Once Upon a Dream – Book Three First Draft Complete

Once Upon a Dream – Book Three First Draft Complete

I have finished penning the first draft of Once Upon a DreamDomerin‘s first official trilogy. This report on the third and final installment comes a little late because, like everything else in my life, it has been heavily affected by our recent move.

As I mentioned during my update about the second installment, my biggest challenge and triumph for getting through book two was finding time to write it amidst the rush and stress of moving. I finished that book just five days before we moved to the new house. I started the third book a mere two days before we packed everything and switched houses. Which provided a fresh challenge.

Challenge The First

Nothing about this move went according to plan. Since I’ve already spoken about it at length, I’ll stick to how the move impacted by writing. First and foremost, we were in the middle of a major basement renovation when we moved houses. The original plan was to have it finished before we made the transition, but that didn’t work out. In order to get the work finished before our helpers had to leave (and the money situation became dire), it was all hands on deck as often as possible.

Which put me in a difficult position. I missed so much writing time in the lead up to the move, I didn’t dare miss another entire week. My family is aware of and supportive of what I do. But that didn’t stop me from feeling guilty over every hour I stole from the house renovation to work on words instead. Because that’s what it felt like – stolen time.

Luckily, thanks to the dedication of our in-laws, and a lot of help from local friends, we finished the renovation just in time.

That should have made it easier to find time, right? Well… it didn’t. The runaround prior to the move meant that a lot of the organization we wanted to do prior to packing never took place. In the end, things got dumped in available box space to be sorted out post-transition. Because the plan sort of goes out the window at 10PM the night before you move when you suddenly realize you have twice as much stuff as you thought.

Challenge The Second

Heart of a Kingdom (the new tentative title for Once Upon a Dream Book 3) was the first thing I wrote in my new office. And while that’s exciting, it wasn’t as fun as I hoped. You see, I was planning to buy a new desk as part of the transition between houses. Unfortunately, neither the budget nor the time were available. So I had to unpack everything to my old desk until we could find a more permanent solution. In fact, a lot of things ended up unpacked to temporary spaces until we could sort out what we actually wanted to do with them. Which made unpacking take twice as long as we anticipated.

Partly this was due to the aforementioned disorganization of the packing. But it also took forever to get each portion of the new house ready to be unpacked. There was also a bunch of other stuff going on in our lives at the time. Getting the new house in order was a priority, so I spent a lot of time moving back and forth between writing and unpacking. I set a lot of hefty goals that made for a lot of long days, but I was pretty happy when I got rid of the last boxes in December.

I don’t want to go too deeply into all the other things we had going on during November and December of 2019. Suffice to say most of them involved money. The drop in stress we hoped for after we transitioned to the new house simply didn’t happen. All this added up, which made it harder and harder to write.

Doubt is Always the Loudest Demon

For many reasons, I still felt I needed to finish Once Upon a Dream before the new year rolled around. I worried I’d be too far behind if I didn’t. And I had already stolen so much time and energy during the big transition, not following through felt like a waste.

There were days I worried about the quality of the words I wrote. I’d get to the end of a session and despair being able to actually use any of the scene post-edit. I knew stress was affecting my state of mind, but there wasn’t much I could do about it.

On the flip side, writing was one of the only things that kept me sane through the worst days. Writing has always been an escape for me. It’s one of the reasons I love it so much. It lets me step out of my mundane life and go elsewhere for a little while. I come back at the end, of course, and my life is always waiting for me. On good days, this means a vacation to another planet or a day trip to a dungeon. But on bad days it means a sense of overwhelming dread both when I sit down to write and when I finish.

I kept going mostly because giving up felt like a bigger mistake.

The Final Challenge

It didn’t help that Heart of a Kingdom is almost entirely action sequences. Fight scenes are always a challenge for me. I should be used to this – every third book in the Celestial Serenade was almost pure pay off. Because when you spend two books building things up, it’s really easy to have it all come to a head in the final installment.

Unfortunately, despite outlining all my major projects, something always manages to blindside me. In this case, I hadn’t actually planned a lot of the confrontations that take place at the end. (Whoops!) I knew who was showing down against who, but I ended up making up a lot of the details off the top of my head.

On the one hand, this gives me a really good foundation for the next pass. On the other hand, I know a lot of those scenes will need to be expanded or just plain re-written. Because another thing I overlooked during the planning stages of this story were the mechanics of how modern technology and magic interact with each other.

There’s a lot of epic combat in this book. But if I don’t establish some rules at some point, it’s all going to feel pretty random and off the cuff – which is sure to pull the reader out of the story rather than immersing them deeper.

Looking Toward the Future

There are always kinks to work out of every story. Now that the madness of the move is mostly behind us, I’m looking forward to digging my fingers deeper into this world and making it shine. I managed to squeeze the last scene of the last book into existence the day before New Year’s Eve, and I’m pretty proud of the accomplishment. It’s really cool to have a plot that’s been in my head so long finally take a physical form. And while it’s not yet perfect, it’s got tons of potential.

For now, Once Upon a Dream is sitting on the shelf, stewing in its own juices, growing richer until I’m ready to come back to it. The next big challenge for this series will be filling in the blanks while I outline the second trilogy…

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