What’s Next?

So I know it’s only been one week and three days since I released The Malicious Wind, but I think it’s good to let you all know what I’ll be up to for the rest of the year. I have been planning my next steps even before the release, so might as well share the plan, right?

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Character at a Glance: Sano

To celebrate the release of my first webnovel The Malicious Wind, I want to dedicate a post to the main protagonist of the story, Sano!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time now, especially because Sano is the type of character that can pull through difficult challenges without losing his spirit. He’s someone that I personally find inspirational during these uncertain times.


Sano is a sixteen-year-old boy who grows up in a forest by the foothills with his mother. Because his mother is a practitioner of illegal magic, they keep mostly to themselves, avoiding all contact with other people unless those people intend to do business with them. Sano spends his idle time dreaming of venturing out into the real world.

One day, he ironically gets his wish — by becoming a wanted criminal. Sano is driven out of his isolation by warriors who intend to arrest him and bring him to the king for trial and execution. Sano flees from his home with the help of a girl, Anina, and they work together to evade the king while trying to reunite with his mother.

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My Editing Journey

Hi guys! Before I jump into the meat of this post, I’d like to say that I hope you are all doing okay. Wherever you are, I know there is a lot happening. No matter the degree of severity, we’re allowed to feel stressed and uncertain about our situation.

I’m probably one of the lucky few whose lifestyle wasn’t affected too much — the company I work for was able to transition smoothly to a full-time virtual environment, and all the things I love to do like reading, writing, and drawing, are things I can do at home. And yet, the past couple of weeks have been bone-wearying for me. Change is hard, even if only a few small things changed in my life. The constant barrage of tragic news makes it nearly impossible to enjoy the things I used to do, even at home. The conflicting reactions to stress creates tension in a household I can’t leave. One would think that with stay-at-home policies in place, I would find all the time I needed to really dive into the last stages of my writing. But the fact is that I’ve been wallowing a bit. I know, it’s not a good excuse, and I have resolved to do better.

I hope that wherever you are and however you are dealing with the pandemic, that you will stay safe and strong!


I will be writing the final draft of my story next month, and I thought it’s a good time to reflect on the journey that has brought me to this point. In the end, I will have a total of 7 drafts. A part of me feels that’s too few — I know that some writers go through dozens of drafts. But on the other hand, 7 drafts in 4 years feels like a lot, especially considering that I was doing all of this on the side.

Drafts 1 – 3

For the first couple of drafts, I was mostly concerned about the main plot of the story and the characterization of my protagonists. These first several drafts focused on getting all the pieces into place in a way that makes the most narrative sense. I didn’t worry much about grammar or style.

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Finished Draft 6!

I’m only 5 days belated from my goal of finishing this draft by the end of 2019, and I don’t think that’s bad at all! I even went from 105K words to 93K words, so I am quite proud of myself.

What’s next? I’ll just polish it up a bit, then off it goes to a copyeditor. After that, we’ll see, but I’m both excited and relieved that I’m finally wrapping up this project.

Teetering between MG and YA

Last weekend, I surprised myself by reaching the 24th chapter of my sixth draft. It seems like I might just be able to finish this draft before the new year. That was my initial intention, but as I slowly lost steam around the half-way point, I became resigned to the possibility that I will finish much later. I’m still thinking of giving myself some slack, because the holidays are a busy time of the year, and I don’t know what might come up and derail me.

But yes, I’m on chapter 24, out of 31 predicted chapters. Now that I’m nearing the end of this draft, I’m once again thinking about where in the MG/YA spectrum my story really falls.

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No NaNoWriMo & An Early Look At My 2020 Plans

Since I started doing NaNoWriMo in 2016, I have participated in every single WriMo challenge, including the camps in April and July, up until last November. I got to the point in my novel where I didn’t find the fast-paced, get-your-words-down-at-all-cost objective of NaNoWriMo helpful anymore.

That’s still true this time around, so I’m a little sad to say that I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Even though my participation spanned less than two years, it still feels odd not to be gearing up for it. I remember how I used to prepare all of my notes and outlines just in time for the challenges, and studiously keeping up with my word counts when it was time to crunch them. In some ways, even though they were exhausting, I miss those months. It gave me something to focus on outside of work, and my consistent progress made me feel very productive.

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Character at a Glance: Anina

Today I want to talk about one of my protagonists, Anina.

It’s still a little strange to sit down and decide, “Yes, it’s time to talk about a character,” because part of me feels like it’s still premature. Although my story had already gone through multiple beta readers, a developmental edit, and a line edit, sometimes I still feel like I’m at that earlier stage where at any moment, my story can crumble to pieces, and I’d have to make yet another major revision.

However, I do think that it’s time to open up a little more about my story. Many of you have been with me since the inception of this blog, and I have been posting about my writing process since late 2016. Since then, I have ranted about the woes of writing, blogged about NaNoWriMo challenges, and shared all the artwork I made related to this novel.

Yet in all that time, I’ve never really talked about the components of my story in fair detail. I’ve dropped character names, but who are they really? Why should you care about them? Why do I feel like spending years and years crafting their story? What kind of world do they live in?

So I’m hoping that in this new series of posts, I can share with you more information about the different pieces of my story and what inspired them.


Anina is a sixteen-year-old girl who is looking for a way to gain magic. She has been searching for a few years, but nobody had been able to answer her. One day she hears of a reclusive mage up in the mountains who dabbles in illegal magic. Hoping that this person can help her, Anina decides to seek her.

Unfortunately for Anina, when she arrives at the Hermit Mage’s house, the mage herself is nowhere in sight. Even worse, she finds the king’s warriors trying to arrest the mage’s son, Sano. Without meaning to, Anina gets caught up in the conflict, and ends up fleeing the scene as an accomplice of a fugitive.

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New Story Idea: Butuan Gold

Is it too early to start talking about a new story, when I am nowhere near the finish line with The Malicious Wind?

Well, early or not, I am quite eager to share this new idea that’s been brewing the last few months. Partly because I am incredibly excited about this idea (that sometimes I wonder about shelving TMW and starting on this), and partly because I would love to hear what you all think about it.

Premise

A double-heist set in 15th century Kingdom of Butuan (now a province of the Philippines), the story follows two groups of characters.

The Dimatulak family are expert con-artists who have swindled their way through the Tagalog nobility. Bored and looking for a new challenge, they set their eyes south to Butuan, a kingdom brimming with gold. Rumours tell them of an underground treasury with more precious minerals than all the islands of the archipelago combined. Doing what they do best, the Dimatulak family comes up with a plan to steal the treasure.

On another part of the archipelago is a rag-tag group of former servants and slaves, who have recently survived a shipwreck. With no money and no master, they hear of similar rumours and decide that freedom and wealth would suit them better. They bring together their skills from hardened lives to empty the treasury and fill their pockets.

Unbeknownst to both groups, they set the robbery to the same time: the upcoming lunar eclipse. Both are more than prepared for their own heists. Unfortunately, they didn’t prepare for each other.

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Names from my WIP

For those of you who have been following me for a while, you would know that my current WIP (tentatively titled The Malicious Wind, by the way) is inspired largely by precolonial Filipino culture. However, the setting isn’t exactly precolonial Philippines, just something more or less based on it. So the names I’ve chosen are also based on Filipino words, but with some letters altered.

Names based on Tagalog words

There are two groups in my story that are derivatives of the Tagalog peoples: the Katamans and the Dayungans. In the story, they are in conflict with each other, which is why I chose to base them on the same group. Otherwise, I think I would be drawing inappropriate or inapplicable parallels where the conflict is concerned.

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