Writing Update: December 2021

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Here’s my present to you: a Winter Writing Update!

My latest writing update can be summed up in one simple sentence: I’m going all in to the Whitman Court series. While this isn’t necessarily shocking or new, it’s reflective of my state of mind to actually declare the series as my primary focus. It’s a little bittersweet to make such a commitment; I’m itching to write my two large-scale fantasy series. The reality, though, is that my time is limited, and Whitman Court, filled with short, sweet, and fun books, is easiest for me to write at the moment. I’m able to edit whole drafts quickly and write new books within a couple of weeks—and that’s mostly just using my hour of a lunch break each weekday and a few additional hours over the weekend. I’m in a good rhythm right now.

Focusing on Whitman Court alone seems to be strengthening my writing, too. I feel more in tune with my stories and characters, and though the stories have tender emotional beats, it’s not as mentally taxing to write as my fantasy series tend to be. Being immersed in the series has also aided my editing process; my revisions are clearer and quicker.

So, where am I at progress-wise with the series? I’m wrapping up Draft 4 edits on Book 1, The Queen of Whitman Court, by applying my edits made on a printed copy of the book to the computer. This isn’t necessarily a quick process, as some of my notes simply pointed sentences or scenes to spend more time thinking about and take additional time revising. A couple of my later chapters in particular are troublesome, but I’m optimistic about getting them fixed up. I should finish edits by the end of the year, and the plan is to start querying the book to agents and publishers in early 2022. It won’t be my first time to query a book, but it will be the first time I’ll be aggressive in finding an agent or publisher. (I queried Our Company of Fools to a couple of publishers, but I don’t know that it mattered as much for me to get that book traditionally published—I always knew it was meant to be a quieter, more personal project.)

I’m also currently writing The Christmas of Whitman Court, which at the moment is listed as Book 5 in the series, though I may push it further back on the timeline. I’m writing it now mostly because I want to write a Christmas book at Christmastime, and I had a strong enough concept for the story to warrant working on writing it now. Though Whitman Court does have a chronological timeline and a few overarching series arcs, the books are largely standalone, so it makes it easy to write books “out of order.”

I’ve also written The Knights of Whitman Court (Book 2), about the founding of the Order of Odd (one of my favorite groups in the series), which was also my 10th novel to finish. I finished Book 3, The Shadow of Whitman Court, back in October as well. I anticipate significant revisions for both books (the middle of The Knights of Whitman Court is a bit mushy, and the end of The Shadow of Whitman Court too cheesy and thematically on-the-nose), but finishing these books solidified my commitment to the series and my confidence in its potential. I have six other strong plot ideas, and inklings of others to explore as well. I’m not sure how many books the series will end up with, though I already know how it will end.

So, in short, expect a lot of updates on Whitman Court in the coming months, and not as many on other projects for a while.  

That being said, upcoming in the new year is the anniversary of Our Company of Fools! I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I published it. I have some content planned to celebrate the occasion, so tune into my Instagram (@ madelynnorion) or here to join in the behind-the-development bonus content as I reflect back on writing the book. January will be full of Fools’ Fun!

Thanks for reading this season’s writing update. I’ll have one more blog post this year—my 2021 Reading Recap—at the end of the month. Until then, I hope you have a Merry Holiday Season!