April 2024 Writing Update

Happy April, everyone!

GIF of Squirtle from Pokemon, picking up a flower to sniff it and smiling.

First: I promise this isn’t an April Fools’ post despite this being posted on April 1st.

Second: Time felt like it flew by during March for me.

I think a reason for this was it was so full of different activities – launching my author Instagram account, tuning in to several book awards and their related news, and working on so many different writing projects! Below is a recap of what happened, and what I plan to work on for April!

Award Results

For those wondering about the results of the 2023 Queer Indie Awards, which “Engagement To Die For” was nominated for in eight categories…well, “Engagement To Die For” did not win any of its eight nominated categories.

I’m a little disappointed by the outcome, as I had hopes that ETDF would win one of its categories at least.

However, I am grateful for the nominations to begin with, and all the winners have my congrats! I also definitely plan to pick up some of the winning books to read and potentially review for the future, so stay tuned for those!

I also found out that “Engagement To Die For” didn’t make it to the 2024 Indieverse Awards’ list of official nominees in any categories. 

As you may or may not know, the Indieverse Awards had to put a cap on nominees in many categories fairly early during the nomination period in February. This is because there were so many submissions, and then the organizers had to make sure each submission was eligible. If there were still too many submissions after that initial round of checking for eligibility (and that was the case for most categories), they had to cut more submissions to figure out the official nominees. 

Congrats to everyone whose books were nominated! I wish them the best of luck for the next steps in determining winners in each category – and maybe I’ll even read some of those winners later on!

Book Reviews:

Last month, I shared the following book reviews:

I also posted a bonus blog post about whether you should post the story while you’re still writing it!

I thought it would be fun to write a bit of a writing advice-oriented blog for once. Let me know if you find this valuable if you’d like me to write more posts like this one.

Picture of Claris Lam (me!) smiling with the words underneath reading "Hello, Instsagram!" The background is a gradient yellow and pink.

Hello, Instagram!

For those that missed the announcement last month and/or you’re not subscribed to my newsletter, I just launched my author Instagram in early March!

If you’ve always wanted to follow me there, you can do that now! Thanks in advance for your support!

Stock photo of an open notebook with a checklist being written on it.

Goal Review For Last Month:

1. Finish editing/writing Draft #2 of the King’s Quest-inspired novel

Did I Accomplish This? Yes!

I accomplished this right at the beginning of the month. I discussed this further in my March 12th newsletter, so you can refer to that for how that happened.

Since I finished the one goal I had for March 2024, well…

GIF of Kermit the frog typing fast at a typewriter.

What Else Did I Write Last Month?

1. I edited another book! 

The specific book I edited was the one inspired by the game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and its sequel, Tears of the Kingdom. I decided to go through editing this one after reading through it once, just after finishing the King’s Quest-inspired novel.

I’m also happy to share that the book now has a working title – “An Amnesiac’s Awakening!” Check it out on the WIP page for more information!

2. I drafted Book 3 of the fantasy trilogy! 

I also mentioned, back in my March writing update, that I was going to push back writing Book 3 of the trilogy until April. Because I finished writing/editing Draft 2 of the King’s Quest-inspired book, however, I decided to start working Book 3 instead and see how far I could get this month.

…I then surprised myself by completing Draft 1 of Book 3 by March 8th. 

…Yes, you read that correctly. I drafted a whole book, edited a whole book, and wrote/edited Draft 2 of a different book all in the first eight days of March.

This shocked me because I genuinely didn’t think I’d finish all those drafts/edits so fast. I really didn’t think that was possible, but I keep proving myself wrong – and I like it.

3.  I finished writing a poetry chapbook!

I started drafting this chapbook around mid-2023. However, I put it on hold because of two reasons:

First, I was releasing “Engagement To Die For” in June 2023, so I didn’t get much writing done that month. 

Second, I went through some burnout during August 2023, so I had to take some time off.

After recovering from burnout, I focused on finalizing Book 3 of the Harlow Mystery series, “Bloody Fantasia.” Because of this, I just dropped working on the chapbook until this past month.  

I finished drafting the chapbook around mid-March! I also have a working title for it – “Refilling The Well.” This chapbook explores themes of hustle culture and burnout, and moving forward from that to be have a more sustainable, happier life. As you may know from reading my Substack newsletters last year, before I switched to Buttondown, that I suffered from writing burnout. I actually started writing this chapbook before the burnout occurred, and the themes emerged after I resumed writing and drafting it last month. 

I got beta readers to look at the chapbook pretty soon after drafting it, and their feedback is overall positive!

This positive feedback was a really great sign for the chapbook’s progress! With that in mind, I figured: Oh, I could do the line edits and have it in a “complete” state by sometime in April! This could be one of my April goals!

…Cue me finishing writing the chapbook that weekend, over a week before April started. 

Yep, you read that right – I finished writing the chapbook entirely. 

With this in mind, this will probably be one of the first works I self-publish after “Bloody Fantasia” is published. I hope to share more progress on this either in my next newsletters and/or my next monthly writing progress post! 

4. I drafted an entire short story collection!

Yes, I did this too. It’s a very bare bones first draft, but it’s a first draft of ten short stories compiled in a collection.

And if you’re wondering what the theme is? Magical girls.

“Claris, you like magical girls? I had no idea you were into the genre!”

Yes, yes I do like magical girls! Sailor Moon (the 90s version) was one of the earliest anime I remember watching, and I got back into watching shows of that genre like Pretty Cure more recently. I also played a themed game called Life After Magic by Chirashi Games (it’s available on Steam and it’s great) that also helped inspire me to write this collection. For anyone who enjoys magical girls and wants more media in the genre, I hope this piques your interest.

I’ve added this short story collection to the WIP page as well, and its working title is “Stay Magical!” 

5. I also started drafting another standalone book.

There aren’t many details I can share about it for now, save for a two things:

  • The working title is “Immortalz.”
  • It’s an isekai LitRPG story where the main character ends up in the world of a video game.

I hope to share more details about it in the future! I’ve included this book on my WIP page.

Stock photo of a pair of hands resting on top of multiple open notebooks, while one hand is writing in one of said notebooks.

You might be wondering by now: “Claris, that’s a lot. How many projects are you working on?”

I took a moment to pore over all I accomplished so far this year. That’s when I found out I had nine to ten WIPs thanks to what I did in the first three months of the year. 

I immediately realized that I was on the path to potentially burning out if I didn’t get this huge amount of WIPs under control. After that, I forced myself to scale back on the amount of projects I was actively focusing on for the rest of the month. 

Heads-up:

I’ll be revealing the cover of “Bloody Fantasia,” my upcoming third book overall and the third book in the Harlow Mystery series, in my May 2024 writing progress blog post!  I also will reveal the book’s official release date in that same post!

I hope you look forward to hearing more about “Bloody Fantasia” on May 1st, 2024! Stay tuned for more details! 

GIF of a checklist being checked off.

My overall goals for this month are the following:

  • Review “Bloody Fantasia” prep so far and make sure the cover is ready for the reveal in May.
  • Design the cover for “Refilling The Well”
  • Finish drafting 25% of “Immortalz.” 

If I finish the above goals early, some possible goals I might try accomplishing are:

  • Read through and edit “Stay Magical!” 
  • Draft new short stories and/or poems
  • Submit poems and short stories to at least 3-5 lit mags or contests to be considered for publication

Thank you for following my writing journey!

I hope all of you enjoy reading more of my progress and upcoming work! Do you have any goals for this month? Let me know in the comments below!


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