Roughly 4 years ago in November of 2015 I started a story for NaNoWriMo that involved an alternate reality American mid west. I didn't know where I was going with it. I knew things three: It was going to be steampunk but western (I call it weird west), it was a revenge story, and it was going to be gritter than anything I had written before.
The Prince of Midwest (releasing in March) was the first time I stepped outside my fantasy genre. I didn't get far, as you will see, as there is indeed a magic system. I am not sure how much magic plays into other weird west novels or short stories (I have a handful and tech seems to be the magic) but I had to have it in mine because magic systems is what I do.
POMW (Prince of MidWest) was hard to write. By today's standards it might be vanilla and not as dark and gritty as I think. It's pretty violent but not overtly. I had never written violence really before. I had not written a villain as the protagonist before. Obviously, we can see that that is fairly common these days but I personally had never done it before. I was hooked. In my other upcoming novel The Camelot Project: A New Home, many of my MCs are not the moralist of characters. I have a very defined moral center for myself so this has been a rough journey for me.
POMW also was written over a three year period. I was not as proficient a writer as I am now. I wrote maybe a few times a month. POMW's first 50K words were done that first year for NaNoWriMo. I came back to it a year later for the next November. I re-read what I had written the October before to be ready to carry on the story. I outlined in more detail what I wanted to happen. I finished it that November and edited just a smidge until Christmas. I let it sit for almost another year. I fiddled with the story here and there for so long, I forgot all the nuances and subplots and rich world I had created. I am not often surprised at my writing when I go back to read it. But POMW delighted me when several months ago, my publisher asked if I had anything for next year. I sent them the pitch for POMW based on what I had written for NaNoWriMo's plot summary. Fortunately for me, my editor loved it!
I then had to go back and re-read, edit, and change many things. Re-visiting POMW was difficult for whatever reason. So many of the themes and characters disturb me. I cannot say what it is about this novel. I wasn't even fond of it. Not that I didn't think it wasn't good, because it surprised me with how good it was, but because I just didn't like it. Well, a few months ago when dived into it completely, I fell in love. Ezekiel and Cecil (who you will meet) are quite interesting characters.
I finished some re-writes, sent it to beta readers (I had to pay for them, no one wants to beta read a 115K+ novel) and got feedback. I made more vast changes and have read it competently through again. This has been the longest and most changes I have ever made to a novel so far (there is another, but we shall see at a later date). I will maybe dive more into POMW because it has been a long and complex journey, but for now, this will do.
I hope you love it as much as I do when you read it!