FanFact

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
Astrology
Numeromancy

Tier 3 Magical Specialties

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

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!

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.

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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!

Does Anyone Actually Like Battle Scenes In Novels?

He swung his sword. She dodged and swung at him. Etc, etc…

He swung his sword. She dodged and swung at him. Etc, etc…

I’m back after a brief hiatus! I had hoped I would have FanFact finished by now, but I got hung up for ages working on the big final battle scene. Thankfully it’s done so I just have to finish the falling action and epilogue.

But I was hung up on that battle scene for so long that I found myself asking people if they even enjoyed battle scenes.

What are your favorite battle scenes in novels? I asked myself this question and couldn’t think of an answer outside of battles from Harry Potter. While I enjoy battle scenes through visual mediums, I’ve always found battle scenes in novels to be sort of boring, both when I read them and when I write them myself.

I hate writing battle scenes. I’ve struggled with them since I started writing fanfiction over a decade ago. And yet, I love fantasy and sci-fi novels. Inevitably I am going to end up writing battle scenes in my books.

I thought about detailing why exactly I hate writing battle scenes, but even writing in detail about battle scenes makes me frustrated, so I decided I’d just give you some bullet points instead.

  • I write from first person, so unless a character sees it directly, I can’t describe what is actually happening

  • I need a detailed outline of every battle scene

  • I never know how long or short to make a battle scene

  • How do you come up with creative ways to say “she swung her sword” over and over?

  • How do you describe multiple characters during a battle at the SAME TIME?

  • I have no fighting skills so I have no idea if the battle is realistic

  • Making the battle scene choreographed enough but not too choreographed

  • Pacing

Even though I write in first person most of the time I still find myself objectively describing battle scenes, which is pretty much the exact opposite of the thing you’re supposed to be doing. I get so hung up on what is happening that I make it my mission for the reader to understand too.

I’m still trying to figure out the balancing act of my readers understanding what is going on while also being caught up in the chaos of battle.

Another problem is that FanFact battles all involve magic, so it requires more explanation than sword fighting. A reader is going to understand more subtle language when it comes to a blade battle, but what about a battle with different types of magic? How do I describe that magic without having to use the name of the matter, element, or spell each time?

And since I’ve talked so much about battle scenes, it only seems fair that I let you read a bit of one.

The wall vanished behind me, a sudden crash of stone and smoke. I covered my eyes, a deep cough filling my throat as I crawled away from what was left of the wall. The lights in the room flickered then went dark. I heard a thud of something hitting a wall near me, but it was too dark to see what. The darkness was unnatural; so black that I couldn’t even see the outline of other people. Small flashes of color streaked across my vision as my eyes desperately tried to make sense of the darkness.

“Blane,” I called, “Blane! Where are you?”

Light filtered in, just for a moment. My eyes and head were filled with sharp pain at the sudden brightness. I glimpsed fighting; officials cornering others and trying to corral them all into one place. “Run!” I had no idea how well my voice could be heard over the rest of the shouting in the room, but I had to try. “We have to get out!”

It went dark again. I stumbled to my feet, a sharp pain radiating from my chest as I tried to gather my breath. “Blane?” It was impossible to distinguish one voice from another. I was still too scared to call out for Liam. I tried a lighting spell but it didn’t work. I wasn’t sure if it was because of whatever spell was being used to make it so dark, or if it was because I barely knew what I was doing.

So...how is it?

Readers, do you like battle scenes? If you do, what do you like about battle scenes? What do you want to see most? Let me know so I can write the battle scenes you want to be reading!