My current project is Lady of Daemons, a YA historical fantasy set in an alternate 1880s Wales. It’s got daemonic possession, foofy mourning dresses, ethical quandries, distant political turmoil, and a lot of rain and mud. You can read more about it here.
Because I’m a writer, and therefore totally unable to stop generating ideas (especially if it’s 2:00AM), I’ve also got a few other projects on the back burner, including a Lady of Daemons spinoff that explores a different aspect of that world. You can read more about it, and another back-burner project, here.
I also have a folder on my computer labeled “Plot Bunnies” that contains the ideas for:
- Thirty YA fantasies
- Nineteen YA contemporaries
- Eight YA comedies
- Ten short stories for various ages
- Five comics, and
- Three novels for adults.
Obviously, not all of these will get written. There are seventy-five individual ideas in that folder. I will die of old age before I manage to fully develop, plot, draft, revise, and proofread that many ideas—and that’s assuming that they’re all worth developing! Which, let me tell you, they are not. 2:00AM Ruby thinks that every idea is worth jotting down, but 10:00AM Ruby, who has had sleep and coffee, strongly disagrees.
So, which projects will escape the slush pile and be developed into novels? Only time—and a lot of caffeine—will tell.
Things That Are Important to Me in Novels
- Passing the Bechdel test. Two named female characters. One conversation that isn’t about a man. If I ever fail to do this, my only hope of regaining my honor will be to capture the Avatar.
- Meaningful diversity and good representation. It’s not enough to have a token minority, and it’s not acceptable to fall back on tropes and stereotypes. I believe in doing your research and actively seeking sensitivity readers.
- Subversion of toxic masculinity. Excuse me, but boys should be allowed to cry and love their friends, too. Give them flower crowns, let them bake cookies, and don’t mock them for treating women with respect.
- Moving past “strong female characters.” The “strong female character” trope is bland, uninspiring, and positively reeking of internalized misogyny. Write female characters who are strong, who are emotional, who are messy, who are weak, who are caring, who are stoic. But never write a cookie-cutter “strong female character.”
- Healthy relationships. Toxicity and abuse shouldn’t be romanticized. If characters truly love each other, platonically or romantically, then there’s no reason they can’t love each other genuinely, too.