Back in November 2016, I shared the list of all the novels I was writing at the time. They were in different stages, from rough outlines to drafts that had been revised many times. Since two years have passed, I think it’s time for an update. So, if you’re curious what many projects I’m currently working on, dive right in!
The novels I didn’t write
In the last two years, I managed to get a lot of progress on most of my projects. I shelved two of them indefinitely. One of them was my first novel in English, The Witch’s Game, and I already mentioned it in the previous post. Even though I really enjoyed writing that story, and would love to go back to it one day, I don’t feel strong enough about it to devote a year or two to a total rewrite. The second shelved novel, The Wayward Witch, is also waiting for a better time. Since it’s set in a shared universe, mainly developed by my husband who is working on it consistently, tinkering with the events and lore, I’d prefer to wait for certain things to clarify before I consider getting back to it.
Shards of the World
The novel which I jokingly refer to as that one book I’ll be writing my whole life.
Even though the idea for it is at least 15 years old, I still love the setting, the premise, and the story I want to tell. Last year, during CampNaNoWriMo, I started another “first” draft of it, and I was genuinely happy how it was turning out.
Yet, I haven’t gotten past the first 20,000 of that postapocalyptic fantasy, in which mages can create and destroy worlds at will as they engage in a power play with one another. Why I haven’t worked on it since Camp 2017 ended? Mostly because I feel this novel is going to be the most “literary” one from all the ones I have in the works at the moment. As much as I want to finish it, it would feel odd to focus on something that is so different from my other projects.
Status: New “first draft” started, 20,000 words written.
Humanborn and Myth-touched
When two years ago I was mentioning Humanborn, my contemporary fantasy set in Dublin (back then, I considered it urban fantasy – but it doesn’t feel quite right now), I had a very short first draft. Since then, I added some substance to it, making it into a 93,000 words novel. I also had several revisions and a round of beta-readers who in general had very positive impressions. Their comments helped me to improve Humanborn and kept me motivated.
Even though Humanborn is a stand-alone novel, I always knew there would be a chance for a sequel. I didn’t have space to explore certain things, and several plots remained hidden. A traitor or two made an appearance in Humanborn, but their sinister actions never got revealed, and some characters were still keeping secrets they didn’t get to tell.
That’s why this year I started working on Myth-touched, the second book in what could become a trilogy or series. It’s been a lot of fun developing the plot as several characters introduced in Humanborn meet their end on the pages of Myth-touched. It’s going to be a while before I finish it, but I already have over 70,000 words and the base structure of the story laid out.
As usual, revisiting the well-known corners of the city I lived in for over 8 years is immense fun, and weaving an intrigue for Myth-touched got me cackling like a witch at times.
Status: as of now, Humanborn is done, and Myth-touched is close to “first draft done”.
By the Pact
I’m still much in love with my sword & sorcery fantasy following an arcanist Kamira and her friend, Veelk who have to find a way to free a demon if they want to prevent a cataclysm.
Last year I finished the last draft after receiving very helpful feedback from my beta-readers, but at some point I realized that I’m not entirely happy with how it turned out. It seemed that even though my readers liked the story and the characters, they also weren’t fully satisfied – in short, they wanted “more” of everything. It seemed quite impossible to fit that “more” into a mammoth of a novel that By the Pact already is at 120,000 words.
That’s why, even though I started jotting down scenes for book 2, I made a decision to let this project simmer for a while. When I’m ready, I’m going to return to it and do a major rewrite that might result in splitting the first book in two. Getting By the Pact done might be my goal for 2019, especially with two short stories with Kamira and Veelk published within the last two years, but it’s hard to make plans yet.
Status: Previous version done, but needs a complete rewrite.
The Spirit’s Anchor
To be honest, I haven’t worked much on this dark fantasy in the past two years. The major problems with the storyline and my main character’s motivation lingered, and I didn’t seem to find any satisfactory solution. Every now and then, I still reread what I already have, and the good bits make me want to work on it again. Yet, without figuring out the current problems, it would mean writing myself into a corner again.
Though, it seems, my plotting troubles might be over. The unequaled @JRBee agreed to help me. Not only did she listen through my long explanation of the setting and the story line, but she also agreed to hear all the spoilers that were necessary for it. On top of that, she spent long hours going back and forth with me as I tried to figure out which of her magnificent suggestions would work, and bounced some more ideas of her.
The result? I still need to flesh out some of the plot bits, but at least now I know how I want to do it, and my main character has now a strong and compelling motivation. This means that I might be diving into this novel as soon as I wrap up some of my more pressing projects.
Status: Waiting for the final outline, plus about 40,000 words to be rewritten.
Healing Their Love (previously The Healer’s Apprentice), Warding Their Love, Their Love Between the Pages (working titles)
The fantasy romance telling a story of a healer’s apprentice engaging in a fake relationship with a spoiled nobleman who has dangerous secrets was fun to write two years ago. So whenever I didn’t feel like working on something serious, I’d revisit it and revise the scenes, adding a bit more flesh to the scenes. I ended up with a moderately sized novel (at least for a romance) of 67,000 words. I wasn’t sure whether I want to do anything more with it, but my volunteer readers claimed it’s definitely worth some more work.
And since writing fantasy romance is so much fun, I accidentally ended up drafting a trilogy of three loosely-connected novels. They have different settings and main characters, but all focus on “scholar girls” who find love with the help their vocation or craft.
Until now, I never considered myself a romance writer, though I definitely feel affiliated with the genre. When I was young, I’d read quite a few romances, and they contributed to those stories. Besides, all my longer projects have at least a hint of romance in them, so maybe I’m not that far off?
Status: The Healer’s Apprentice is in never-ending revisions (so, somewhat done, but I’m still tinkering with it), Warding Their Love has its first draft finished, and Love Between the Pages has an outline plus some scenes drafted.
A new project of mine that I’m not ready to talk more about yet. I have the whole storyline figured out, and some key scenes written down, but to flesh them out and make sure everything works, I need to do some additional world building. As I wrote what I could call the “draft zero,” some problems with my setting became apparent, so I decided… I’d change the setting. It’s going to be a bit tricky, as the world affects the story and the characters, so I need to balance the old ideas with the new. It’s still better than working on this project for months only to realize that some things would be impossible in the world I created, destroying both the story itself and the future readers’ immersion. I prefer to wait and make sure that everything will work out to my and my readers’ satisfaction.
Status: “draft zero” with the outline and bare story structure, about 40,000 words
Projects on hold
Colony Three, my science-fiction, is still in pieces as I haven’t figured out certain details connected to the plot. From my experience, if I start writing before I have all the strings attached, I end up stuck, and Colony Three requires a careful weaving of a family reunion with a criminal investigation, and a conspiracy to throw two opposing factions into a war. So, the story of a brother and sister meeting for the first time since she went missing on a virus-infested planet years earlier will have to wait.
Alien Mine, my “enemies to lovers” science-fiction romance is also on hold. While I’d love to work on this story, I have other projects I want to focus on first. I also hope that leaving it be will help me to find a solution to the part of the book that seems to be dragging a bit. So there, that’s my excuse for not working on it yet.
What? More projects?
It might come as a surprise, but I have even more ideas. There’s that odd fantasy story that I’d been crunching over for the last 10 years or so. I couldn’t quite figure out how to make two dimensions, time travel, and reincarnation work together. Recently I figured out how to solve those problems – partially through elimination and streamlining, partially by altering my initial ideas – and I got most of the story down. But since it’ll need a lot of revisions down the line, I only work on it when I need a break from other projects.
There’s also that (yet another) postapocalyptic fantasy that at the moment is in the extensive world building stage with only seeds of a plot. And, one day, I’d love to return to my cyberpunk idea of a series of short stories linked together into a novel-like structure. The first one, Karel on the Other Side, is ready and published (and you can check it out for free), and the second one is in making, but with so many other things, I’m not adding this one to my “to do” list… at least not yet.
And a dark fantasy romance, possibly verging on erotica, that I’ve been writing for fun, but the story seems solid enough to consider adding it to my future revisions roster.
Phew, that was a long list! And I thought that two years ago I had a lot on my plate. But, as you can see, even though I work on many things at the time, most of them see steady progress. Some of them could even be considered completed—if I didn’t decide to rewrite them entirely!
It seems that I’m going to be very busy in the upcoming year, or maybe even years, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Of course, things are bound to change. I’ll put some projects on hold or shift my focus from one to another. Or new ideas will take place of the things that can’t seem to work out. It’s all part of the process, and one of the things I embrace as a writer. And, in a way, it’s also a nice reminder for those darker days, that no matter what my inner critic says, I’m creative and I have a lot of ideas I love.
Is there any project on the list that particularly sparked your interest? If you were making the decision – which one would be getting a priority stamp?
The graphics in this post were made for the #WipAesthetics game on Twitter. Images are courtesy of Unsplash or come from my own collection.
Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games.
Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English.
Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.