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Whew, 2022. 

 

I feel like I blinked, and suddenly 2021 is over. 

 

I know it’s been an age and a half since I’ve been consistently posting on my website and sending newsletters, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been entirely idle in my time away. 

 

 

What Happened Last Year (Why I Went Away) 

 

Physically speaking, I’ve rarely left my house since August. 

 

BUT… I know I basically fell off the grid without warning for about four (maybe five?) months. 

 

I had some unexpected medical issues. Nothing too serious, but the migraines and brain fog that I mentioned last year got worse, so I had to put everything on hold. My doctor put me under a lot of restrictions, like not driving and limited work hours. It took me several months to meet with a neurologist several months ago, but I’m waiting to hear back about setting up an EEG and a CAT scan.

 

I think the worst part was the not-knowing—that, and the underlying thought that wondered if it was all just me. Maybe I was just getting lazy… Maybe my anxiety was finally getting the best of me… Maybe I just needed to push myself more/try harder…

 

A big lesson that I had to learn was letting go.

 

Letting go of the idea that I could do any of it on my own and learning to accept help. Letting go of a work environment that had grown increasingly toxic over the past couple of years and taking some time to actually rest. Yes, it’s been hard, but it’s been worth it.

 

Also, the great news is that I now have pain medicine that takes care of most of the pain and brain fog, and I feel SO much more like myself again. I can think and track with conversations – and I have so many ideas for fixing the plot holes and other writing issues that I was struggling with before! 

 

 

So, What Have I Been Working On? 

 

I’ve been deep in the trenches of research and wandering down many, many rabbit holes in the process. 😉 

 

The two main projects I’ve been working on: 

  • My Grand Hodgepodge of all Bedorian Knowledge, otherwise known as The Behemoth 
  • The book plan/synopsis of Tainted Faye 

 

 

The Behemoth 

 

My biggest frustration with my writing in 2021 was that I was constantly running into plot holes and vague background info that was in desperate need of research and structure. 

 

Once my brain started to come back online, I decided it was time I faced the inevitable and took a deep dive into the massive heap of notes I had. Every scribbled idea or half-formed story was dug up from their various hiding places. Though, I’m sure I’ve missed some. 😉

 

 At its largest, The Behemoth was well over 100 pages long in Google Docs. Since then, I’ve been steadily working on condensing and organizing the information, and it’s currently at 96 pages. So, I’m guessing I can work it down to around 50 pages. 

 

Some of the topics it includes are

  • A pronunciation key 
  • The Eshusnine dictionary (the original language of the world; I don’t have enough brainpower, *ahem* coffee, for more) 
  • A brief overview of world history up to the beginning of the third age 
  • Places 
  • Plants & Animals 
  • Currency 
  • Races/Nations 
  • Average Lifespans 
  • World Timeline 
  • Poems/Legends 
  • And more! 

 

 

Book Plans and Synopses 

 

I was feeling VERY ambitious the first week of January. 

 

That New Year feeling was sweeping me up, and my brain was becoming somewhat agreeable again. I made a list of all the story ideas I had knocking around in my recently cleared brain waves and wrote up a writing schedule that danced a thin line between organizational genius and sheer madness. It was brilliant. 

 

And thus, it was promptly discarded by the following weekend. 

 

How it’s going now:

  • I have the overall outline for the third draft of Tainted Faye finished, and now I just need to break it down into the chapter-by-chapter synopsis (which is currently eluding my best efforts) 
  • I’ve started writing summaries for three novellas 
    • Monastery Tales 
    • Shadow Quests 
    • The Ambassador’s Apprentice 
  • I’ve started writing the book plan for the first draft of Tainted Alliance, the second book of the Trials of the Tainted series. 

 

I’m having a lot of fun with these, for the most part. 😉 

 

It’s exciting to see the details coming together and making sense. Thanks to The Behemoth, I have so much information to draw on and feel a lot more confident in exploring Bedoria in my stories. 

 

 

What Changes Can You Expect This Year? 

 

The biggest change you’ll notice is that I won’t be sending out the newsletter nearly as much. It was a lot to keep up with, and I want to offer you the best content in every email. As I reevaluated my schedule for the year, I made the difficult decision to switch to monthly emails

 

My biggest struggle with this is that I am still aiming to write weekly posts for my website, and it seems odd to notify you of the goings-on after three of them have been published. But, I also know how frustrating and easily bloated my inbox can get every week. So here’s to hoping that the new schedule is more welcome! 

 

 

Eran’s Adventures 

 

I love working on short stories about Eran’s past, and it’s been a favorite idea of mine for a while. However, last year, it started slipping through my fingers (like all of my projects), and I had to put the brakes on because I was no longer sure where it was heading. 

 

So many details started to build up, things that I should have researched before diving in head-first. 

 

So, while I’ve been researching and plotting for Eran’s novel, I’ve been doing the same for his younger days. Read on to see how that has affected my plans going forward…  

 

How will the mini-series be different this year? 

 

  1. I’m going to split Eran’s prequel, if you will, into three novellas. I’m estimating that each should have 25 chapters. 
  2. Each novella will be serialized! More on that below. 
  3. One novella will be released each year. 

 

Serialized Novellas. This is the part that I’m most excited about! 

 

Instead of publishing a random short story about Eran every month, I’ll be posting one that (although a complete short story on its own) fits into the plot and structure of that year’s novella. 

 

There will be three seasons, and I’ll be releasing two episodes every month! 

  • SEASON 1: Monastery Tales 
  • SEASON 2: Shadow Quests 
  • SEASON 3: The Ambassador’s Apprentice 

 

I’m so excited about this and can’t wait to get started, but I don’t expect to start posting them until early to mid-March. That’s because the short stories I posted last year (Transparency, Timeless, etc.) fit into the new novellas – I just have to tweak them a little first. 

 

Also, I want to write season 1 in one go to ensure that it’s fitting together and flowing the way I want it to. 

 

If all goes according to plan, those first few stories will be edited and released in February, and then you’ll be getting new episodes every month through the end of November. After that, I plan to take a little hiatus from it in December and have season 2 ready to start next January. 

 

 

What About My Main Novel, Tainted Faye? 

 

I’m not going to sugarcoat this: last year was bad for me. 

 

For several years, I kept telling myself that I could push through and get better if I just tried hard enough. It was that train of thought that nearly got me rushed to the ER. And, according to my doctor, I probably should have gone. 

 

I’m doing better – SO much better than I was – but I’m not great, which means that I have to do things a little differently to give myself room to get there. 

 

All of this has led me to the difficult decision to push out the publication date for Tainted Faye. 

 

The good news is that I’ve been researching a lot in the meantime, and I’m 97% certain that I want to pursue self-publishing. It’s going to take a lot of work to get it done, so I’m giving myself a goal – a deadline – to push myself to keep writing and growing without burning out. 

 

My goal is 2025. 

 

It’s three years away, and in many ways, that feels like far too long and far too short of a time to get my debut novel published. 

 

There’s a lot of work to do, but I’m excited. I can’t wait to see how far this journey will take me in the next three years!

 

 

Let’s Get Social!

You can find me on Instagram at @lydiawoodwardwriter and on Twitter at @lydiawoodwriter – I’d love to connect! 

I also have a profile on Goodreads, so feel free to reach out there as well. 🙂 

 

 

I’d Love for You to Join the Fun!

I hate spam and bloated inboxes. So, I’ll only send a newsletter once a month to keep you in the know with important updates and behind-the-scenes extras.