New Horizons

The year has come with a myriad of new horizons. My year abroad has allowed me to explore ancient ruins and imposing castles; stare in wonder at the northern lights; explore vast deserts on camelback; and even swim through coral reefs in the Red Sea alongside numerous schools of fish. It has been an amazing year, a year in which I have discovered many treasures. Next week I’ll reflect on the year on a more personal level, but for today I want to share some updates about my writing career.

Frontier Poetry

A couple weeks ago, I submitted a collection of nature poetry to be reviewed for publication by Frontier Poetry. (In so doing, I completed one of my literary goals I discussed in my New Year post.)This was my first time submitting something for external publication, and it is untraditional in the sense that this is strictly a contest: various amateur poets submit an anthology of poems, and one anthology is selected for publication. Whether I win or not, I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of editing and assembling these poems. In a best-case scenario, then I win the contest and am awarded $2000. In a worst-case scenario, I do not win the contest, but I have seventeen well-edited poems that I can do something else with.

Novel: Labyrinthian

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On Wednesday the 28th of March, I finished the second draft of one of my novels. Labyrinthian was my NaNoWriMo novel from 2016 – I wrote the entire first draft over the month of November. It’s a YA dystopian/post-apocalyptic science-fiction story that follows a small cast of characters as they try to find safety in a ravaged world.

The premise is based on real-world events and the hypothetical event of a catastrophic solar flare hitting the earth. In 1859, a solar flare smashed into the earth with shocking force. This solar flare, known as The Carrington Event, damaged telegraph lines across the US and Europe and even killed a few people. In today’s age of technology, such an event would be nothing short of cataclysmic.

In Labyrinthian, another flare has hit. And it hit harder than humanity thought possible. It altered the geological structure of the earth itself, leaving the earth riddled with deep trenches – a labyrinth – that humankind now struggles to live in. To make matters worse, the auroras that come from the solar flare are sentient, and seek to consume all life on earth. My novel follows a small cast of characters as they struggle to survive in this maze, seeking the fabled Mount Zion: a legendary mountain safe from the auroras.

Having completed my second draft of Labyrinthian, I am now preparing to polish it up and submit it to a fiction publication contest through FicFun. The top three submissions are awarded a monetary prize and promoted through the company’s advertising. As with the Frontier Poetry collection, I will find out if my novel places in the top three sometime in June. And as with Frontier Poetry, even if I don’t place, I still have a well-edited novel and I’m sure I can find something else to do with it if need be.

Novel: The Shattered Promise

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And now I turn to my next project, one that has been ongoing since my early life. In ninth grade I started writing a fantasy trilogy. I finished the first book by the end of ninth grade and the second book by the end of senior year. Since September, 2016, I have been working on cranking out the first draft of the last book.

At the beginning of this year I set a goal of finishing the book before the end of this academic semester. My semester ends unusually early: it’s over on April 19. Yes, I have less than two weeks left. And I still have around five long chapters left to write. The end is in sight, but I am running out of time to meet my deadline. In the midst of finals, it will be difficult to crack down and crank out the last few chapters of this book, but I am determined to see this through to the end.

I’m coming up on the climactic battle that I have looked forward to writing for almost six years now, and with that comes a bittersweet realization. This chapter of my life is coming to a close. Yes, there will need to be a second draft; I already have a loose framework for what needs to change next time I draft this book. And there will invariably be a third and fourth draft as well before this book is ready, not to mention books one and two of the trilogy.

The journey has been an amazing one, and this is only the first chapter in a much larger story. It is with a sweet nostalgia and an exuberant determination that I come upon the completion of the first draft of a trilogy I conceived of some fourteen years ago.

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