A long, long, LONG time ago (2006? 2007?), I got this vague idea in my head for a novel. Several different sources went into this idea, but for a good many years, the whole thing was too vague to plan out and write. I made a few terrible attempts, mostly in 2007, and then I let it sit for a very long time. In the fall of 2013, I decided it was time to fully plan this monster out, and then I wrote the first messy draft during NaNoWriMo that year. I called the book Maldralith, though this will likely change.
I learned several things during that first draft. One: Writing a high fantasy novel during NaNo is a bad idea, because high fantasies are LONG, and my goal during NaNo is to finish my draft, not hit 50k words. By the time I reached the end of this 142,000-word book, I was literally writing descriptions of what would happen in each chapter rather than writing the chapters themselves. Which leads me to two: There was no way in hell that this was a single book. So in 2014, in periods between working on other books, I split this monster into several volumes and did extensive chapter-by-chapter planning for Book 1 (still called Maldralith as a working title). The goal was to begin writing it after we moved to Boston.
Except when we moved to Boston, life kinda fell to pieces. Depression and anxiety and family issues became top priority, and I stopped writing altogether. In 2015, I tried again, painstakingly writing a chapter each week whenever I could, which wasn’t often. By the time we moved back to Texas, I couldn’t even do that. I had one little writing spurt in October where I managed to get a tiny bit more done, and that was it. Time passed, and I thought about Maldralith all the time. I had the entire book ready in my head, but couldn’t get the words past some block in my brain.
In early March, with the tweaking of a particular medication, the dam in my brain broke. Words began gushing forward in a flood too strong to stop. I wrote almost every day, often for hours. I had to limit myself to 1-2 chapters per day. I went to sleep each night with the next few chapters in my head, so that the moment my fingers touched the keyboard in the morning, the words would come at once. When I ran up against crucial scenes, I would tell myself I needed to stop and plan better, but my brain had already done the planning, and I would just write it out, all the kinks already sorted. It was insane! I expected things to slow or stop once I got to later chapters that I hadn’t thought of enough, but nope.
I began work on Maldralith on March 7th. I was already about a quarter of the way through the novel by that point, but between March 7th and April 15th, I wrote the other three-quarters. On April 15th, I wrote one of my favorite words: End.
I’m spending this weekend rereading the (very long) manuscript to fix typos and minor inconsistency errors. Then, of course, the book will need to rest away from my brain for a good six months or so, before I can start revisions. The first night I went to sleep without chapters in my head to write? Just bizarre. I had difficulty falling asleep! I won’t describe the plot of Maldralith here – there’s a small paragraph about it on my Writing Page – but I will say that it’s a kind of Anastasia story meets Romeo & Juliet meets the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with magic! I’ll also say that I’m super excited about this book, and yes, I’m holding myself back from writing the sequel, ha!
And now that my life isn’t entirely consumed by words, it’s time to focus on some other things, like housework and getting out into the real world and actually exercising for the first time in several weeks…