Bard and Bookstagram

Bard and Bookstagram

It’s been a while since I did a more newsie-type blog post — I’ve been all about the Thinking(TM) recently. But I figured I’d keep you all updated on a couple of things that are going on right now.

Firstly, I’m rewriting Bard. For those who aren’t aware, Bard is an Arthurian-inspiried SF novel I wrote in early 2016, posting the first draft chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad. It’s set on a distant planet that was one of Earth’s prison colonies, until they lost contact for a century and the planet went its own way. Now, Earth’s back in contact, and they’ve got some ideas about how it should be run that don’t entirely match the ideas of the people who live there…

The cover of the first draft, as posted on Wattpad. It’s a cool cover and I like it a lot, but the tagline (while catchy) doesn’t actually fit the book very well, so if I do another cover, I’ll be changing that.

After considerable thought, I’d decided that I wasn’t going to work on Bard any further. The first draft had a strong theme of institutional racism, and ultimately I decided it wasn’t my story to tell. While I was glad I’d written it in the first place, I thought it was better to just put it aside and work on other things. Also, it needed some considerable plot changes to make it a decent story, and given my concerns about the subject matter, it didn’t seem worth doing that.

However. I recently realised that by shifting the emphasis of the story, I could tell the story I wanted, without overstepping my bounds. By making it more about revolutions in space and less about racism in the prison industrial complex (…in space), I could change the focus while still keeping the heart of the book intact.

Also, in the first draft, Merlyn was a trans girl. I had no particular reason for that choice, so in this draft, Merlyn is a trans boy, instead. I feel like as a nonbinary person who leans further towards the masculine end of the spectrum, this is more closely in line with my own experiences, and thus something I could write with more authenticity.

As for the plot problems, well, I realised that most of them stemmed from only having a single first-person narrator who didn’t know the half of what was going on behind the scenes, and thus the reader missed it too. So I’m adding a second POV, and using that to develop more of the social and ideological structures motivating the other characters. The fun part will be ensuring the book doesn’t clock in at, like, 200k, since it was 105k with only ONE viewpoint…

Things I’ve discovered while doing this: Ross (my Arthur figure) is a Soft Boy who lives in a commune with his friends and loves gardening. I LOVE HIM. I haven’t written such a pure, good character in so long and honestly? While I love my stabby antiheroes, this makes a nice change. I hope I don’t accidentally corrupt him.

Anyway, the changes are fairly significant, so I feel like I’m kind of writing a first draft, but with more structure. Merlyn’s chapters aren’t dissimilar to the first draft (just better, and less rambly, and I’m trying to cut the whole section in the middle where I didn’t know what the plot was doing), but Ross’s are all new, and require to me think about worldbuilding issues, so they’re not easy.

But Ross is my PRECIOUS CHILD and I LOVE HIM, so that makes it easier.


Right now you’re all probably wondering what happened to my other plans, like Death and Fairies b2 or my short stories. Yeah… I know. The trouble with D&F is that I got really bogged down in the research stage, and I just desperately needed to write something NOW. My brain was crying out for it. So, I leapt into something I could manage without much in the way of planning, and honestly? It feels great, so I’m gonna keep going with this as long as I can.

(The first draft has been ‘unpublished’ from Wattpad, in case anyone felt like looking it up, but it’s still hidden away in my drafts so I can revisit people’s comments if I want to.)

As for my OTHER news… I’m co-hosting a bookstagram photo challenge! I feel like I’ve really jumped straight into the deep end with bookstagram: I went from nothing to posting pictures every day, some of them super elaborate. And now I’m helping to host a challenge with Cait @ PaperFury.

Bookstagram challenges are great when you need ideas for posts (the hard part is coming up with enough ideas for your own challenge). If you’re not familiar with them, they can range from “green books” to “books that made you cry” to “character with great fashion sense”, and everything in between.

Cait and I decided to run one because neither of us celebrates Hallowe’en, and nearly all the October challenges seemed to be ‘spoopy’. Plus, as an Australian, it’s not even autumn for Cait, so they’re all extra irrelevant. Ours is Maggie Stiefvater-themed, but that’s mostly just to give the prompts a bit of structure, as they actual content of the pictures can be anything.

We’re inviting anyone and everyone to participate, using the hashtag #FinnFury. Even if you’re not on Instagram, I’ll be checking it out on Twitter and Tumblr, in case anyone decides to participate there. So, if you like taking pictures of books, perhaps consider taking part? (There’s no obligation to do every single day, after all.)

Anyway, that’s what’s happening in my life right now. Oh! And I spent all of yesterday evening racing through Vengeful by V.E. Schwab and had a great time doing it. I even wrote a review (spoiler free) which you should definitely check out.

What are you up to? Writing or reading anything that excites you?

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7 thoughts on “Bard and Bookstagram

  1. I’m CONVINCED you’re going to corrupt Ross or he’ll end so traumatised he’ll just be like curled in a ball in the corner… liKE YOUR READERS USUALLY ARE. Ahem. No no it’s fine I’m calm I’m calm.😂 (I’m just kidding, I’m totally excited!! I really want to read more D&F too but like…I totally understand that need to write right now and also waiting for plot problems to sort themselves out a bit.) I really want to start writing something before I go away in Oct but I have so many books to read ahhhh. And I really suck at multitasking.

    Also our challenge is going to be awesome. 🎉🎉

    1. Ross I think will undergo Character Development™ and become less timid and determined to garden away his problems, but if the plot stays as planned, I don’t THINK he’ll be too traumatised by the process. Merlyn, on the other hand… 😭😭😭 I am so mean to him. I will try and be less mean this time around but I’m not sure I’ll succeed.

  2. I love the name of the #FinnFury challenge. I’ll definitely be joining in! I’m a Maggie Stiefvater fan and I also just like the prompts, in addition to following both you and Cait. :) I’m onceuponayarn on bookstagram, by the way, in case you’re curious about who’s liking all your posts, haha. The rewrite of Bard sounds awesome, I read some of the first draft and thought it was quite intriguing. (Also, I’m forever grateful for discovering Canva through your blog, as I’ve used it to create quite a few book covers myself!)

    1. Oh nice! Canva is super useful. I’ll have to think about making myself a cover for this draft because even though I have nowhere to put one, it’s weirdly motivating just to make it look like a real book…

      I’m trying to keep what was good about the first draft, while jettisoning what was bad and shifting the focus significantly. I’m only 20k into this rewrite and so far there’s been a LOT more worldbuilding and everyone has much clearer goals, which seems like a good start… though I still fear the book is gonna end up super long 😬

      Yay for joining in our photo challenge! I can’t wait to see everyone’s pictures. I took my first one today, but then realised my plan for Tuesday’s picture couldn’t be fulfilled until I tidied my room, so I got caught up doing that 😂

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