The summer is heating up but the heat hasn’t stopped any progress on A.R. Dragonfly! Last time, I talked about how Volume 5 was in first draft and there were some things left to do for Volume 4.
Now, one month later, four out of seven chapters for Volume 5 are now in second draft and everything for Volume 4 is finished minus the character art! That means, once the character art is finished, Volume 4 will be ready for publication!
On the subject of art, there was a bit of a delay as my artist’s hard drive died on him. Still, I received art piece #7 as well as the sketch for piece #8. I usually use these updates to show off the art; however, I can’t do so this time. The 7th piece is, most-definitely, a spoiler as it is the final art piece that closes out the volume. The 8th art piece is something that I can’t decide whether or not it is a spoiler so I’m erring on the side of caution and withholding it.
Don’t worry, though as pieces 9-12 are of Takumi, Lynn, Amber, and Jeremiah… all of which are non-spoiler images that I will be able to show off once they are completed!
As for volume five, I’m working on the References bonus chapter as well as the character descriptions as I’m editing the chapters into second draft. This results in longer editing times and a slower editing process but a more efficient one as I’m knocking out three birds with one stone. So far, I have an art piece for Kaito, a new character named Jessi, a scene between Kaito and Amber, and a new fantasy character that ties into the story… and it’s NOT from Blaze Auras!
I also realize that Sebastian hasn’t had a solo art piece in a while. I’ll see if I can find a spot to interject one in Volume 5 so we can get him by himself once again.
Volume 4 and 5 haven’t been the only thing I’ve been working on. I decided to do some story mapping and as a result, I have the outlines for Volumes 6, 7, and 8 all laid out! I also came up with the ending to A.R. Dragonfly and I have a tentative number of volumes set before the series ends. I don’t want to give out a number because people may take that as concrete. I don’t want someone to say “OH! Josh said that A.R. Dragonfly is ending on Volume X” and then it ends up ending on Volume Y instead. I want to allow myself the flexibility to add/subtract content as needed.
Right now, the road map is set and the direction is heading towards the end of the series but since I’m always constantly coming up with new ideas when writing, I don’t want to announce the targeted number of volumes in case an idea sparks and everything changes around that idea.
I will say that the nice thing about the ending is that it’s the kind of ending that can be inserted anywhere at (almost) any point in the story so it is very flexible. For those who are enjoying the series, I will put your fears to rest. While the number of volumes is projected, the ending is still FAR away. I expect to still be writing this series for a couple of years before I get to the ending.
With Final Hope, I knew the ending before writing the story. I knew how to get there and I felt like my path was very linear. With A.R. Dragonfly, I started writing with an idea and just let the story flow naturally. When coming up with the ending, I didn’t want it to be a hard stop point. I wanted a flexible ending that could still allow the story to flow freely yet one that could also adapt to the story in case anything changed. I think I came up with such an ending!
Now… I want to address the elephant in the room.
For those who follow me on Twitter, you would have noticed that my Following number dropped by over 600. This is because I went in and unfollowed… well.. over 600 people. So no… I was not thrown into Twitter jail, I wasn’t hacked… none of that.
So, why did I enact The Purge?
I did so because something started in April. The whole #IndyApril movement caused a TON of people to follow my account. I decided to reciprocate and follow those people back, feeling that I was becoming part of a community. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the community was there in name only.
I was approaching 1,200 followers on my account and I was closing in on 1,000 people that I was following back. The more I looked at it, the more I realized that hardly anyone who followed me bothered to interact with me. There was no communication… the very backbone of what makes a community a community. All I had experienced were people who wanted nothing but numbers. People wanting to hit their following/follower milestones. Soon, I found myself missing tweets from people that I follow and/or enjoyed interacting with because they were getting buried in a sea of tweets from people who never once bothered to interact with me outside of pushing the follow button.
I can be spared the lectures. I know Twitter is a numbers game. I know it’s a popularity contest for a lot of people. I’m not dumb enough to not realize that.
However, Twitter is also something that YOU make of it. For me, I want it to be an actual true community based off of MY interests. My interests are to follow and interact with those who share the same passions that I do: gaming, anime, and manga. There are plenty of people that have interacted with me. Whether they have had DM conversations with me, read (and/or reviewed) my books, just shot the breeze with me on stuff, etc. Those interactions are what makes me keep coming back to Twitter and all of that was getting lost in a sea of people who wanted nothing more than numbers.
So, I decided that instead of going through and muting all of the accounts I didn’t want to see tweets from, that I would push the pseudo reset button by unfollowing (almost) everyone that followed me since IndieApril. There are some who had followed me that actually have interacted with me and, therefore, they were not unfollowed.
Sure, I’m bleeding followers left and right for my acts but as I look at those who have unfollowed me, I don’t recall a single one of them ever talking me… not even once.
Where is the community in that?
I said it before on Twitter and I will say it again. I would much rather have 10 people following me that I can have a conversation with and that are genuinely interested in me and what I do than have 1,000+ people who don’t say a word and only view you as another tick on their climb to whatever number milestone they are aiming for.
Also, those that I do follow… just to be clear… you are under zero obligation to follow me back. I followed you because I found something about you interesting or your interests aligned with mine and I wanted to see more content with you or, perhaps, have the chance to have a conversation with you. Nothing more. Nothing less.
To me, that is true community and that is what I will be using Twitter for. Even if my followers fall all the way down into the low hundreds because of my “purge,” I won’t care. As long as those are people I can enjoy interacting with and talking about my favorite things with, it’ll be more than enough for me.
So, there you have it.
For those who do enjoy my company and my writing, I hope you’re looking forward to Volume 4 (and beyond) of A.R. Dragonfly!
I’ll be sure to do some art updates if they come in between now and the September update!