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Danielle Miceli

💝 February 29th, 2020 💝


What’s New?

I worked my butt off through a ton of setbacks this February, and while I didn’t achieve everything I wanted to by the end of the month, now I'm that much closer to meeting those goals. My head-space is still a bit turbulent, but I’m working on it. My personal life is hectic as ever, and my beautiful baby turns 1 next week (I’m sure I’ll be sobbing about that in next month’s letter 🙈).

This is the first newsletter in a while where I’ve had some definitive book news to share, and I’d like to jump right to it before I lose my nerve! As excited as I am to move forward with my WIP, standing on the precipice of a new stage also floods my gut with this strange urge to flee. Turn back. My book’s not ready. I’m not ready. But remember what we talked about last month? About never feeling like you’re enough? I think the concept of “ready” falls into the same trap. You may never feel 100% ready to take a huge leap, yet at some point, you have to do it anyway or risk standing still forever. And in accepting this idea of imperfect readiness, you will become ready.
  1. Business Bank Account: Before we discuss the main event, it’s worth noting that I’ve checked off one of my 2020 goals this month--I set up a business bank account for my publishing company, Bookwyrm Press, LLC. It may sound mundane, but now that my business is fully established as an independent entity, I can start commissioning projects for my book! Expect to hear more about character art, maps, covers, formatting, logos, editors, merch, etc. in the coming months, as I begin working with different industry professionals to make my book come alive. 
  2. Beta Reader Application Survey: I’m. Moving. On. To. The. Next. Stage. RECRUITING BETA READERS. 😭 I’ve been looking forward to this part of the writing process since I began drafting my book nearly a decade ago! Am I terrified to go through with this? Yes! Does part of me want to delete this segment of the email and avoid it forever? Also yes! Because while I know this stage has the potential to be magical and validating, also comes with aches and pains. Opening yourself up to criticism, and then literally collecting and curating that criticism for formal review, is one of the most vulnerable things we do as writers. But it’s necessary to transform our book babies. I can't get my novel where it needs to be alone; I need fresh eyes on the manuscript.

    So if you’re interested in epic high fantasy, sword and sorcery, romantic subplots, reluctant heroes, hard magic systems, and character-driven stories, I’d be honored if you took a look at my Beta Reader Application Survey. Brief summaries of the relevant information, including timeline, weekly workload, a tentative synopsis for my book, content warnings, etc. is included in the survey! HERE’S THE LINK I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS REAL LIFE! 😱 

    Side Note: I personally open every beta survey I come across in the name of research. 😅 So even if you’re not at all interested in being my beta (no offense taken!), feel free to take a peek. Who knows, maybe some of my questions will make you think about what you do or don’t want to include in your own beta applications one day (if you’re a writer), or what to expect if one day you do want to try beta reading for someone else (if you’re a reader). 💕

Writing Update

I’m so close to finishing my third draft of this book that I’m not even mad I didn’t make it by the end of February. Only 3 measly chapters stand in the way of me and draft 4, and I’m ready to take them down!

  1. Novel Status Report: Draft 3 dropped 7k words this month, and currently clocks in at 283,224 words and 540 pages. I expect to shave off another good chunk before betas. 
  2. Read-throughs vs. Spot Edits: So far, my editing rounds have consisted of various read-throughs, which are exactly what they sound like: reading through your manuscript from start to finish. I’ve done one major plot restructure between drafts 1 and 2 (I still have a document outlining all the changes called “The Great Chapter Splice,” for some strange reason 😂), and all 3 drafts have included intense line edits...which I’m starting to think is one of many reasons why the editing process takes me so long. In the future, I really need to work on being able to read through portions of my work without line editing. 😬

    Once I finish my third draft read-through, I’m hoping to complete a 4th draft during March, and that will be what I roll out to betas in April.

    If you’ve been following me for a while, you may be concerned. Yes, most normal people can probably edit a draft in a month. But my last draft took me almost 2 years to finish...

    However, I’m not planning to do a full read-through for draft 4. I’m going to “spot edit.” I’ve been leaving myself notes throughout my third draft, and for draft 4, I’ll go back and address those specific problems. Many require major backtracking that would break the flow of my current read-through, which is why I’m not stopping to handle them now.

    For me, the biggest benefit of a read-through is the momentum. That’s what allows you to monitor your pacing, repetitive language, and redundancy. The moment you get too caught up skipping around the manuscript, you lose sight of those things. Maybe you hop over to a chapter with no mention of frowning, and once you’ve returned to where you started, you’ve forgotten that the characters on the previous page just frowned twice. So when it crops up again, it slips under your radar. The same thing can happen with bigger issues. Maybe you skipped back to fix a whole chunk of dialogue, and when you return to your original spot, you don’t realize how long you’ve been rambling on in summary, because you just read an active scene from another part of your book. Does that make sense?

    Full disclosure, I’ve never heard another person use the term “spot edit” for writing before, it’s just what I call this process in my own head. 🤷 When you’re jumping directly to places that you know need work, with a specific objective already in mind, or you’re fixing minor discrepancies throughout the whole text that can be easily located based on chapter or with the help of ctrl+f, that’s what I’d call spot edits. It’s not necessary to read the whole manuscript through for these, because not every chapter needs work. And if you’re line-edit happy like me, you run the risk of getting distracted by another full read-through.

February Reads

I was so determined to finish Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff this month. I’m absolutely loving the story, but it’s just not one of the goals I was able to meet. I’m relieved to report that I did make progress, though. I guess I need to be happy with those baby steps for now, at least while I’m still actively editing and beta reading for other writers.

Speaking of beta reading for others...I completed two projects in that category this month. I’ve just wrapped up reading The Weeper and Other Stories, a short story collection of fairytale retellings by J.M. Ivie and Grace Ruri. These authors excel at creating lush, whimsical descriptions that evoke classic fairytale nostalgia, and unique imagery that dares you not to picture their settings. It was such a pleasure to be swept up in these tales, and to see how they wove together and influenced each other throughout the collection.

I also finished alpha reading Benét Stoen’s dark fantasy novel, The Heir, earlier in the month. From the very beginning, her characters captivated me--mind, body, and soul. Every one of them leaps off the page and demands your attention, care, and respect. Benét’s prose delivers so many “power lines,” as I call them--the ones that hit you right in the gut and make you wish you could print them on coffee mugs. If you’re a fan of political intrigue, broken but beautiful characters with dark histories, and a genderbent Hades and Persephone relationship dynamic...keep your eyes on The Heir. Benét has written an incredible book.


Thank you, as always, for taking the time to read this email. I'm so endlessly grateful for all of your love and support as I forge my own rocky, forked path toward publication. My inbox, DMs, P.O. box, etc. are always open to each of you!


Caleb tax:
Caleb's chubby legs and sneakers.
Caleb in a shopping cart.
Mommy & Caleb matching brunch sweaters.


Upcoming fantasy author, new mom, D&D addict, Gemini, Slytherclaw, lover of raw dough, wants to be your friend. 💕

Copyright © 2020 Danielle Miceli, All rights reserved.

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