Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
Last Thursday I started a new exciting chapter in my writing journey. Technically, this chapter started way back in 2019, but for a multitude of reasons, including naïve planning and overcommitting, that chapter had to be put on held after, well … one chapter. I’m talking about my science fantasy web serial, The Bloodlet Sun, which returned last week for regular weekly updates.
My first attempt at running a web serial was ambitiously launched here last year and concluded with me posting Chapter 1 in three parts. At that point, I’d run out of runway – with no buffer and facing the challenge of writing to a deadline, which had never worked well for my creative process. Now, more than a year and a half later, I’m once again returning with the ambitious commitment of delivering regularly weekly updates every Thursday. You can read Part 1 of Chapter 2 here, or jump right to the beginning of Chapter 1, depending on where you’re at.
I’ve got a couple of reasons to believe that this time will be different.
Since concluding Chapter 1, and especially over the last few months, I’ve built up a strong buffer, which should not only pick up the slack when life gets in the way of my writing, but also provides a safety net that means I don’t have to be overwhelmed by the pressure to keep writing the story because I’ve committed to delivering. So far, I have enough content to last through the end of the year, and I’m pumping out more material consistently every week.
I have learned a lot, about my story, my writing process and myself as a writer over the last year and a bit. I have a better idea of how the story should get to where I want it to go. I have a looser approach of writing as I go, yet also knowing how to keep the story coherent. I don’t have the benefit of writing out a whole “book” at the same time, so it took a bit of time forthis “plotter” to get comfortable with the level of “pantsing” (from “flying by the seat of your pants”) that this work requires. I also have a better handle on how to manage my creative process, by using multiple projects and weekly writing goals to keep myself motivated and producing at workable levels. All this has come together to make me a more efficient and productive writer, and the amount I’ve been able to produce over the last few months illustrates this quite starkly. I finally feel like I’m in a position to commit to a regular online serial.
I’ve never truly seen myself as a genre writer. The two novels I’m currently working on I have been describing as “literary fiction” no matter how nebulous and ill-equipped to describe works that fall under it this category is. Recently, I tried this label on for size in the online writing community, and quickly found out that my understanding of literary fiction had been mistaken. Not only that, but the associations with this genre aren’t all positive. For these reasons, I’ve realized that “contemporary fiction” is probably a better label. It’s a similarly vague catchall genre, but I think it fits better with my writing. I have some genre elements even in my contemporary fiction works as well, but I don’t think they’re enough to tip them into any other specific label.
Despite the majority of my work current taking place within this contemporary fiction non-genre, I did, however, start of as being primarily a science fiction writer back when I was churning out short stories in high school, so that aspect of my writing never left me. And as the lingering byproduct of a youth spent fantasizing about galaxy-spanning adventures like Star Wars and alien intrigue like Babylon 5, even as my writing moved on from the genre, The Bloodlet Sun and the occasional short story remained.
For The Bloodlet Sun, up until recently I’ve described it as “science fiction” but the more I reflect on the main elements of the story and my experience with different genres, I think “science fantasy” is more accurate. Never thought I’d dive so deep into all these labels, but whatever you want to call it, a couple of years ago I decided that this web serial would be my unapologetic outlet for my first writing love, and it’s my sincerest hope that it’s here to stay.
If you’re already reading, I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of Chapter 2 and its introduction to Kviye, my second POV character, and if you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll tune and join me in this project.
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.