June 2021 Writing Update

The monthly writing updates are back, and with TWO exciting announcements!

First, a brief life update: I graduated with my master’s degree in May and started my first fulltime job earlier this week. I’m so excited to be done with school, and hope to replace evening homework time with daily writing. I’m setting a goal to write (or edit) 500 words on weekdays and 1000 words on weekends. I’ve started doing this during May, and while there have been a couple of days were I only wrote 500 words and called it good, most days I’ve gone above 1000. Granted, it is easier to keep up a consistent, strong writing rhythm without work, so I may have to adjust my approach. At the end of the day, the important thing is I want to be consistently writing again and I’m optimistic that I’m on a good trajectory.

I also rejoined the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and signed up to attend their virtual summer conference. I’m looking forward to it, as they have several intriguing sessions on their schedule! I see SCBWI as a helpful organization for me to be involved in as I work to maintain a consistent writing practice and pursue traditional publication.

So, what writing have I been working on? Let’s get into my two big writing updates: I’m working on two series.

First, I’m actually reworking on a series that has existed in some form since my high school days. Its placeholder name is the “Star Series,” and I started work on its current form back in early 2019. Its leap from its extensive development into the actual writing stage has been surprisingly difficult for me; I’ve attempted at least five different versions of the beginning since 2019. However, it’s gotten to the point where I just need to keep writing. More revisions are inevitable, but I think it would benefit me to continue exploring how the series needs to start through just writing a full draft of a first book. I have only a loose idea of my outline, but since my characters and their arcs are so engrained in my head, I think it’ll turn out okay. That’s what editing’s for, right? From new scenes and revisions of old stuff, I’ve managed to log about 30,000 words on the first book so far. I anticipate the Star Series coming out to six books. It’s been a fun project to get back into, and well overdue. The characters of the story are some of my oldest and favorites.

What is the series about? While I’m not ready to reveal extensive details on the Star Series quite yet (at least not until I actually finish the first book), I will share a few things about the project. It’s a fantasy series for teens/young adults, set in our world, modern day, and the first book focuses on a teen trying to find answers about his sister’s mysterious death, discovering along the way that he possesses a legendary—yet dangerous—power.

My second announcement is about The Queen of Imagination! During my last semester, as I’ve been rereading the second draft of The Queen of Imagination (a book I finished in 2018 and edited right before grad school in 2019), I made a couple of big decisions. First, on the recommendation of a writing mentor, I’m changing the title to The Queen of Whitman Court. Second, the book will be expanded into a series.

Why a series? A few interrelated reasons. The original book’s length is roughly 12,000 words longer than it should be for the age group, yet many of the adventures the kids embark on are too meaningful to be cut. Several of the scenes, too, even needed more words to fully develop them. That sparked the thought: what if the book became a series? That way, I can do each adventure adequate justice and spend more time with some of the characters who don’t have room in the word count to be developed. It will be a challenge, I think, to draw out the stories into their own separate books, but I also don’t have to write 70,000 words for each one. In fact, I have a loose word count goal of about 30,000 words for each book, which is slightly shorter than a Chronicles of Narnia book. After my initial brainstorming and planning, I intend to write twelve books for the series. I’m excited about the challenge and opportunity to write so many fun stories with these characters and their adventures.

Whitman Court will likely be the name for the series, with The Queen of Whitman Court to remain as the title of the first book. The series will still be geared toward middle grade readers.

So that’s it for my big writing updates! I’m very excited for both of these projects. If you don’t already, follow me on Instagram @madelynnorion for more mini-updates on my writing. I’m also planning to post more about both series I announced today, so if you’re curious, give me a follow to join in on the adventure! I also have quite a bit planned for this blog for the rest of the year, so I’m excited to post more frequently and consistently now that I’m free of the burden of school.

Huzzah, and thanks for reading!