You are currently viewing All the Novels I Write – the 2018 Edition

All the Novels I Write – the 2018 Edition

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.

Humanborn and Myth-touched
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
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”.

Humanborn and Myth-touched (pictures in this one are all from me)
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.

By the Pact
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.

The Spirit’s Anchor
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.

Warding Their Love
Dark fantasy

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.

Dark fantasy romance
Future plans

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

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.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. authorglendathompson

    I’m impressed, overwhelmed, and somewhat embarrassed. Wow! I can’t wait to read these. And now I need to get my butt in the chair, and get to work on my own WIPs. Thanks for the motivation!

    1. Melfka

      Thank you, Glenda. No reason to be embarrassed, though. Every writer have their own process, and some work better focusing on a single project (or a select few), and some – jumping all over the place, like I do.
      But I’m glad my post motivated you. Get those words down!

  2. Alchemy Ocelot

    Wow, that’s a lot of projects on your plate, but you’ve been writing so much much longer than I do, so I guess my unifinished project are still waiting to accrue. I’m currently finalizing my structural editing on Siren Anomaly and despite having seeds for many other things I prefer to stick to finishing this one first, especially that it’s the second year of work on it and I’m slowly starting ot see the end, there, in the gap between Caffeine Mountain and Procrastrigoblin Ridge. Shadow War I have put on hold after listing ALl the beginner’s mistakes on a piece of paper, laughing and going shopping for wine.

    1. Melfka

      I think it’s more of a process difference than how long I’ve been writing. Most of the projects listed in this post are from the last2-3 years. Being part of 365 Club made me write consecutively, 365k, 183k, and (aiming for) 365k words each year. Some of it might be in short stories and blog posts, but most is in novels.
      I do like working this way, because switching around prevents being burned out/writer’s block, and having several works means I get some time away from each, returning to them with fresh eyes.
      But I know writers who only focus on one project at a time and it works best for them. 🙂

  3. J.R.Bee

    Holy hand grenade of Antioch! How are you able to walk straight whilst keeping all those worlds in your head?
    I have never tried to work on more than two projects at a time. The reasoning being that I don’t get much time to write, so if any progress gets made it has to be on one thing, two if I’m stuck 😀

    1. Alchemy Ocelot

      “O Lord, bless this Thy hand grenade that, with it, Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits in Thy mercy.”

    2. Melfka

      If you ask Inq, he’ll tell you I can’t walk straight (at least not without tripping over something or nothing), and if I ask me… I’ll remain diplomatically silent. 😉
      No wonder you don’t work on more projects – you’re so busy with filming, I’m surprised you manage to squeeze in some writing or editing every now and then!

      1. J.R.Bee

        Ah, yes. Walking into walls again= deep plotting 😀 I haven’t written a thing for months now. But never mind, it’ll be there to try and remember what the hell I’m doing for the next bout of “oh, maybe I could be a writer” 😀

        1. Melfka

          You are a writer already – you’re just taking a break because of life. 🙂

          1. J.R.Bee

            Just realised I too have a tendency to walk into walls. It hurts.

          2. Melfka

            I can relate though I actively try to avoid the walls. 😉

  4. sjhigbee

    I’m fascinated that you have so many projects that are in progress – but I’m guessing that with your very peripatetic life, various inspirations have smitten you at various times – and then you’ve forced to shelve them due to moves, major life changes, etc – and when you’ve surfaced, something else is rattling around your skull.

    I love the sound of them all – and I can see why some still need to be put on hold and others have continued to be worked on. My question to you – which one is calling the loudest to YOU? Because – as someone who has one or three writing projects in the wings – my advice would be to work on the one that wants attention and won’t leave you in peace.

    That said, the urban fantasy, Dublin-based ‘Humanborn’ and ‘Myth-touched’ both sound really promising:)). Thank you for sharing these – it’s been lovely to hear allll about them!

    1. Melfka

      I think working on so many things was part of my evolution as a writer. I used to not be able to finish anything, so I told myself, “one project at the time – finish one, and you’ll be allowed to work on something else”. So I did, and I succeeded. But once I learned that I’m actually capable of working on more projects, I started writing more again.
      The problem is that all of them are calling for me, but all have their own issues, so I switch back and forth. Myth-touched needs a bit of pacing fix, some other require worldbuilding or plugging a plot hole. While I work through these problems in my head, I write other things to not be idle – and to have more things to edit later, when I feel burned out.
      Then, there’s a matter of whether I want to be traditionally published (and then, “urban fantasy doesn’t sell”, “romance is a hard sell, and fantasy romance is a small niche”, and so on – so I shouldn’t be working on these), or self-publish (I should stick to one sub-genre for a time being, before branching off) – such decision would affect what I should be working on. And since I don’t feel ready to make it, I’m still working on “everything”. 🙂

      1. sjhigbee

        At the moment, if that’s working for you, then that’s fine. But if you feel you are short-circuiting yourself, then maybe you need to sieve through some of the projects and focus. There’s only one person who can make those decision for you, however – and that’s you. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt after 10 years of teaching Creative Writing, is that everyone’s approach to their own creativity is individual. What works brilliantly for one person will be toxic for another. But, speaking generally, I would just say that flipping between projects tends to dilute focus and prevent editing from being so effective. It’s the time when you need to drill beneath the surface of your story and get to the subtext to ensure your characterisation, background and plot progression are all coherent and building towards a layered, interesting narrative.

        Regarding the indie/traditional question, that is still a question you can park while you continue working on your projects – although you are right. If you want to self publish, you will need a series, or a number of books in the same sub-genre before branching out in order to establish your brand:).

        1. Melfka

          This “…everyone’s approach to their own creativity is individual. What works brilliantly for one person will be toxic for another…” should be slammed into every aspiring writer’s face, probably repeatedly. So many people get stuck on someone else’s perfect process.
          As for diluting focus – I can see that perspective, but then again, it’s a matter of the process. Most of the times, I identify issues while I read my work (and I re-read it easily 20-30 times if not more in total), then I figure out solutions while working on something else or doing chores, etc. so when I get back to actual editing, I have a very clear understanding what the issue is and how to fix it. This means that I can work in “short bursts” (we’re still talking about at least a couple of hours at the time, though 😉 ). What I hate the most is staring at the blank/unedited page desperately trying to figure out solution as more and more time passes – it tends to eat up more time and focus than switching to something else.
          I guess it’s because my background is translation: often, when hung up on a particular sentence (looking for good wording for the translation or figuring out how to reflect in another language a particularly uncooperative idiom), it helps to move on, keep translating and return to it later. When you’re on a deadline, you can’t always afford sitting for an hour and staring at that sentence, so I guess it rubbed on my writing process. 🙂
          As for the indie/traditional, I think I found an answer I’m happy with. Of course, things might change, because life is unpredictable, but at least I have specific goals in mind.

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