to get Book 1 out there as soon as possible, I think it will be a better marketing strategy to have two come out at once (or at least very close together). My thinking is when I do promotions and sell Book 1 for free, it may lead potential readers to my next book. And who the hell actually enjoys waiting 1-2 years for a sequel to a cliffhanger?

I love setting goals for myself, so this is when I aim to publish my books:

Book 1 Erebus: Release date March/April 2017

Book 2 Hades: Release date March/April 2017

Book 3 Helios: Release date October 2017

Considering that the US publisher had only offered to publish my book at the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018, I could potentially have three books out in the world before they would have even looked at mine. Winning!

Next post will definitely be How the hell do I self-publish – With Cats!

46 thoughts

  1. Hi, Millie. How’s Nano going for you? Check out Cow Pasture Chronicles, where I’ll soon be guest-blogging for Sheila, so I hope to see you there, too!

    In the meantime Nano: I haven’t heard for awhile how your project is coming. While I am near 39,000 words with Death Imitates Art, I am finding that the write-it-all-in-November conditions are perhaps not the motivation I need. My narrative is choppy and changes voice frequently (partly due to experimentation with an unreliable narrator; more blogging on this soon), and the plot is filled with silly holes that the silliest putty will take months to fill. Even starting in the middle has backfired as a strategy; I have now looped back to Chapter 1, and am as stuck as I normally would be on devising an approach.

    It is a cute idea, and I appreciate the organisation’s intentions, but whatever I write from here on in will be at my natural pace.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good luck and make progress. I love nanowrimo! I have not stayed on track very well this month. Today I enjoyed going off track by writing story ideas for my supervillain based on Donald Trump. P.S. I think his wife will be the sneaky brains of the outfit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic that you are so prolific! Better to have more to say than have writer’s block, eh?! Good luck with NaNo! I’m on schedule myself, but have no illusions that this streak will continue. Still, we’ll see.


  4. I think Under a Different Sky is a sick name! So you talk about publishing shortly after writing. What is your editing process? I have finished my first book in my series and it is being read by my list of Beta Readers at the moment so I am taking a break and writing book 2. But when I go back and read bits and pieces of the first book, the writing is still choppy in places like it is more of a movie script than a book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m glad you like Under a Different Sky! I always leave a few months for editing as it only takes me 1-2 months to actually write the novel (remember they’re only 65,000 words in length). I’m onto Book 2, which I aim to finish by January 2017 (I could have finished by december but I’m working on another book for NaNoWriMo). That gives me 3 months to edit. Usually I leave my manuscript for a few weeks after I finish then I do a round of editing myself. I can’t afford an editor, but I have two relatives lined up to edit for me. Once that’s done I’ll send them to my beta readers, I have about four lined up 🙂 As I can’t afford a professional editor, I know my novels will be at a disadvantage, but oh well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 65,000 words in 2 months is still pretty fast! But I guess I’m a little inexperienced. I wrote my first book starting in January, finished it around March and it was around 55,000-60,000 words. And then I read through it a bunch of times and somehow it jumped to 88,000 words. I got to the point where I couldn’t look at it anymore so I handed it out to Beta readers and hopefully I will save up for an editor for later. You should look into doing a Kickstarter project for a book you really want edited. That could get you the money for it! And commenting on your other post about your book turning into a series. I planned on writing one book and retiring. Somehow my one book has now expanded into a trilogy which I did not plan for. It’s funny how quickly an idea can expand.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh goodness! You’re like a *real* writer, that’s awesome! I would love to read your book when it comes out, so keep us posted! Whatever route of publishing you go (self-publishing can be awesome, I’m just saying). Also, I love the covers. I think they’ll go over really well for what you’re writing. And I love Under A Different Sky, but I think the names you have for the trilogy actually work better for a vampire romance. But that’s just my two cents – I’d totally check out a book called Under a Different Sky just for the title, so I think it would work either way. But all three books should have long titles then, you know? Themes are so important for series… Anyway, best of luck! And good luck with Nano, too! I can’t wait to see your stuff out there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Trilogy! Yes, love it, go big! Can’t believe you have proposed release dates and draft art – I need to up my goal-setting game, this is amazing


  7. This is a real pump your fist in the air kind of post. Thank you. I am in the process of submitting my novel to agents now and it’s the worst. I have thought about self-publishing too and I go back and forth about feeling like “I can do it!” and “This is never going to work.” Your post really swung me back over to the “I can do this” camp.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fantastic!! I’m super happy that this post has swung you back to the right camp!! Yes we can do this! ☺️☺️ Yes we can do, create & be anything ! I can’t wait to self-publish, so I’m not too worried about getting rejected ☺️


    1. Yep I’m doing a trilogy – what the hell was I thinking! Hahaha. Looks like I’ll be stuck in Phoebe’s world for just a little bit longer… I’ll be doing a self-publishing related post soon! First one will be called ‘Why you should self-publish – with cats’ to try and convince myself how great self-publishing is… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Don’t hate me, but I think Under a Different Sky is a fantastic name! It fits in well with each of your books being named after a different place, too. Obviously you’re going to have to go with what feels best, but I’d give that one a little more consideration. If the size is your only worry, I wouldn’t worry. Congrats on all the work you’ve done! I look forward to hearing more about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you like the title Under a Different Sky! I still really like it and I’m really debating the titles at the moment, especially if I end up going ahead with self-publishing! The reason I changed it is some of my younger cousins who read a lot agreed that the three titles would need to be shorter or have something in common. I was thinking maybe ‘The City of Erebus’ for the first, ‘The Depth of Hades’ for the second, and maybe something lighter for the third… like ‘The Height of Helios’ – ok that last one’s bad but just made it up on the spot haha. I’m going to pitch to Allen & Unwin using the title ‘The City of Erebus’ – as a standalone with series potential. Thanks so much for the congratulations!!


      1. I don’t see why they need to be shorter. But I’m also not in publishing/marketing, so I’m not an expert on that. I usually suggest that authors go with what feels right with them, though. There are definitely lots of formulas out there, but there are also a lot of books that follow those formulas too. Maybe something different is what’s needed. But, again, I’m not a pro. Good luck with your pitch. And if that doesn’t work out, good luck with self-publishing! I think the important thing is to get your work out there and keep writing. Or, at least, that’s what I keep telling myself. 😉


  9. That sounds much more exciting than the non-fiction book I’ve been working on. You’re from Australia; my wife and I met these two retired school teachers from there in New Orleans just over a year ago. They travel the globe now but we stay in touch. Our cats are influential in our lives. We’re originally from the Chicago, Wisconsin area but have resided in Arizona so long our daughter grew up here. We can relate to the hot and arid climate in parts of Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure your non-fiction novel is exciting! What are you writing about? Awesome – I’ve heard Arizona is a pretty warm place – you’d definitely be able to sympathise/ relate 🙂 Sadly I’ve never been to the states, only Canada – I’m a bit jealous of those retired, traveling-the-globe Aussies you mentioned! Oh and I don’t think I could live without my cat Sven! He is the weirdest, oddest, cutest thing in the world. He opens doors, watches TV, plays fetch, loves to have his tummy scratched and will jump out of my highest window (straight into the rose bushes) just to escape the house! 🙂


    1. Haha that is AWESOME! Everyone pays you out for writing a vampire romance – but the fact is everyone loves to read them! So I’ll just accept that I’m a Vampire Romance Writer and be proud of it. Good luck with your novel this November 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you!
        I think the whole Twilight thing caused a massive boom in vampire romances stories, lol. They were everywhere, ha ha. But I’ve always loved them. Mines a bit dark though, lol.
        Good luck with NaNo!
        Feel free to add me as a buddy if you want ☺
        I’m ErrinKrystal

        Liked by 1 person

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