Greysons Arc II: Five Months In

So… Arc II of Greysons of Grimoire is pretty dang long.     

Arc I, in its entirety, came in at a (at the time) gargantuan 138,414 words.

Arc II isn’t quite complete yet, and is currently sitting 234,242 words.

But I say it isn’t “quite” complete yet, because…

Arc II of Greysons is nearing its conclusion! The battle for the Library of Solitude has begun, and is being fought on multiple fronts: Chelsea and the others battling a horde of shadow-Hollows to defend the Dream Forge, Shana and the Princesses inside the Dream Forge seeking the Eternal Flame, and now Caleb and Mister Midnight are on their way to help, too. Meanwhile, Fae’s journey is reaching a major turning point of its own, as she goes with the Star sisters to heal the Fates.

Things are certainly much more climactic here at the end of Arc II than they were at the end of Arc I, aren’t they?

Arc I overall had a much more relaxed feel to it than Arc II, which isn’t a bad thing, but Arc II necessitated urgency and intensity due to the nature of its story. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride so far – there are perhaps two more weeks remaining in Arc II? Possibly three, but either way, it is very near its end.

This has been an extremely enjoyable part of the story to write, and much of it has come more naturally to me than Arc I did, when I was still figuring things out and moving pieces around, understanding where everyone fit and how the story should go. I love Arc I, and I would change little (if anything) about it, don’t mistake my criticisms, and some of those chapters and scenes – in particular the more relaxed ones – are still some of my very favorites in the series. But the faults that exist within Arc I are indicative of my unique methods for this project.

The way I’m writing this web novel means I don’t get to plan much in advance, but as I’ve said before – the farther I get into the story, the farther ahead I can see. The more of it I’ve written, the more what’s coming up next becomes clear to me. I think my enjoyment of this type of writing comes from my own past experiences.

I used to heavily outline my stories before I wrote a single word. I’d get so excited, plotting out big scenes and major turning points and twists…

And then I’d start writing.

No outline, for me, ever lasted beyond a handful of chapters before being almost completely useless. I think I’ve talked about this before, but I really don’t think you can fully understand your story and characters from outlines and preparation alone. You have to get into the trenches, you have to go on the journey with them, actually have them speak and act to understand who they are. You have to dive into the world you’re setting your story in – smell the aromas, see the sights, feel the ground beneath your feet – to really understand what that world is like, and what importance it does and will play in the story to come. And you’ll find that while you may be a bit directionless and confused at the start, the farther you get, the more you understand these characters and this world, the more easily you’re able to see where you’re going.

I did not expect where I would end up when I started this journey with Greysons. I quickly figured out that Isabelle was important and that Caleb and the others would be attempting to bring her back home to the Library of Solitude. But I certainly did not expect the breadth and scope of the Enchanted Dominion, or the concept of Daylight Bastions, or that Chelsea would become such a key character, or that Gwen would even exist (let alone have such importance), or that Caleb would be whisked away for a solitary journey of training and self-discovery. Mister Midnight was a last-minute, unexpected addition, rather in the manner that Caleb ended up training under him. Caleb chose Midnight because he was the teacher he could reach the soonest, without knowing anything about him, but I’m glad he went to Midnight rather than Professor Hawthorn. I’m sure Hawthorn’s a good guy and would have done right by Caleb, but Caleb’s learned far more than just how to use Time Magic properly from Midnight, and he’s also developed a dear friend.

Also, look forward to some very exciting Mister Midnight moments coming up before this Arc is over. He’s finally going to get a chance to show off, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Speaking of unexpected things, the Radiance and Eternals weren’t on my radar at all until Caleb reached Midnight and I thought “hey, this might be neat.”

That phrase – “hey, this might be neat” – informed a lot of the early story of Greysons, especially the many Locations visited. Starlight Spires, Sunset Square, Eventide Archive, the Crimson Docks, and many more Locations have played a part in this story largely because I thought the idea seemed neat and ran with it, not entirely knowing where it would lead.

I suppose if I had anything to say to a writer thinking about embarking on a web novel project, I would say this:

Go for it.

No matter who you are, no matter what your experience level is, no matter what kind of story you want to write, no matter what you think your writing style is, go for it. You may think “what about revisions and editing?” That’s the fun of a web novel, in my eyes. It trains you as a storyteller, because you don’t get second and third and fiftieth drafts. You get this one draft (barring a few quick rewrites before your self-imposed deadlines), and then you move on to the next chapter. You don’t even get to write the whole story before you put it out there. If that’s intimidating – good. It’s worth diving into something intimidating.

I will say this, and hope that it inspires someone somewhere: when I started deciding what to write as a web novel, I chose Greysons because it was a story I didn’t have much of a clue of where it would go yet, and I wasn’t very emotionally attached. If it turned out bad, I could just find a way to finish it quickly and move onto something new. But it only took a few chapters for me to get totally wrapped up in this world and these characters, and get excited about every new step forward. By accident, I ended up forced to write Greysons, with strict and swift deadlines that gave little time for edits or planning. And while at first step, I thought “this might be a good exercise for me as a writer,” it turned into more than that.

I found, by accident, a story that I love.

I’m being rather wistful in this monthly check-in, aren’t I? Maybe it’s the giant number I mentioned at the beginning of this post, but one way or another I’m finding myself staggered by how far this story has come, and how dear it’s become to me. It’s been a very experimental story for me for a number of reasons, and, perhaps rather like the main characters, writing it has taken me on a journey of self-discovery. I keep learning more and more about who I am as a writer and the kinds of stories I want to write. And I keep surprising myself! I couldn’t have written Greysons as a teenager, or even five years ago. When you’re doing things right as a writer, or any other artist for that matter, your work ends up heavily reflecting who you are. You end up expressing things, often unconsciously, through creative storytelling or interpretation that you never could outside of art (many of us artists are, after all, introverted creatures who struggle with expressing ourselves in “normal” ways).

So go. Write, or draw, make music or movies, but be creative. It might be the best mirror you can find to reflect the person you didn’t know you were.

You can look forward to things continuing to heat up and intensify in Greysons this week, but also another blog post. I’ve been on a semi-vacation (I say semi-vacation because, of course, I’m still hard at work on Greysons!) to North Carolina, and was at Animazement, a huge anime convention in Raleigh, with my sister over the weekend. It has been so much fun! I’ll be sharing some of my experience with that later this week (I took lots of pictures, I’m excited to share!). I hope you enjoy getting a peek into the many strange things that have so heavily influenced my storytelling.

Thanks for reading, truly, thank you so much. Please continue to enjoy Greysons and looking forward to what is to come. The story continues!