Goal One: Finish chapters 9, 11, and 12 from Marrow
I’ve technically already begun chapters 9 and 11, both of which are quite long, so I’ve tacked on 12 as well because it will be a short and easy chapter coming in at only one scene. I’m saving chapter 10 for November because I will be moving cross-country around Thanksgiving week and it will be its own beast to get through.
Marrow was supposed to be a novella-length side project to help me while I was dealing with burnout from my main project, titled Silverblood. I very quickly realised that Marrow was going to be a bit more involved than I intended. So, I did what any reasonable and well-adjusted author would do by panicking and pretending it didn’t exist for a while.
After some back-and-forth with Silverblood and my side-side project Thirty-Three Tales of War (interspersed with periods of intense burnout where I got absolutely nothing done), I eventually returned to Marrow and decided it was the story I would dedicate myself to finishing this year.
Briefly, I will call Marrow a fantasy spy novel kind of but not really. Longly, I’ll say (in very informal summary)
Marrow is the story of a young Candrish girl adopted by a high-ranking Brisian nobleman who sends her to a special art school to become an uzņika, sort of like a geisha or a tawaif. Before Marrow is allowed to obtain her license to conduct business as an uzņika within the Empire of Bris, she must contract with a sponsor to guarantee reimbursement of debt to her father and the school—and this is where the trouble begins. Unable to find a sponsor and with her graduation date looming, Marrow begs her father to convince one of his illustrious colleagues to help her—which lands her the support of the Candrish Yellow Queen of Chariv, who traitorously rebelled against their home country’s lawful ruler. The Yellow Queen suspects the Empire is clandestinely working against her and wants Marrow to discover what, if anything, is going on. Enter absolute mayhem as Marrow is sent to the Imperial Court, which leads to a series of events including sabotage, counter-spying, dueling, metal-weaving, and multiple crises of identity.
Marrow is unique in that it is my only work thus far that is A) written in first person, B) contains only one point-of-view and C) uses a noun for the main character’s name instead of an in-world one. It is a huge departure from my norm, but that’s because of this lovely thing called x-treme insurmountable burnout. Although it is a lot less violent than Silverblood, it’s not really any less dark. Quickly, I would also like to clarify that neither uzņika, geisha, nor tawaif are or were consorts or prostitutes, and while uzņika resemble these traditions, they are not intended to be an accurate or faithful representation of either.
I have no idea if I want to try to trade publish Marrow or simply self-publish it. Thinking about trade publishing makes me want to forget writing is a thing that exists, so onto the next thing!
Goal Two: Write at least one new flash fiction piece for Thirty-Three Tales of War
Speaking of the Candrish Civil War, my side-side project, Thirty-Three Tales of War, is next on my list as something I’d like to work on a bit. I am a lot less invested in this project as something that requires some amount of urgency, so I will keep this goal very simple.
Thirty-Three Tales of War explores the Candrish Civil War through the eyes of anonymous individuals who are mired in the day-to-day consequences of such a large-scale conflict. The pieces available via my website and Worldbuilding Magazine are thus far the Farmer, Thief, Steward, and Bounty Huntress. I plan on releasing the Priestess, Husband, Prostitute, Nezhdoya, and, hopefully, the Minstrel before the year is out. I’ve been told the structure is reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, which I find interesting because I have not actually read The Canterbury Tales. “There is nothing new under the sun”, and all.
The idea behind Thirty-Three Tales of War is to work on writing short, atmospheric pieces that strike like a match and just as quickly burn out, not necessarily developing a linear plot for each tale. Really, they’re more like vignettes that aim to tell a larger story when read together but still have enough substance to stand on their own. My goal is to keep them at or less than 1,000 words each. I am also using this opportunity to work on incorporating worldbuilding and lore more heavily, as I am a chronic under-writer, so there’s a healthy dose of that splashed in. Because of this and that I plan to self-publish the finished collection, the final copy will include a few in-world documents, notes, and addendum, as well as illustrations for each character—which brings me to my next goal!
Goal Three: Draw two more illustrations for Thirty-Three Tales of War
Well, I did one of those two illustrations in my video, so go me! This is the Priestess, which is actually one of my favourite pieces I’ve ever written despite being very brief at just over six hundred words. For the finished collection, I’m not sure how feasible printing full-colour illustrations are (spoilers: rather very not feasible at all), so I might simply leave things at lineart. Then again, I might colour them in on my own just cos I like colouring. I do sort of want to assemble a colouring book, but my work not being appropriate for children and all...I don’t know!
Goal Four: Read Godblind by Anna Stephens
Godblind is the first book in her trilogy of the same name. What I understand from the back cover copy is that there are two groups of gods, one evil, one not, whose worshippers will go to war in order to destroy each other and fulfil some prophecies. I’ve wanted to read this book for a while because I’m very interested in lore and worldbuilding relating to religion, the cosmos, and divinity as well as the sociopolitical implications of such. The “holy war” direction this seems to take based on my pre-read assumptions is definitely of interest to me. Fair warning, it has been described as “grimdark” by nearly every review I've read and reader I’ve spoken to about it, so tread carefully if you’re not into that!
Goal Five: Add at least one new article to this website
I’ve been seriously neglecting this site (along with my Instagram...and my Twitter... I’m just kind of bad at social media in general, okay?). This article will probably be a general overview of Maj Paltra, one of the provinces in the Empire of Bris (in which Marrow takes place). If anyone was curious, the Brisian conlang is drawn from the phonology of Latvian and the grammar of Latin with some Lithuanian features depending on the dialect. Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian. Try saying that three times fast.
Goal Six: Upload at least one more video to YouTube
The video that goes along with this article doesn't count. I have a few ideas for where I want to go next, but I haven’t quite decided on a topic yet! Let me know if you want to hear about something specific.
Topic of the Week
But before you go, don’t forget to answer this week’s topic, Goals and Achievements!
1. What are your creative goals for October?
2. Have you made any recent breakthroughs that you want to share?
3. What's your favourite thing that you've written this month?
4. What are you most looking forward to writing this week?
Journal it, think about it, send it as a comment, keep it to yourself, do whatever you like! I always appreciate your comments, questions, and subscriptions. Thanks again for reading, and I’ll see you sometime soon!