FDAD: A Multi-World Fantasy WIP Update #4 Finished!

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I’ve finally had the satisfaction of writing the words “End of Book One.” July 13th, 11:30pm.

It’s not the first time I’ve ever finished a draft, but it’s the first for a book of this length and it’s truly a completed draft–no boilerplate text for skipped sections.

Once I made it to the penultimate battle, the rest of the book flowed pretty well. You can see I clocked in a few days of high word counts.

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I’d had the ending figured out for quite some time, so it was nice to finally get to that part and find that the major aspects of it didn’t need to change.

Some highlights since the last update:

  • One of my side characters offed a bad guy and I’m pretty proud of this line: “And like a master violinist playing the final note of a concerto, Shell slit his throat.”
  • During the final battle, my main antagonist delivered a “You can do it. I believe in you” line to her comrade but with her clearly angsty edge.
  • On the last page, my main character is just at the very beginning of accepting that she has to face and deal with her trauma or it’ll keep getting in the way of her gaining and regaining better control of her powers. She’ll be doing much more reflective, internal work in book 2.

Book 2 is mostly set in a world with clothing magic, a history of magical girls, and a big train. My gut is telling me it’s gonna be a heist since the characters have to recover an object the MC absolutely needs that went missing after a (mostly) natural event destroyed its hiding place.

But my next WIP will be a contemporary that’s much shorter than this book. Technically, it’ll be my second draft of the story, but I changed the entire setup so it’ll basically be a first draft again. The story takes place at a college during Holy Week and is in many ways an allegory of the gospels, but not quite (and also very queer).

My plan right now is to begin drafting that book, then incorporate some days of editing FDAD Book 1. These books are different enough to where I’m not concerned about getting exhausted or ideas from one bleeding into the other. My goal is to get FDAD Book 1 polished enough to query, which will only happen after this editing round, a beta reader round, and another self-editing round at the very least. In other words, I really don’t plan on starting book 2 unless/until I sell book 1. I’ll probably summarize book 2 in broad terms and do some planning, but no drafting.

That’s it for this update. Next time, I’ll say a little bit more about my new WIP.

Cheers!

FDAD: A Multi-World Fantasy WIP Update #3

Today (the day that I’m writing this, not the day this publishes) is a special day. I’ve reached a major milestone in this book and it’s exhilarating.

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100,000 words.

This is the longest continuous thing I’ve written (I actually passed that particular milestone about 15,000 words ago, but let me have this). I will finish this book within another 20,000 words, meaning that by the end of June or July, I’ll have a completed draft. And it’ll be a fairly solid draft at that.

Yes, there are major developmental fixes to make like how I changed the way one magic system works about halfway through. I also have a much clearer idea now about certain character motivations and the general level of awareness that people have of other worlds than I did at the beginning of this book. From the big stuff to the sentence-level stuff, there is a lot to revise. I’m trying to figure out now what my editorial passes will be. Generally, it’s gonna be the big stuff first, the sentence-level stuff last, but I’ll need to see if I work better focusing on one thing at a time and doing more passes or if I should do fewer passes looking at multiple things.

I’m grateful for my day job experience in editorial work for educational content development because the process of revisions isn’t intimidating to me. It’s just a matter of figuring out how I want to approach each pass.

I’m also grateful for my background in erasure poetry since that, in a way, is much like revising and editing. Revisions give me the chance to make the book really shine.

Once I get the MS to a place where I feel totally good about it, I’ll be rounding up beta readers and will certainly be doing more revisions. After that…querying agents.

It’s exciting how a little bit every day eventually leads to these milestones. Of course, my mind is already gearing up for the next project, which will be draft 2 of a novella. I’ll be balancing that draft with revisions on this book.

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You can see I’m still struggling to consistently hit 500 words a day. I’m hoping that the first half of June will be super productive given my motivation to finish because I’ll be traveling that last week and unable to work on the book.

Should I be wild and make the day before I leave the deadline to finish? Maybe. That’s either a brilliant plan or a way of setting myself up for defeat.

Anyway, what do I like about what I’ve written since the last update? Well, my MC is starting to have a through line of confidence, even on her worst days. She’s just a little bit more ready to take ownership and that drive is carrying her through the last part of this book.

My next update should hopefully be a “omg I finished my book” post.

Until next time!

Shoutout to Sapphic Book Club for Choosing Lest I Know Your Weakness for April’s Book of the Month

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Reviews are so incredibly important to authors and asking for them is like pulling teeth. So I’m deeply grateful to the members of Sapphic Book Club who have left wonderful, honest, and fair reviews after selecting Lest I Know Your Weakness as their April book of the month.

Of course, I need more. I always will. Every rating and recommendation helps increase my visibility among the sea of books out there. If you’ve read my book, add your thoughts among these reviewers’.

I know in Author Land™ it’s a cardinal sin to read Goodreads reviews, but I do because I have so few of them and honestly I’d like to pull some quotes for promotional posts. But the funniest thing I’ve seen is that one user added my book to a bookshelf called “harold,” which is full of wlw books.

Frankly, I might make a “harold” shelf myself.

Be sure to check out Sapphic Book Club on Tumblr. I’ve definitely bought books just from browsing their recommendations!

FDAD: A Multi-world Fantasy WIP update #2

Well, more than a month has passed since my last update about this project, but that’s because I’ve had so much else going on in my life, most of it good.

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March was a lighter month for me in terms of word count and the first half of April has been the same. It’s definitely a combination of the life stuff and the fact that I reached the big turning point for my main character. Now that that episode is finished, I’m in this reflection/passage of time arc that has a few important points, but I’m trying not to linger on it too long. I have to let myself tell a little bit to keep from getting stuck. Still, I’m close(ish) to the end.

Things have settled down, so now I’m just trying to focus on 500 words a day–just 500 words regardless of what my Scrivener word counter says or what I did or didn’t do the day before.

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I won’t end up having written 15,500 words in April, but I will get just shy of 100k. I had hoped this thing would wrap at around 120k, but it might be closer to 150k. That’s still an acceptable range for a first draft.

Thing I like about what I’ve written since the last update:

  • I think I presented one character’s betrayal with a good nuance and it came out on the page much better than I could’ve planned.
  • My MC had a great bonding moment with her two besties.
  • The stable OTP in my party is forever adorable.
  • One of my characters is a “man of culture” and is a lowkey disaster bi. I don’t know when or if romance will come up for him again since he’s so hyperfocused on everything else.
  • One of my chaotic/fun supporting characters is in love with her boy who has yet to be introduced, but if she were Andy from Parks & Rec, my MC would be her “if I had to pick a dude.”

Until next time!

Forgive Us Our Trespasses UMC response

Every time the major church denominations increase their corruption or marginalization of certain groups of people, all churches feel the fallout. The combination of harmful doctrine with a largely unchurched public means that to the average person, what happens in the Catholic church or the United Methodist Church might as well be true of the United Church of Christ or PCUSA or ELCA.

Within this larger context, I’ve found that the poems in Forgive Us Our Trespasses take on a new meaning.

Since publishing that book, I’ve gone through periods where my own copy sits unopened at the top of my bookshelf for weeks or months. And then something happens, personally or in the world. Suddenly, I need to return to those poems, to look again at these words I half-formed and half-found.

The United Methodist Church’s recent decision to double-down on its exclusion of LGBTQ people from ministry, marriage, and full participation in the life of the church has prompted another return to these poems. The most cutting account from the General Conference to me was that LGBTQ people were actually barred from reentering the meeting space for closing worship, so they held queer communion outside in the hall.

I cannot emphasize enough the quiet rage and deep sympathy I feel for anyone who is prevented from partaking in one of Christianity’s most fundamental sacrament. Communion connects us across distance and eras of history to everyone else that has ever taken it, cycling all the way back to that last supper that started it all. Communion resonates very strongly with my spirit, and I don’t believe that anyone who so willingly comes to the table should be denied because that’s not how God treats us. Yet that’s how the Church treats so many.

I made a Twitter thread after the conference sharing some select pieces from Forgive Us Our Trespasses, pieces that maybe take on new meaning for hurting Methodists who have quite literally been betrayed and abandoned by their spiritual families. Just a few days later, the night before a board of directors meeting for my regional UCC conference (on which I serve), our conference minister asked me if I would read a couple poems as part of our opening devotional. I agreed and, again, with the UMC on my heart, chose pieces that provide assurance and affirmation in some way.

It turned out the conference minister, a gay man himself, had the UMC on his heart as well while crafting the devotion. My work rounded out a theme of women’s words from past to present (in honor of Women’s History Month) and I dedicated the reading of my pieces to those in UMC pained by this decision.

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the women i like
drink wine and say
Behold,
wisdom is the long delay of cherished hopes
and lost faith is lovingly reassured in our hours of darkness, but
relief is
a gentle benediction

We have some dual affiliated UCC and UMC congregations in my regional conference. This decision is a bigger deal than a non-churched public might think and the ramifications have yet to unfold. When a church claiming to follow Christ takes such an active effort to close off its community to a particular group of people, it causes a deep pain. In Searching For Sunday, Rachel Held Evans touches on how, as a society, we rarely think of the loss of a spiritual family as akin to other major forms of grief we experience. Yet for some, it feels exactly this way.

I am small with a small platform and a small reach. Forgive Us Our Trespasses is crafted in a weird form of poetry and sits at some obscure number in the depths of Amazon’s rankings. But my hope right now is that it acts as a net for any falling UMC folks pushed out of sanctuaries they once trusted. It’s a tiny net and most people probably don’t know it exists. But it’s here and I feel like it has something to say in this moment as it has in many other moments since its publication.

I don’t know how or if these poems will resonate. That’s the beauty and the mystery of them–this collection is both from me and beyond me. It’s difficult to describe this space I feel it occupies, but I do sense that this is one of those moments to share this book.

It exists and so do you.

Kindle.

Paperback.

 

New Poem in Absolute Destiny Post-Apocalypse: An Utena Future Zine

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Revolutionary Girl Utena leaves an impression that is simultaneously gutting and hopeful. Whether the ending is tragic or redemptive is, in some ways, left to the audience. Now, a portion of that audience has banded together to contribute art and writing to Absolute Destiny Post-Apocalypse: An Utena Future Zine.

Guess whose poetry closes out this zine full of beautiful art and writing? Mine!

You can download the zine for free here and read my poem, “Roses, Post-Apocalypse,” which I also shared on Tumblr along with a special “prequel” poem!

And if you like angsty, hopeful, sapphic love poetry, be sure to check out my new poetry collection Lest I Know Your Weakness.

Lest I Know Your Weakness is Out Today!

Hello, friends!

Today, Lest I Know Your Weakness is officially out in the world!

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Step into a Gothic, Victorian vampire romance reimagined through erasure poetry. Laura and Carmilla explore both the darkest and the most hopeful depths of their relationship. Will their fears overwhelm them? Or will they persevere in mutual vulnerability?

I’m so excited for this release and I hope you are, too. Pick up your ebook or paperback from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MGFDZ1L

Amazon paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0578435993

B&N paperback: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lest-i-know-your-weakness-taylor-ramage/1130202500?ean=9780578435992

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lest-i-know-your-weakness-taylor-ramage/1130202500?ean=2940161501207

Be sure to add the book on Goodreads and leave a review when you’re finished.

Like podcasts? I just appeared on Friday I’m in Love, Monday I Post Podcasts. Hear me talk about my new book and gush about Carmilla, then stay tuned to the end to listen to me read a piece from the collection.

As always, thanks to all of you for your support!

Cheers