2022 Writing Projects
Hello and howdy my foxy folx! How has 2022 been so far? Mine has continued to be steady with more bright spots than not. I'm taking advantage of it to keep my momentum and focus on writing things because I'm hype about my 2022 projects. I have no idea if 2022 will bring me the outside recognition and achievement I'd like to see for my writing, so I intend to be very intentional about loving what I'm working on and shouting into the void about it, because I have things to say.
We all strive to have amazing writing groups, but the reality is that our writing groups are comprised of people who rarely live with us, much less in the same town, who have families and jobs and their own projects and aren’t actual keebler elf types who live in our brain trees (*gasp* Can you believe that malarky?!? That there are people out there not 100% devoted to yours truly??)
Having a heist crew (read all about mine HERE) to hype you up is vital, but in the end, that precious spark of hype needs to start with and reside in you. It’s okay if sometimes you can’t do it--that’s what friends are for, they’ll hold you up through the dark days, but you’ve got to keep that ember burning at your core that never shuts up about how absolutely fantastic you are. And that, dear friends, is what today’s post is about. It also fits into the “fake it until you make it” mentality because I’m totally pretending that the world at large has any interest in what I plan on writing in 2022. And I mean, they should because I write damn good stories and eventually y’all will be in the “I knew her when…” crowd. *finger guns*
So what am I working on in 2022? Gather round and let me spin you a yarn or two. Okay, three. Three yarns for 2022.
Hold up, let me backtrack just a titch. I’m not actively working on Harpy Girls aside from my final pre-query revisions, but I want to acknowledge it because it’s the project I’m querying this year. I’m hopeful it wings its way into a welcoming inbox because I adore my girls and want the world to love them too. This is a book I put a lot of myself into--and one day I hope I get to explain how different pieces of myself ended up on the page. But that's a story for another day! And since it’s in final pre-query revisions, I have the brainspace to work on other things, so buckle up, because here we go!
Zero Drafts = 2
1) Pony Death Gods
2) Harpy Girls II: Edria’s New Groove (previously titled Ryper's New Groove)
*CW: Suicide/Violent death
First on the docket is Pony Death Gods. (aka, Goodbye Merle)
I’m still struggling with writing a cohesive pitch because I haven’t yet found a succinct way to combine the internal and external stakes. But, basically Pony Death Gods is based off the poem The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes. This is my all time favorite poem, probably because I adore the version sung by Loreena McKennit, but also because I just swoon over how delightfully tragic it is.
The TL:DR version of The Highwayman is that a thief tells his secret girlfriend (Bess) he’ll be back the next morning with a bunch of gold, insinuating that they will then ride off into the world and live happily ever after. BUT! A jealous ostler (Tim) sees them and goes to the police, thinking that if he gets the highwayman arrested, then Bess will totally fall for him. The police show up and use her as bait, tying her up with a musket pointed at her for good measure and are waiting for the highwayman to come back so they can arrest him. But Bess is like no way m-fers, struggles to get loose of her bindings and gets a hold of the trigger. When she hears her boyfriend coming down the lane, she KILLS HERSELF TO WARN HIM and he flees. BUT!! The next morning he hears about how she died and is like OH HECK NO and gallops headlong into the authorities to take revenge…and they kill him. He dies. Violently.
Isn’t that just the most romantically tragic thing you’ve ever heard? And Noye’s poem is so much fun to read. That's the basis for Pony Death Gods, I wanted to focus in on Bess's story. Then I started on the what ifs. What if it was sapphic? What if the highwayman didn’t actually love the girlfriend? What if the girlfriend had incredibly strong Elle Woods vibes? What if she died in act I and became an undead goddess? I mean, you can see how this is fantastic, right? And thus, Merle Bennet (my Bess character) was born into my imagination.
I’ve been working through some details and I’ve pre-drafted (aka, NaNo '21) the first act, I have devoted Pinterest boards, a jammin' playlist, character names, and a vibe, and almost have the *big* plot worked out. I know Merle’s plot and what her personal stakes are, but I needed to couple it with some external things. Pony Death Gods will be a standalone and it'll be my first story that has a single POV. I’m also toying with maybe trying first person...but let's not get too crazy yet.
And did I mention the undead horses? There are undead horses, because you can’t be a proper horse-person of the apocalypse without a magnificent steed. My goal is to get my zero draft done by the end of the first quarter and then pick it up again in the 3rd quarter and make my revision plan, revise it and send it out to my first round of betas before the end of the year. #Goals
My second zero draft project is Harpy Girls II: Edria’s New Groove.
I’ve always known that Harpy Girls would be a duology in order to work correctly and I’ve played with pieces of it ever since finishing my original draft of Harpy Girls back in June of 2020, but I finally feel like I have a solid enough background in who my characters are and the world and figuring out big arcs and mini arcs, I’m ready to tackle the daunting task of writing a sequel. (Real talk, I’d love to do this BEFORE I get an agent or am on deadline because I’ve heard how tough a sequel can be, so if I can do it without outside pressure I feel like it would make a huge difference in my mental health & quality of writing as I draft)
The overall plot is R E V E N G E. Valen & Edria are in need of vengeance in order to be fulfilled and happy. There’s also a demi-romance arc to finish out because it takes Valen a long time to decide if she *actually* likes someone and there are some other choices to be made there too 🤐🤐🤐Not to mention I have to untangle Edria’s romantic world as she decides whether or not she should *actually* commit to someone. Plus some new friend angst and more explosions and spy stuff. It’s an Edria-centric story whereas book I was Valen-centric. I've known forever exactly how it ends and the thought of closing their story out fills me with absolute joy.
My goal is to draft this over the summer months, starting in quarter II and finishing at the beginning of Quarter III. Then I’ll let it sit until 2023 and deal with it as far as revisions and such.
My final project for 2022 is to revise SAMM (Such Angst, Much Moth).
SAMM was my second completed manuscript and I have the softest place in my heart for it. This past fall I had the brilliant idea to age it up into Adult from YA because there really wasn’t a single reason for it be YA aside from that is where my reading/writing comfort zone is. So I plan on working out a solid revision plan in my first quarter. From there, depending on what the world is doing and what I'm doing, I'll actually start on that revision. My overall goal is to get a revision drafted by the end of the year, but I have no plans on sending it to betas or workshopping it until 2023.
It feels daunting to make such a big shift, but at it's core, it's not changing. Finian will get to be more Finian, I can bring back Kyrdra's POV chapters, maybe add in some Kasdeya chapters, and I think this will give me the room to better develop and set up Rook's emotional wound/backstory. I know, y'all are reading this and are like WHO ARE THESE DORKS KATJA'S TALKING ABOUT. Look, they're amazing. SAMM is a story about secret dragons, a boy who's a monster & is in desperate need of new boots, and a girl who can talk to trees. Making it adult gives me more words to flesh out the complex world and political system and to be truer to who Finian and Rook are--they didn't quite fit into what the YA market wants for their YA protagonists.
And that's it writing wise. NO OTHER PROJECTS. NONE.
Which won't be a problem because I don't suffer from Bunny Brain where plot bunnies just show up and take over. I have always been a one idea at a time kind of gal. I have one new idea, one extended idea, and one revision. It feels like a lot because I've only ever done one major project a year. But this doesn't feel overwhelming and I have absolute faith in my ability to get it done. I recently learned that I have a "deliberate" leadership style and one of our strengths is getting things done well and on time--I'm hoping that transfers over into my writing!
I'd love to share my hype and my progress with you--I often tweet random memes and GIFs and thoughts about my WIPs on twitter, so if you'd like to be amused and confused, you know where to find me. What are y'all working on this year? What are you most excited about?