Setting a planned novel aside

All the way back in early December, I’d already decided what I was going to write for the April 2021 session of Camp NaNoWriMo. I spent some time reworking the plot, characters, and setting of Venére Magic, a novel I originally write in March & April 2015. I even redid the entire outline (25 chapters) from late December to early February. All the hard work was over! The only thing left to do was actually write and edit the novel.

I was fine with this plan until the last week of February, when I realized that this novel was not going to work.

There’s genuinely nothing wrong with it. It’s a perfectly fine story with a plot and characters who have goals, and I’m confident in my ability to write it well. The major problem Venére Magic has is that it does not fit thematically with the rest of my writing. This might seem like a weird concern, or maybe not even like a concern at all. People can write different things if they want! That should definitely be encouraged! There’s nothing wrong with a writer that jumps around to different genres and explores different things rather than sticking with one genre or subject.

The problem, I think, stems from the fact that I wrote this novel in 2015. I was a very different person then than I am now – I spent a lot of early & mid 2018 heavily examining every single aspect of myself and my life. The things I like reading & writing are largely the same, but I’m much more easily frustrated by stories that don’t examine the setting and its impact on the characters and instead treat it as an unimportant part of the background.

By “setting” I mean things like religion, cultural practices, languages, holidays, food, etc. I want to know why things are the way they are! Things don’t happen in a vacuum!

Unfortunately, Venére Magic in its current state doesn’t examine the things that it should. The setting has a rich history that I was not able to put into the outline because I wanted to keep Venére Magic as a shorter novel. Back when I was redoing the outline, I thought that was unfortunate. Now I think it’s lazy. I’m a little disappointed in my past self.

So Venére Magic is on hold until I think of a way to work everything I want to add into the story. By the time that happens, it probably won’t be a short novel any more. And since I didn’t want to write any longer novels this year, that probably means I’ll be putting it on hold for a longer period of time than I wanted to. What a bummer!

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