Today I graduated from outlining to drafting my first Author Conservatory novel, Fabrication!
My first critique call was on June 30, 2022. After working through concepts, extended concepts (graduated by instructor and author Kara Swanson (Matsumoto)!), four rounds of my synopsis (graduated to outlining by instructor and author S.W. Grimm!), and three rounds of my outline (graduated by instructor and editor Katie Phillips!) September 29, 2022 marks the beginning of my drafting journey!
Thank you Katie Phillips! You’ve been my wise mentor through this entire process and the story would not be what it is without you. Thank you for sticking with me and Jal through call after call as we fleshed out his story and the complicated magic system of his universe. I can’t believe an entire school class walked into your Starbucks office and we could still hear each other well enough to talk through the last elements of the outline. I am grateful beyond words for your questions, suggestions, brainstorming, and encouragements. Thank you a thousand times over.
What I have learned:
- BE PATIENT. From the start, I just wanted to jump straight into the drafting process. Oh how I would have failed doing justice to this story! STOP. WAIT. REVISE. Make sure all the pieces fit together, especially with a complicated work of high fantasy.
- Be willing to learn. Be teachable, eager to make changes, and be as flexible as a reality thread. Some of the best ideas for this story did not come from me.
- Alongside that, listen. Don’t go to a call with everything set in stone. Take in new ideas, brainstorm, collaborate. I’ve found the most amazing breakthroughs happen through discussion with others.
- Take notes. On my second outline call, I couldn’t keep up, and had to wait a couple days for the recording to be posted so I could go back and take pages of notes. It’s good to have lists of things to remember, work on, and even to flip back and marvel at how much the story has grown.
- Put in the hard work before writing. I think I mentioned this already, but doing the hard work before writing saves MONTHS of editing afterward. Go to calls with questions, ideas to contribute, and work hard at the revisions.
- Ultimately, have fun with every part of the writing process, including the brainstorming, worldbuilding, character journeys, synopsis, and outline. Before I attended these nine calls, I cringed at the word ‘synopsis’, imagining 3-5 pages of bland storytelling. I struggled to keep motivation as I revamped four drafts, but how grateful I am now looking back that I pushed through, did the hard work, collaborated, and didn’t give in to the desire to just start writing. It’s crucial to nail down all the pieces before grabbing a pencil and customized WIP notebook… which is what I’m get to do now.
I’m excited to keep moving forward in my first year in the Author Conservatory! Fabrication will be a young adult high fantasy novel.
Writing a book is really a thoughtful and complex process! Thank you for sharing it!
Congrats Annika! This is so cool!