Ranking Magical Specialties

Today I’m giving you access to my writing notes. Some of them, at least. There’s plenty of notes I have that contain too many spoilers or information that frankly may seem a bit dull, but I think you’ll all be interested in how magical specialties are ranked.

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FanFact is a novel about a fangirl, Clara, who finds herself in the world of her favorite book series, The Hierarchy of Magic. In this world the political landscape is changing rapidly. Magical specialties, the type of magic you are most naturally skilled at, are being ranked based on how useful they are perceived to be for society. Your rank determines not only the type of employment you can find, but your place in society.

I had a lot of fun playing with magical specialties and ranking them in an order based on what a capitalist society would think. In a world where everything is about making money, it only makes sense that your magic has a perceived worth as well.

While most people can do most types of magic, there is one skill set they tend to excel at, which determines the path their life will take. Below, see some of my notes on the Hierarchy Party as well as the tiers they have placed magical specialties into.

(But don’t be surprised if additional specialties pop up in the novel).

Hierarchy Party

A rising political party that believes your magical specialty directly correlates to your worth in the world, and should determine how much agency and power you have in society. Presented as a way to make society more organized and more efficient. Recently passed a law separating magical specialties into tiers. Different tiers dictate how much schooling is required, and this means people fill jobs related to their specialties which helps to alleviate the job crisis in certain fields.

Tier 1 Magical Specialties

Dark Magic
Elemental Magic
Manipulation Magic
Time Magic
Dimension Magic
Illusion Magic
Voodoo Magic

Tier 2 Magical Specialties

Concealment Magic
Healing Magic
Teleportation Magic
Alchemical Magic
Geometrical Magic
Analytical Magic

Tier 3 Magical Specialties

Memory Magic
Light Magic
Weather Magic
Dream Manipulation Magic
Animal Control Magic
Assembly Magic
Craftsmanship Magic
Fertility Magic

Of course this isn’t a comprehensive list, but it does give you an idea of how roles are broken down within the Hierarchy of Magic world.

What do you think? Are you surprised by any of the tiers? Let me know, I’d love to talk about it!

Behind The Scenes: Editing FanFact

As you may have seen, I’ve finished my first draft of FanFact, the story of a fangirl who stumbles into her favorite fantasy book series. After taking a brief break to give myself some space from the manuscript, I’ve started the editing process.

Every author has a different editing process, and I’m just starting to really understand my own. This is my third fully completed novel, but it is the first I’ve gone back to do hard edits on. I think part of the reason for this is because I had such a firm handle on this story from day one, and I have a more vocal support group than I used to.

This time I think I’m actually going to get through the editing process without losing my mind!

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Step 1 - Beta Reader

The first thing I did was hand off my finished rough draft to my first beta reader. During this time, I didn’t go anywhere near my manuscript. You need to give yourself space right after you write something, otherwise it is easy to ignore mistakes because you don’t realize something in your head didn’t make it to the page.

I’ve sent my draft to several people for feedback, but I only waited for one of them to finish their critique before I went back to work.

Having a talented beta reader is necessary when working on a novel. They point out plot holes, where there needs to be more character development, inconsistencies in the text, and so much more. Once I have these notes I can move on to step two.

Step 2 - Making Notes On The Manuscript

After reading the notes from my beta reader I drove to the local library on a breezy, cloudy day. Before that day I had never printed any of my manuscripts, mostly because it seemed like a pain and I didn’t see the point when I could make the edits directly on the computer.

But what I’ve come to understand from working as a professional copywriter is that printing materials you write on a computer is one of the best things you can do in terms of editing. Why is this?

  • We’re conditioned to expect computer documents to be neat and organized. Track changes look messy.

  • It is easier to write notes (“Re-write”, “Expand this section”) on paper, versus on the computer where it feels like the changes should be made immediately.

  • It’s easier to spot typos on paper.

  • It is impossible to get wrapped up in re-writing specific sections, because there’s just no room to do it.

I’m really loving making my edits on my physical manuscript. There’s something extremely satisfying about it. For this round of edits I’m ignoring typos and grammar, and instead focusing on sections of the text that need re-writes.

After I make it through the manuscript the first time, I’ll have a full manual stating where I need to put in the most writing work. Then it will be back to writing again based on those manuscript notes, until I’ve gotten through all of them.

Step Three - Back To The Beta Readers

After I finish making all the noted changes, including the changes proposed by my beta reader, I’ll send the manuscript back out. Hopefully this time I’ll only get a few, smaller notes for improvement. The goal is to not have any major rewriting to do after I get my second round of feedback.

As notes from my beta readers come in, I’ll start applying changes as needed. By now my writing should be at its best.

Step Four - Proofreading & Fact Checking

This is the bit of the editing process that I am looking forward to least. Step four is a much more monotonous undertaking than the first three steps, and it requires I pay very close attention to every single word I’ve written.

This isn’t just looking for typos and grammar errors. This is the final run before I start to pitch to agents. That means that everything has to be as perfect as it can be. I need to fact check not just my research, but my own writing.

From page to page, all the little details have to be consistent. Liam must be the same age across the entire book. Small details, such as town names, must always match. Details that are unnecessary and distracting must be removed so they don’t create confusion for the reader.

My beta readers will make some of these corrections themselves, but that doesn’t get me off the hook.

As I continue through the editing process I’ll be sending exclusive previews to my email newsletter subscribers. Sign up so you don’t miss out!

The First Draft Of FanFact Is Complete!

On Sunday morning, I wrote the last word in the first draft of my novel, FanFact.

Finishing the novel has given me a lot of mixed emotions. The basic idea of FanFact, about a fangirl who finds herself in the world of her fandom, is something I’ve dreamed about for years. But actually writing the story happened on a whim, after I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and realized this type of story could actually be published.


I first started FanFact in November 2017 during National Novel Writing Month. The completed novel came in at about 74,000 words, pretty standard for a YA novel. What the word count will actually be once I start to query agents, I don’t know.

FanFact still needs a lot of work. I’ve already sent it to my first beta reader, and after I take a week or two off from it I plan to read the novel from start to finish and take notes on the major edits it needs. My beta reader already gave me notes for the first half of the novel that I need to address. I’m excited to get started on these changes to make the novel the best it can be.

What Are People Saying?

“I was obsessed with Blane and Liam from probably the second chapter. I've already written two fanfics and if I could draw I'd be doing nothing else but fanart.”

“April has an inviting style that calls the readers to keep reading. Her characters are authentic, clever, and dynamic. Even the smallest details help the scenes to come alive. The book has a familiarity and a taste of nostalgia that will be relatable for anybody who has been in the world of fandom.”

I’ve only sent large sections of FanFact to four people so far, but the response has been better than I imagined. People seem to really relate to Clara. I am so excited to share it with all of you!

What Now?

So the next question really is...what’s next?

As I mentioned, I’ll be working on editing FanFact and querying agents. I’m hoping to start the query process by this winter. Once summer is over I want to sit down and really focus on getting my manuscript in top shape.

Besides writing, I also want to focus on building an audience of people who are just as excited about this book as I am. That’s why I have a special offer for you.

Refer one person, just one, who you think would enjoy this book to my website and get them to subscribe to my email newsletter. Comment here letting me know who you referred, and I’ll send you the complete first chapter of FanFact.

Remember this is the first, rough draft of chapter one, so please forgive me for anything that isn’t completely polished yet.

I only send out emails once a month or so, and I promise not to spam anyone’s inboxes with tons of emails. I’m just hoping to build a loyal audience that can get exclusive updates and honestly, vouch for me as I start down this tough path of publishing.

Just hearing kind words from you all is a huge motivator. Writing is a lot of hard work and trying to be heard in the online world can get discouraging. Even just a comment on my Facebook statuses can make my day. Thank you to everyone for the support, and you’ll be hearing more from me soon!