Iridia Update

Hello, friends!

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared anything about Unrooted or the rest of the Iridia series. I think I spent time away nursing my wounds from parting ways with my publisher, so I wasn’t inclined to share much (it’s a little embarrassing when you’ve been talking up something that doesn’t end up happening). So, I’ve kept a bit quiet on here, though if you follow me on Twitter you might have seen updates now and then. But, here’s a quick rundown of Things That Have Happened.


I revised my query letter and begin sends queries again not too long after I separated from my publisher (God it sounds like a divorce). One of the first queries I got back was a request for a full manuscript, which was really exciting!


That agent replied saying that she loved my worldbuilding and loved Pomona, but that Nevea read a bit young for her. This set off a lightbulb in my head, because in the process of realizing that Unrooted is adult, I never stopped to revisit Nevea’s voice to better make it fit that category. To address this problem, I aged up all the characters by three years, so Pomona now turns 22 during the book and Nevea is approaching 21. I also made appropriate adjustments to her voice and arc to better fit an older character, and I’m thrilled with the result. I’ve since sent the revision back to that agent, but even if she decides to turn me down, I know that this change has seriously elevated the series.


For this year’s NaNoWriMo, I reworked one of the major plot lines in Book Four, which I initially wrote from NaNoWriMo 2016. While I loved the character beats, the plot was dull, so in this new version I saved some old things but also added new characters, which I think really flesh out that part of the book. I wound up with 18k more words than I’d planned, but cutting down is Future Sarah’s problem. 


Today, I revisited the timeline now that I’ve aged up the characters. Now that I don’t have the restrictions of a YA timeline (i.e. keeping the characters within spitting distance of teenaged), I can stretch things out a bit more and also, as a result, make things more realistic. As of right now, the whole series takes up four years, though I may push it to five depending on what happens when I write Book Five. 


I’ve put off querying until I was settled into the revision, and publishing is about to go asleep this month, so I’ll start querying again in January. I hope to hear back from the R&R agent then, but otherwise I’ve got a list of other agents to query now that I have revitalized the book. 

That’s about all she (I) wrote! I’m going to try to update more often this coming year, but if you’re ever hungry for more, I often share my quick-and-dirty thoughts on Twitter. ❤


I DID IT!!! I won NaNoWriMo 2018!

I’m sorry I didn’t do a thread like last year, but I just couldn’t juggle it. But in brief:

My initial goal was only 32k because I just wanted to rewrite Pomona’s plotline from Book Four. There was a lot of material I planned to save, so my word count this year is comprise of both pasted material and new material. 

In the end, I wrote 52,506 words and finished the draft! So I met one goal and exceeded the other! 

Despite the fact that I really should sleep, I stitched together this new draft with the Nevea and Lina material that I wrote last year. The word count of the Book Four draft is now 172,556 words

(One part of me is instinctively like MUST CUT but then again I am writing in adult fantasy now so that kind of word count for a fourth book in a series probably isn’t as outrageous as it would be in YA.)

(Nevertheless the book is still a bit of a mess–better than it was–and I’ll need to do a lot of editing in the future.)

I finished writing around 11:30pm on November 30th, which means that it’s both the longest word count I’ve finished with and the latest I’ve finished. Just tonight, I wrote 8,814 words. Some was pasted in, mostly the last chapter, but that only accounted for 2,466 words. Given the kind of shitty month I’ve had, I’m really proud to have finished NaNoWriMo, and this draft, just in time. Now I can set it aside and focus on finishing the semester. 

I’ll try and share some lines in the future, but for now I’m signing off. Congratulations to all fellow NaNo winners! 

WIP Game

Go to your current WIP. Find the seventh line on the seventh page and copy and paste seven sentences below. Then, tag seven other writers to do the same.

I was tagged by @spaceshipkat! I can’t think of anyone to tag but feel free to go for it! 

from Undeserted (working title), by NaNoWriMo project and Book Four of the Iridia Series:

I squinted as I looked out over the glowing,
rolling sands. Perhaps I could just walk out into the desert and disappear, and
no one would mind. Or, if I could figure out how to dissolve again, I could
just forget to put myself back together and float away on the wind. Nevea was
so much more capable than me, so much smarter. She didn’t need me.

I didn’t matter.

A large figure moved toward me and I managed not
to flinch away, even when I saw it was my jid, the leader of our asira,
approaching me.

so my brother is currently reading Book Four and he’s largely confirmed a lot of issues I already know are present (i.e. one of the subplots has terrible pacing for its place in the series), but he also read a scene today that’s really special to me because it’s a landmark moment in an important series relationship, and he messaged me:

“*slow claps* I’m still not done yet but honestly bravo, if you can fit this scene into the next draft somehow untouched do it. I’m not even kidding, it’s easily one of the best scenes I can remember reading in your series up to this point.”

I’m just like

so in my rough draft of Book Four one of my villains has a decoy that’s basically a fat drunk, but I’ve realized that’s fatphobic and unneeded to make him an unappealing figure. Then I thought about the person who fills me with the most revulsion when I look at him and realized it’s Mitch McConnell. #rimshot



After eighteen months of work, I finally printed the rough draft of Book Four! There’s still a lot of work left to do, including rearranging the chapters (pictured right), but it feels so good to make it to this point at last!

Are the different colors different characters?

yep! Each color is a different POV. The three on the left are all in the same subplot, and then the two on the left are two other subplots. So that got a little complicated, but it’s all arranged properly now! 

I’m literal trash for color-coding and I use it for everything.

side note: I realized as I was wrapping up the Book Four rough draft that it is the Gayest Book Yet. 

you’re really fast at writing, i wish i had that ability! i can’t seem to stop turning off my internal editor

oh, well, it really depends on the time! While I can usually draft an ~100k book in 3-4 months, Book Four has taken me 18 months to draft. And turning off the internal editor is an acquired, but absolutely essential skill. If you see yourself going down a path that you know you can’t recover from plot-wise, that’s a good time to stop yourself, but otherwise, don’t worry about it being perfect the first time! That’s not what rough drafts are for! 

Congrats on your Nano, Sarah!!!! :D It’s awesome you wrote 50000 in less than a month! The challenge helped you to finish a first draft :) Looking forward to reading your series!

Thank you so much! It was definitely the push I needed to get it done. With grad school, it’s pretty easy to save writing “for later,” but NaNo let me prioritize it again. And now that I can see the end of the series … it’s a wild feeling.