I Finished the First Draft of my Novel: Here’s What’s Next

by Apr 29, 2023Updates, Writing Journey

So I finished writing the first draft of my erotic gothic fiction novel about two months ago. I’ve tried to write various iterations of this story about an ambitious vampire and the werewolf who helps him gain/stay in power at least four times before. This time, I finally hit on a version of the story I really like. The core plot, theme, and ending just work.

But man, oh man, is the middle a chaotic sagging mess. Now that some time has passed, I’m just about ready to tackle the second draft. I’ve been studying plot, structure, and conflict for the past two years or so, but I feel like that hasn’t done much to help me plot the murky middle.

I suspect that part of my problem is that I tend to lean a bit literary with my stories. They tend to be dramas more than any well-defined external plot type. But I’m following The Write Structure method this time, and it actually acknowledges some literary plotlines, as well as love stories that aren’t necessarily romances. Armed with that book, plus a handful of other resources I’ve found on plotting more literary fiction, I pray I’ll be able to effectively revise this novel.

I’m even willing to do what I should have done years ago and record what happens in the middle of novels that are similar to my own.

I don’t think I’ll know how much crossover appeal with dark romance readers my stories have until I’ve written a novel. Because at the end of the day, most dark romance readers have a strong preference for novel-length books. They’re also very hesitant to give a new book a try if it’s not in KU.

So yeah. Publishing this novel is my main focus right now.

Other Projects

I guess I should mention that I also published a paranormal romance novella for my friend’s gothic romance anthology, Slightly Sweetly, Slightly Creepy. I mostly wanted to see how I’d like writing a straight-out romance and whether or not joining an anthology would motivate me to finish something. It was mostly a success. I didn’t much like the story I wrote because I couldn’t make it very dark or sexy, but I look forward to expanding/thoroughly corrupting it when I get my rights back.

I also have a handful of finished erotica story first drafts that just need to be edited and published, plus a few more that are almost finished. I’d like to clear out my almost-finished list and get back to writing and publishing semi-regularly, but the novel is calling. I’ll probably bounce to one of these side projects when I get hopelessly stuck on novel revisions and need a break.

I’d definitely like to join some more suitable anthologies in the future. Maybe eventually run one, myself. But for now, novel.