If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you’re not only missing some quality retweets, but you also missed this update wherein I admitted to the four pieces of writing I’m planning to finish this year:
— Ashley M. Hill (@CleverlyTitled) May 1, 2015
As I said there, this might be a little bit ambitious — three of those are novels, one of which is still only in the first chapter of the first draft. That said, I’m feeling ambitious about it this goal. For one, I’ve recently become a disciple of the synopsis. I wrote one for SEVEN SISTERS and I am never going back to pantsing ever again. So I thought it would be fun (and focusing, for my benefit) to lay out what each of these goals actually means to me.
This is my current Camp NaNoWriMo project. It started with the title “Disney Princesses Travel the Universe, Because Why the Fuck Not.” In truth, most of my ideas start like that. DREAMING OF EDEN started out as “Cyberpunk Sleeping Beauty.” It then became what I’m calling a space regency adventure. Which sounds utterly silly, but is exactly what happened. I created a setting and planetary system that has more in common with a fantasy or regency setting but put it in space. I’m owning this. It’s awesome. I already have a synopsis for this book, and possible plot points for further books in the story — but that’s hard to say until I have the first one written. All I have to do is actually sit down and write this one. It’s my current priority piece.
Lesbian Space Noir
This was my entire concept for this novel — these three words. I wanted to write a sci-fi noir, and I wanted it to be about lesbians. It was actually my Camp NaNoWriMo project for 2014, and it’s been languishing with about 9,000 words written for far, far too long. Honestly, this can be looked at easily as a proto version of my current Camp NaNoWriMo project — because I sat down and said, “I want to write a woman-lead story about badass flawed ladies doing something interesting.” Apparently when springtime hits, I want to write about women. To finish this, I’ll need to write a synopsis from all my scattered notes. Then I’ll just need to write it. I have a general idea of how the story goes, and I forgot how much I like the setting until just now. The Catholic church controls a system of planets called “The Trinity.” Catholicism in space! This is some hammy nonsense — and I can’t wait to write it.
Survival Horror Short
So, I think the idea of being adrift in space is scary — and then one day I thought, “Man, how fucked up would it be to have committed to dying alone, drifting through space, and then against all odds find yourself saved by crashing into an abandoned space station?” The space station may not actually be abandoned. I want to actually finish this. Like, the other three goals here are to get them to first draft status. This one I want to complete and start submitting this year. Short stories are not very intuitive for me — I tend to go novel or go home — so this may actually be more challenging than the other three goals.
DREAMING OF EDEN
This is honestly the hardest one for me, because it’s more than just a story I like — it’s this whole thing about who I am as a writer. It makes it hard for me to really figure out what the hell to do with it. There are, to date, seven fucking drafts of this novel, with varying degrees of difference between them. The most recent one became a heist novel, and I stopped writing it because it was entertaining but didn’t feel right. It felt like I was writing DREAMING OF EDEN fanfiction. The more I reflect on this, the more I agree with the friends who told me that deciding to rewrite the first novel I ever completed while also getting divorced was a bad plan. I’ve spent so long telling myself, “Well, no one bought this novel, so clearly it is wrong and must be totally overhauled,” that I’ve really gotten disconnected from the story itself. So my goal here is to reread the last complete draft — the one that made it’s rounds to editors back in 2012 — and mine it for what works, and complete a new first draft within that context. The novel itself needs work, and there are problems solved by the first half of the seventh draft that I intend to weave into the original story. But damn it, this was never a heist novel. Why was I writing it like a heist novel?