StoryPort is back! What I’ve been doing for five months…

StoryPort is back! What I’ve been doing for five months…

posted in: Personal | 5

Hello, friends! It has been far, far too long. How are you?

I never meant for this blog’s hiatus to last five months (*long sigh*), but you see… I’ve been busy. (More on that in a second.)

Before I jump back into blogging about writing tips for adventure novels (beginning next Thursday!), I want to take a moment to share what’s been going on in my personal and professional life, for those who wish to know.

Also, this will be one of the last personal updates you’ll ever hear from me… on this blog, anyway! I’ll explain why – and what I mean by that – at the end of this blog post. But it includes a little announcement that excites me. I hope it excites you, too!

First: What I’ve been up to… (or: “Were you abducted by aliens, Brianna?”)

No, I was not abducted by aliens, thankfully. I was, however, abducted by something else.

*cue sunshine and glitter and a giant word spreading over a rainbow*


My new job

Part of why I’ve been gone so long is that I transitioned to a full-time job with long commutes that disrupted my schedule. I’m very grateful for this opportunity, but it forced me to put a lot of things on hold while I figured out how to re-structure my life.

I did finally discover a way to get back into blogging, though: By writing on the metro! #CommutesRedeemed

My novel(lla)

Of course, many of you may remember why I took this hiatus in the first place: To focus on finishing the very emotionally taxing second draft of my novella, The Rebel of Mosoria.

Well, guess what? I finished it!

*cue trumpets and confetti*

I completed the draft on a personal writing retreat in Florida. It was glorious! I took a week off from work in early November, and stayed at a beach house – completely by myself. (Talk about introvert heaven.)

Idyllic beach sunset
I took these sunset pictures minutes after sending The Rebel of Mosoria to beta readers. It was such a peaceful, euphoric way to close out that leg of the writing journey!

I was looking forward to this trip almost all year. It was my main vacation of 2016, in fact. The timing worked out just perfectly that I could finish the draft while I was there. I’m so grateful it did!

However, I can no longer call The Rebel of Mosoria a novella. Between the first and second drafts, it ballooned from 30k words to 59k words, which makes it a short novel, but a novel nonetheless. From now on, I’ll just refer to it as my “prequel”, rather than my “novella” (since it is the prequel to my much longer WIP, City of Reckoning).

After completing the second draft, I sent TRoM to beta readers, and quickly received feedback. There were many positive and negative comments, giving me much to think about. I’m putting the prequel aside for now, though, while I work on something else…

My (big) novel

I started the fourth draft of City of Reckoning. And ohhhh Lord… this is probably the heaviest edit so far.

I finally get to incorporate all the beta reading feedback and the feedback from my editor last year. (I was too busy working on TRoM to do all that until now.)

Meanwhile, I’m trying not to tear out my hair. *screams through a toothy smile* It’s hard not to be overwhelmed because it’s just. so. much. work.

To show you what I mean, here are some things I’m changing in this draft. I am:

  • Switching the entire book from first person (with multiple perspectives, which was a bit jarring) to third person.
  • Deepening the POV of all characters to be more in tune with their thoughts and emotions.
  • Majorly beefing up my protagonist’s character development and arc.
  • Solving a slew of world-building gaps, inaccuracies, and inconsistencies.
  • Fixing plot problems or just improving plot where I found opportunities to do so… and adjusting for the explosion of ripple effects caused by these changes.

Also, I’ve gotten a lot of ideas – not from any feedback, but just from my own evaluation – on ways to make the novel more epic and emotional. For previous beta readers, there will be some fun surprises when they read the final, published work. (Mwahaha.)

But, guys. I’m doing all of this… on a 260k-word novel. *rapid panting* Which – after much deliberation, deep thinking, and discussion with readers – I’ve decided will mostly likely stay a 260k-word novel.

It’ll be a tome. I think the story is better that way. I won’t make as much money off of it, but that’s okay. Story first, money second. That’s my personal standard, and my promise to you, if you end up becoming a reader. 🙂

Brianna holding two printed books: The Rebel of Mosoria and City of Reckoning.
Just to see how they’d feel and look, I printed the current drafts of both my books using Create Space. Pretty cool to hold them in actual book form!

Still, that’s a lot of work to do on a massive novel. And my full-time job makes it hard to put aside time for anything. I’ve only made a dent in this draft, and it’s been more than three months.

Please remind me on occasion not to despair, okay? To keep plugging way, no matter how slow progress is? Okay. Thank you.

On a positive note, I’m really, really enjoying this fourth draft. I fully believe it is a stride in quality from the last one, and I’m so excited to share it when it’s done. I just have… to be… patient.

I published a book… sort of!

In other news, I published a book! Well… kind of. Let me explain.

Chronicles of Destiny book cover
Even the cover is pure satire. I mean, come on. You can’t go wrong with over-texturized, beveled, glowing, unrealistically-shadowed papyrus font, can you?

Last summer, I wrote a comedic, super-short eBook called Chronicles of Destiny. It is pure satire and ridiculousness, poking fun at tropes in fantasy, young adult fiction, and whatever-the-heck-else I felt like at the time.

It’s also very intentionally terribly written.

Here’s a quote to give you an idea of what this book is like:

Lethorinthúr read the mark. “it says in the ancient language… thalith oris orino balron irith allen.

“what does that mean?” quoth Agalathorn and Eodwyn at the same time. they looked at each other embarrassedly and blushed.

“it means…” Lethorinthór lifted his ivory chin to the fading west with a flick of his pastel green eyes. “the CHOSEN ONE.

Because this book is essentially just a joke, I published it a few weeks ago it under the pen name of J.K. Ashton.

But I took it a step further. J.K. Ashton has her own Twitter account, where she brags about how amazing and world-changing her book is. I created an entire persona and even a costume for her. She has a Goodreads too, where she compares her book to other classics (which are all far inferior, in her eyes).

If you want a laugh, and you appreciate this kind of parody, have fun stalking J.K. online, or even snag the book itself for $0.99. It is, in fact, really published and available for purchase.

But it’s terrible. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. xD

Second: This is one of my last personal updates. Here’s why.

This is probably the last time I’ll write a personal update about my personal/writing life… for StoryPort, that is.

Soon, I’m going to split this blog into two blogs. (Because of course I have so much time, right?) It occurred to me that this website is trying to straddle between two purposes, and potentially even serve two different audiences. I believe I’ll do better at both if I do them separately.

Very soon, my blogging will diverge into two sites:

  1. StoryPort: A blog for adventure writers with all the writing tips, interviews, and encouragement for crafting epic novels.
  2. My author website: A place for writing updates, and essays on issues like gender, society, and faith, exploring how they impact the stories we read, write, and live.

I can’t wait to get started on this more “personal” blog. There so many important topics that have been burning on my heart for months, all of which both tie into the themes of the novels I’m writing, and are relevant to much of what’s happening in the world right now.

It’ll be awesome. And controversial. You might not agree with all the stances I take. Or maybe you will. But either way, it’ll be fun. 😉

Expect more information on this split soon! Meanwhile, enjoy the good old writing tips for epic adventure, starting up again next Thursday.

It’s good to be back. Great times are ahead!

For discussion…

What have you been up to in the last five months? Has anything significant happened in your personal/writing life? Let me know in the comments below!

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5 Responses

  1. Midna
    | Reply

    Hi! I first made my way to your blog when your post “The Right Way to Torture Your Characters” showed up on my Pinterest. Of course I HAD to read it *imagine a cross between evil and nervous chuckling*. I LOVE your blog. It’s great that you’re back at it again.

    P.S. I can’t wait to read your books!

    • Brianna da Silva
      | Reply

      Hi Midna! That is so cool to hear that you came to my blog through Pinterest! ^_^ Mwahaha, that is one of the evilest posts I have here, isn’t it? ;D And aw, thank you so much! I really appreciate you commenting to tell me that… it means a lot! ^_^

      • Midna
        | Reply

        Thank you for replying to me!

  2. A.S. Akkalon
    | Reply

    I’m so glad you’re back, and happy to hear about all the strides you’re making in your books. I look forward to being outraged by your author blog. 🙂

    • Brianna da Silva
      | Reply

      Thank you, friend! ^_^ Hehe, hopefully no one will be outraged. My passion and my approach is always to build empathy and hopefully build bridges between different perspectives and world views, rather than engaging in heated, one-sided arguments, which I think are a waste of time. Also, I try to keep an open mind in everything. But when you talk about controversial things, inevitably someone is going to get offended, no matter how you approach it. 😉

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