Welcome back to another progress update for A.R. Dragonfly and From Ashe! I kind of blew a lot of stuff in the mid-February progress update so this one will be a little bit on the thin side when it comes to content. The only thing I really have to report on A.R. Dragonfly is that writing is continuing on Volume 10.
Last time, I said that I was 2 chapters into the book. Now I am about 8 pages into Chapter 6. I’m hoping to have this volume wrapped up either later today or on Monday.
I did make a decision with A.R. Dragonfly, though. I am really, REALLY far ahead of where I want to be. With Volumes 7 and 8 completed and ready for publishing, I have books scheduled to release through June of this year. The artwork for Vol. 9 will be submitted in April around the time Vol. 7 launches. So that doesn’t really leave me with much to do until then. So I decided to work on a new schedule which is less complicated and convoluted than the one I previously made for myself.
Quite simply, I’m not going to do any editing. Once Vol. 10 is done, I’m moving right onto Vol. 11 and then Vol. 12. My new goal is to have the final three volumes in first draft before Vol. 7 launches in April.
Then in April, I plan to get Vol. 9 into Final Draft and Vol. 10 into Second Draft. When Vol. 8 launches in June, I’ll submit Vol. 10’s artwork and get Vol. 11 into Second Draft. See how that works now? This will give me so much time to just focus on editing while giving myself a bit of a break from writing.
I won’t be just editing them; however. I will begin outlining the A.R. Dragonfly Origins series. This will be incredibly fun as I get to work on the backstories of Amber, Kaito, Sebastian, Takumi, and Lynn. In between all of that, I will continue to flesh out ideas for From Ashe.
The year is still young but I want to also write all five volumes of A.R. Dragonfly Origins by the end of the year so I can release them at the beginning of 2021. Once the writing is complete, I do plan to take a much-needed break from writing. I don’t want to rush into From Ashe. I want to make sure I have everything that I need in order to start that series and do it justice. I want to reflect on the things that worked on A.R. Dragonfly and the things that didn’t and try to carry those lessons forward with From Ashe… much like I did when I transitioned from Final Hope into A.R. Dragonfly.
But that’s about it on progress for A.R. Dragonfly. One other tidbit is that I have two new character biography cards on the site but they won’t be posted until Vol. 7 even though they appear in Vol. 6. It’s kind of a spoiler thing and I don’t want people who haven’t read Vol. 6 yet to see those characters and be shocked ahead of time. I figure Vol. 7’s release time frame will give people enough time to check out the content!
Now, as for From Ashe… I’ve done a lot of work already on that series as far as planning how I want the series to go.
Right now, I have a big cast of characters but they don’t have any names yet. Only my two main characters, Ashe and Renji, as well as an editor Ashe will interact with later in the story have names. Everyone else is basically listed as Boy #1, Girl #1, etc. I do know what roles they will play but I haven’t determined what they look like or what their full personalities will be just yet.
In addition, I realized that with From Ashe, it has the potential to have infinite content. Throughout my life, I’ve written short stories, poetry, song lyrics, and I have a lot of ideas for other light novels that never really came to fruition. I could actually use all of that content for From Ashe for all of the stories that Ashe writes. It even gave me the idea to publish some of my early works as bonus chapters which could act like stories that Ashe herself writes.
Of course, even though it is a slice-of-life story about Ashe becoming a writer, there needs to be more dynamics to the story than just that. I gave Ashe a career, I decided what kind of drama could unfold from that. Then there are writing competitions, the trials of success and failure, acceptance and rejection, drama within friendships as well as Ashe and Renji’s backstories which will hopefully tug at readers heartstrings.
I’m still looking to add more dynamics to the story that are interesting. I don’t want to add stuff to it for the sake of just adding layers. I want those layers to mean something. If it doesn’t enhance Ashe’s character (either positively or negatively) and affects her journey, then I don’t want it in my story. Like, if Ashe wakes up and suddenly realizes she forgot to go out and vote in the election, what does that have to do with becoming a writer? That’s just nonsensical filler content that doesn’t belong in the story. However, if Ashe writes a short story and posts it online and it gets torn apart by so-called internet critics and it sends her into tears… that’s something that impacts her journey.
So, I’ve been creating a lot of scenarios and the more I think about it, the more I’m seeing a complete picture unfold. I don’t have an ending in mind and I don’t intend to start writing this series with an ending. I want to do it like A.R. Dragonfly where I just started writing; going from one story arc to the next until an ending comes to me and I decide where it fits.
I cannot promise anything but with the amount of content and story arcs I have in mind, From Ashe could easily surpass A.R. Dragonfly in the number of total volumes by the time it’s all said and done.
I also know that I said that I didn’t want to adhere to a set number of chapters with From Ashe like I did with A.R. Dragonfly; however, after writing Vols. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10… I’m starting to see a trend that even with a set number of 7 chapters, my books are beginning to tip to the 300 page scale with Vol. 10 looking to be the biggest book I’ve written since Vol. 1 of Final Hope which was 320 pages. I’m beginning to think that setting a number of chapters per volume might just be a good thing as I can control the pacing better and some books won’t feel as lopsided.
The question is how many chapters? Do you guys like the 7 chapter format? Do you think I should do less like 5 or 6? Should do more like 8 or 9? Not sure if I want to do more because with how I’ve developed my writing, I feel going over 7 could produce a 400-500 page book. It’s not just a reading time thing but it’s a cost thing, too. If I want to continue to charge $9.99 for paperbacks, I need to keep it at the current length or less than what the later volumes of A.R. Dragonfly are now.
Otherwise, I’ll have to bump the price of From Ashe’s volumes up to $14.99 for paperback if I go 400+ pages with each book. This is to offset the printing cost, the cut Amazon takes, and (if I’m ordering author copies), the shipping costs. It also means autographed copies might be $20-$25 versus the $15 now (which I’m barely breaking even on if I were to be completely transparent).
So, there’s a business side of things to consider but, honestly… it’s up to you… the readers. Would you be willing to pay more if I were to write more content? Do you think 7 chapters per book is a comfortable enough read? Be sure to give me your feedback to help me decide what to do! After all, you guys are the ones reading the books. I simply just sit here and clack away on my keyboard in my spare time.
I want to remind everyone that I have begun to put myself out there for interviews (either verbal on a podcast or written). If you are interested in listening to me babble on about my books or if you want to talk to me about anything else I love (anime, manga, video games, pro wrestling, etc). Feel free to get in contact with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or shoot me a DM on Twitter @JJPiedraOELN. In fact, I already have my first interview booked with The Firestorm Podcast! We’re going to be recording that episode soon so I’ll be sure to do a separate blog post once it goes up so you all can check it out!
Also, if you are a member of the press or media and/or have a blog site. My books are available for free to review via PDF format. The only requirement is that you must post a review of the book I send you. I don’t care if you praise it to the moon and back or say that my writing belongs in a dumpster fire. Just be honest as I take all constructive feedback seriously. Simply saying “hey, your book sucks” does nothing and means nothing to me.
One more thing… I teased on Twitter that I am working on something to help the OELN community. I am still working on the final details but I have a good idea of what I want to do. Let’s just say that it will give people some exposure and give OELN writers a chance at something that most other places ignore or turn them down for. One thing I will say is that I am offering all of this at the very steep price of Free. I know it might be hard to afford Free but I think a good majority of us can muster up enough grit to take the plunge and buy into this Free offer that costs absolutely nothing.
I hope to have the details finalized and ironed out by the mid-March update.
Oh, and one last thing… again lol. I can’t leave you all without flashing some artwork. Have a sneak peak at Volume 7’s promotional key art!
Okay… NOW I’m done!
As always, thank you for reading and I’ll see you all mid-month!