Wings of Malice, comps, and Sade

Okay, so I’ve abandoned any and all attempts at having a break, because it’s just not working. Instead, I’m placing all my thoughts, effort, and time into continuing my work on Wings of Malice, a young adult fantasy novel.

I left Wings of Malice about a year ago after hitting a wall, but also, more importantly, to start my National Novel Writing Month project, Eleanor.

Getting back into it after such a long break has been tough. Fortunately, I did leave the project with most of it already complete. At this stage, I’m merely going through and refreshing my memory of the story and plot, and doing my 3rd round of edits as I read. There are of course areas where I will need to write up new stuff. This is just typical of my process. I’ll be onto my 2nd or 3rd round of edits on a project, but then will have a fair few blank spaces or chapters, which I have neglected (and usually continue to neglect, in favour of something easier!) To that I say, “No!”

I know it’s wrong, but I keep doing it!

Of course, after working on Eleanor, I’ve learnt some things about my writing. Most importantly, I’ve learnt how to identify errors that I make. And it is difficult, because I’m relatively blind to my own errors. I’m easily able to identify them in a client’s work, but it is harder to do so for my own. I cannot explain why. I suppose it is simply a matter of having fresh eyes looking at it. Knowing a story so well, and being able to picture every aspect of it, makes me blind to see how it is truly conveyed in my writing.

As I look over Wings of Malice now, I can see some of those errors that I had been making. Some of them appear quite obvious now (it has been a year since looking at the project), such as issues with point of view. Though, I think that was more to do with my inability to decide on 3rd person omniscient or 3rd person limited. Also, each chapter focuses on a different character and so, once again, I had difficulty in deciding whose point of view should be showcased. Trust me, it’s a thing. And I’m working on it! Though, I confess, I still have trouble every now and then with slipping from 3rd person limited to 3rd person omniscient. I’ll blame it on the fact that prior to 2013, I wrote everything in 1st person. There we go!

With Eleanor, however, I had already made the decision on p.o.v, etc before I started writing it.

I can also see how my writing and writing process have developed since last year — even just the little things. I am now able to organise and prioritise my work better. 12- to 14-hour days are a norm now, and my impossible deadlines are starting to become a reality. National Novel Writing Month has made me realise my true potential. I had never thought it possible to write 50k words within a month, and did not expect myself to even finish, but I did! So, the pessimist in me is trying to learn to become more confident in my ability.

Now, where were we?
Ah, of course! To help keep me motivated and committed to Wings of Malice (at least until NaNoWriMo this year), I will be employing the services of Phoenix Johnson Graphic Design once again.

Phoenix Johnson Graphic Design

If you remember, Phoenix designed the deliciously orgasmic cover for Eleanor.

Eleanor by Cadence

I have a few design ideas for Wings of Malice, but nothing set in stone as yet. And this will of course mean rewriting the blurb. It is awful, I know. I’m horrible at writing blurbs. I know I’m not alone in this though… ahem… right?

In other news…
Comps! If you remember, last week I discussed how I would research possible comparable titles to Eleanor. I recently started reading, The House I Loved, by Tatiana de Rosnay — a potential candidate for my list. I’m only about halfway through, so I’m not certain I will name it as a comp, but it is a neo-Victorian or, as it’s set in France, neo-Napoleon III? No? Neapolitan, then? Napolitana? Should I just shut up? Okay, will do. 😛

The House I Loved - Tatiana de Rosnay

Speaking of Napoleon III, or at least a Napoleon, I suppose it’s the right time to reveal my NaNoWriMo project idea. I will be writing a piece on the Marquis de Sade. Shock. Horror! I know, I’m quite predictable. I love reading about his life though. And, I thought I’d put my Honours thesis research to use because, quite honestly, I don’t think I have it in me right now to get my paper ready for an academic publication. Not now, at least.

Oh, and there is a link between Napoleon and Sade, don’t worry. I’m not making things up. I’ll let you know more details as soon as I figure them out myself. Right now, the plan is to write about a series of important events in Sade’s life. Each chapter will reveal a different event. I know, right now it doesn’t sound exciting. I’m stuck between not wanting to explain too much of it, and not knowing how to even express it! It’s in my head, figuring itself out (and now casually listening to The Cranberries’ “Zombie”).

You really don’t want to know how my mind works, and why it wanders where it does!

Anyway, thanks for keeping up to date with my work. Join me again next week!


Limbo and finding comp titles

Taking this “relaxing” week off (after finishing up Eleanor) is just not happening. I’m feeling a little empty not working those 14-18 hour days. So, I’ve been considering starting a new project, but I know I should stay Eleanor-focused. It will need more work, I know that. It’s just this bloody break. What should I be doing?

I think I should be checking out comparable works in the genre. That’s what I should be doing!

So that’s what I started doing yesterday.

The plan is to come up with a list of comp titles, so when I submit to publishers they know what Eleanor is like. Pretty simple, right? Well, sort of. I need to find books in the “neo-Victorian” subgenre of historical fiction, which I think Eleanor would fall into. I didn’t even know “neo-Victorian”, as a genre, existed until recently.

In my search, I came across something interesting (well, something that I thought was interesting). Did you know Penny Dreadful is a comic book? Based off the TV series. Did you know that?

Yes? Oh, never mind then.

Penny Dreadful comic book

Anyway, I thought it might be a good comp, possibly. Even though it’s a comic. Still, it gives you an idea of the kind of theme, tone, or style that Eleanor is like, right? Well, that’s the point.

The entire “neo-Victorian” genre and culture as a whole, is quite popular today and that popularity is only growing. If we look to fashion, Victorian or steampunk events (I attended one a few years ago, and it was awesome!), films like Hysteria and, of course, the TV show Penny Dreadful (and even Downton Abbey), we can see the influence the Victorian/Edwardian/Gothic has on us today.

Mostly, I’m looking for Victorian/Gothic/Romantic historical fiction, with the same (or similar) language and style you would find from works of that time.

Newt Aliens Mostly looking for neo-Victorian, mostly

I’m also looking at reimaginings of V/G/R works, like Frankenstein, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dickensian works, and so on.

I’m considering adding Going Postal by Terry Pratchett to that list, as Adora Belle Dearheart is an amazingly strong, independent character, and I see shared elements between her and Eleanor. Though, Pratchett is (or sadly, was) a god in the literary world, so choosing him, or his work, as a comp might be a big leap for little ol’ me.

Still, she is kickarse!

Adora Belle Dearheart

In any case, it means me having to read a shitload of books. I have around 16 on my list so far. Don’t worry, that list is growing.

So, what’s coming up?
TeamBeta is reading through Eleanor, and I’m very patiently awaiting their response.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Veruca Salt

So, while that’s happening, I’ll continue looking for comps. I’ll start reading a few, and maybe I’ll get cracking on some of my other projects. A Travesty, for instance, or Wings of Malice.

And then what?
Well, as I have noted, I have an editor in mind for taking on Eleanor. I’m hoping (after TeamBeta has finished looking over my manuscript), to send in a request for her amazing services.

Also, as I mentioned in my previous post, I have been considering a new project (for National Novel Writing Month), and I’m very eager to start it. It is quite different from my usual writings. It’s still historical fiction, but it will deal with themes that I wouldn’t dare explore normally. Even the language itself, will be quite challenging, but I want to challenge myself. It will shock you, trust me, as it shocks me thinking about what exactly I will be writing.

Until then…

I’ll leave you all waiting with bated breath 😉

Eleanor – You’re done!

Oh my god! Eleanor is DONE!!! I can’t believe it.

412 pages edited in 4 weeks! Boo yah!


Eleanor word count June 2

Maybe I should have posted a picture of a ‘The End’? Meh.

Hang on…

the end

There we go 😛

It’s quite surreal. I never truly thought this day would come. I’m so used to self-sabotage that I never expected to get a complete manuscript out. A Travesty and Wings of Malice are just two examples of unfinished (and near compete) manuscripts, which I’ve abandoned because of the fear of what’s to come next. One day I’ll come back to them, I’m sure, but for now…

Eleanor is now currently being read by my beta team (TeamBeta). You know who you are! Thank you so much for donating your time and eyeballs. It means a lot to me.

So, what now?
This week, I’m planning on relaxing, which actually means doing other people’s editing, haha! I will also be cat-sitting for someone in the city, so the change of environment will do me wonders, I’m sure. And, although I need to do work, I will try and do some proper relaxing as well, don’t worry. I want to get my mind off Eleanor for a while, and focus on other important things like smooching cats, playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, watching YouTubers play Until Dawn (I know! I’ve watched maybe 10 playthroughs, but every one of them is different and I can’t get enough), catching up on some much-needed reading (still need to finish Vendetta), and sleeping more than 5 hours a night.

However, I’m already thinking about my next project — something I’m considering for National Novel Writing Month, so I might jot down a few ideas (I’ve already started!)

Once my beta team get through Eleanor (and I’ve made any amendments necessary), I’m going to contact an editor I have in mind. Fingers crossed she’ll take on my manuscript. I’m hoping this will all happen before the end of July. I’m setting myself a reasonable deadline for myself this time! (Still can’t believe I edited my manuscript in only 4 weeks!)

What else?
God, I don’t know. As you know, this is all new to me. I suppose I’ll have to really start getting into research mode on publishers. Yep, still looking to publish the ol’ traditional way. There’s one in particular I’ve been looking at. They require a cover letter (as I imagine most publishers do), so that might be something I will work on this week coming as well.

Oh, and the ending?
It was hard choosing from the 5 different endings I had planned (and written), but I think I chose the best possible one. I really do, and that is hard for me to say, given how I usually end my novels. I went with something well off from what I had initially planned. And, I know it’s a pain in the arse to say, but really, I don’t want to ruin anything for you guys. Maybe, in time, I will consider publishing (on this site) my alternative endings, and you can critique each one 😉

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me throughout this massive project — my friends, family, followers, cat, and bunny.

Don’t leave me now!
Stay tuned, because I will be posting more updates on Eleanor as they come. Until then…

Since I’ve been watching so much Until Dawn lately, O’ Death has become a bit of a theme song for this week. I love this song. Have a listen.

I sing it every time.

Bye for now!

Eleanor update – end sort of still in sight

These last two weeks have been so stressful. See, I have a terrible habit of setting myself impossible deadlines. I said to myself, “Self,” I said, “You can edit 400 pages in 4 weeks, easily!” And hey, I probably could have reached my weekly deadlines, if it weren’t for things getting in the way, such as my day job, eating, sleeping… all that stuff. But, you know what? I’m still going to do it. Even if it kills me, I’m going to finish editing all these (now 410!) pages before the end of next week. It’s okay… it’s only 128 pages left.

But, you know, I also have to rewrite one or two scenes, blah, blah, blah.

THEN, onto my beta readers. They’ve been waiting very patiently, so let’s all give them a round of applause! I’ll forward on your cheers to them.

Also, I want to apologise. So many of you were upset you didn’t get an update from me last week regarding Eleanor. I think stress got the best of me, and quite frankly, I was burnt out. I told myself to relax, to just skip one week. Yet, my legions of fans were disappointed, and for that I’m sorry.

By the way, you guys know that I’m only pretending to be really arrogant, right? Cool. Just wanted to be sure you knew.


Right, well, now that that has all been settled, and I’ve regained the love of my adoring fans, I’ll get back to Eleanor.

So, by my calculations, I am roughly 68.78048781% into my edits. I am reasonably happy with that. I tell myself I am reasonably happy with that. Though, I was hoping to have hit 75% by now, as you know. So here we are…

Eleanor word count June

But… if I push on, I can still potentially reach that goal.

So, Cadence, what’s next?
Well, I’ll tell you… what’s next. After my beta readers… have a read, I am going to contact an editor (because let’s face it, I’m not perfect at editing — I get a little semi colon and em dash happy at times) to see if she’d be willing to take on Eleanor. Yes, I have an editor in mind, an amazing editor, so fingers crossed!

In the meantime?
I’ll be looking at traditional publishing. I have a few publishers in mind. It will be a LONG process, I know, but I am willing to take on all the heartache down that road because I really believe in Eleanor. One heartache close in sight — writing a cover letter for submissions.

In the future?
I’m already thinking about my next project. Don’t worry, I will fill you in on all the details as they come. This will likely be a project for National Novel Writing Month, so I will essentially be doing planning, research, and so forth. I do also have two other projects in the works however, as you know — A Travesty (my first novel) and Wings of Malice (my second novel). And, as you know, I kind of abandoned those two novels after hitting a major wall. Once I hit around 80k words I start to get a little lost, and self-sabotagey. I think it comes down to the fear of ‘what’s next?’ But it hasn’t happened with Eleanor. I won’t let it. So, those novels are also candidates for the near future.

Getting sidetracked
One last thing. I seriously can’t stop looking at the cover design for Eleanor. I am in love with it. Phoenix Johnson has done an amazing job, especially as she is new to designing — this was her first paid gig!

Eleanor edited

Join me next week for another exciting instalment of, What’s going on with Cadence and that novel, Eleanor, she keeps talking about? Until then…