Alex Yarnell is creating a diverse fantasy novel
10

patrons

$92
per month
Hi, my name is Alex, and I've been trying to write a novel for seven years. It's finally time for me to admit that I need help.

(Apologies in advance for the wall of text. If you don't want to read it all, I've included a tl;dr summary at the end.)


Probably the only day in my life I've looked semi-cool. Kudos to my fab boyfriend for capturing this moment.

In 2012 I sat down for my second attempt at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). At the time, life was... rough. I had just dropped my English literature degree due to my spiraling mental health, and was struggling to find joy in the things I normally loved, like reading and writing.  Besides, I'd already failed at NaNoWriMo the previous year. Who was to say this attempt would be any different?

Yet I needed a distraction from real life, so I came up with a concept that intrigued me and poured my heart and soul into it. I wrote 40,000 words of a first draft that November - not quite the 50k target for most NaNoWriMo participants, but it was nonetheless a huge accomplishment for me. Sure, it was messy and poorly-constructed, but I'd effectively written a short essay every day, and - even more importantly - I had the beginnings of a story and characters I actually loved.

It's been so long that I honestly can't remember exactly where the idea for my story came from. All I know is I wanted to create something that pulled little bits from the fantasy novels and tv shows that I loved, mashed them all together, and added new features that I would personally want to see as a reader.

Let's be real. I've loved fantasy since I was a little girl, but the genre is deeply flawed and could use some polishing to keep up with the times. Issues like diversity, compassion, and being socially conscious have become more and more important to me over the years, and my lifelong dream to become a published author has metamorphosed into one to become a published author of a novel that helps the genre take a step in the right direction (even if that step is infinitesimally small). I want to write the kind of novel that I wish I had read twenty years ago, when my views of the world were still developing; the kind that might help someone empathize with people they can't relate to; and the kind for those people who don't see themselves represented like they should (not just in fantasy, but in the media as a whole). I want to write a novel that represents hope and change in a time where people all over the world feel scared and defeated.

Maybe my goals are too high. Obviously I'm just one person, and there's only so much I can do to influence the fantasy world (and the real world, for that matter). I don't have all the answers. I'm a tiny drop of water in a fathomless ocean, and I make mistakes. I'm bound to make more. I'm only human, after all. Nor am I proclaiming to be the first person to set out with the aim of writing diverse fiction. There are lots of brilliant authors out there doing just that, right this second as I type these words. They are incredible, and you absolutely should read their work. Go. Do it now. Support them to show the market that there is a demand for their stuff. They're probably better than I will ever be.

What I can promise is that I will try my hardest to write something that I'm proud of. If the finished product affects even one person positively, then I'll be happy.

It's been seven years since I wrote that first draft. The basic story is still latched onto my brain, refusing to let go, but I have little to show for the soul-crushing passage of time other than pages and pages of brainstorming. I've started and restarted a second draft multiple times. Much has changed about the original plot and characters. I tell myself I've been polishing it - making it better - but in truth I'm just holding myself back by constantly second-guessing myself. I'm also lacking confidence and motivation. I'm terrified people won't like it. At this rate, I'll be lucky to publish before I retire (and there's nothing wrong with that, for some people - but it so happens that I have a lot of other stories I want to write too, and sadly immortality isn't a thing yet).

I don't mean to turn this into a pity party, but I have to be honest. Another reason I've been stuck for so long is my health. The issues which cropped up during my university days and played a huge role in my dropping-out are still very much a part of my life. Don't worry; I'm okay. I'm seeing medical professionals regularly and have a boyfriend to support me. However, as anyone else with a chronic illness will understand, I have only so much energy to spend on a daily basis, so I have to spend it wisely. I'm like a Sim with its 'needs' bars constantly in the yellow - if I'm lucky and manage to spend a productive few hours working, that's it - I'm wiped the rest of the day. I envy those people who can come home after a long day of work and spend their evenings or weekends writing. That's just not something I can do - that's my 'recharge' time.

Furthermore, as of 2016, I'm lucky enough to be a freelancer and choose my own hours. The price of this, of course, is that if I don't work, I don't get paid. Therefore, any time I spend writing is precious time I could be spending earning income. Considering I'm not able to work 'normal' hours, I just can't afford to lose that money. In other words, I can't afford to write.

This is where you come in. Your monthly pledge will buy me writing time, and your support will give me the kick in the butt I need to keep to a schedule (or the closest to one I can manage). In return you'll get regular updates on my progress, snippets of my novel, writing advice, and plenty of other incentives (depending on how much you pledge - see the side bar to the right for more info). At some point I will need beta readers too, and you'll be the first people I come to, which means you'll have the chance to read the finished draft and give your feedback on it. When I get published (and I will get published one way or another), you'll not only have my eternal thanks, but the satisfaction of knowing that you helped make my book possible. For more information on how rewards and pledges work, look for my post titled "Hello current & future patrons", found under the "FAQ" tag.

So if you believe in my project and want to see it become reality, please consider becoming my patron. I'm not ashamed to admit I need all the help I can get. If you have any questions, let me know!

tl;dr Got a craving for diverse fantasy or just want to support an underdog author-to-be who's somewhat lacking in the cash department? I got you covered.

A little about my novel:
-Medieval-inspired high fantasy (so original, I know, but there are also:)
-Unique cultures inspired by Roman Britain and the Seljuk Turks (and more!)
-Unique magical system & magical creatures (unicorns, gryphons, etc)
-Two main characters/perspectives, one male one female
-No forced romance between the main characters (though there will be other romances!)
-Unique twists on common tropes
-Explorations of sexuality, gender, disability, and mental illness
-Written from an "own voices" perspective on several topics
-Large cast of people of color and different ethnicities
-Will be as as diverse as possible while avoiding harmful tokenism
-Will be as sensitive and respectful as possible in areas inspiration is drawn from
-Critiques on power, privilege, oppression, colonialism, and war
-Complex politics and themes of environmentalism
-Overall optimistic outlook, no "tragedy porn"
-Complex, morally grey characters but no "grimdark" feel
Tiers
Hey, who's that cool new kid on the block?
$1 or more per month
It's you! Maybe you can't afford to give more, or you just don't wanna. I respect that. Your monthly pledge will still buy me a new pen I can use to write illegible notes.


In return you'll get access to this Patreon feed, where I'll post regular updates on my progress. Think of all the fun conversations we'll have! I'll also probably ask for your opinion on things, and when the time comes you'll be my first-priority beta readers, which means you'll have the chance to read and give feedback on my finished manuscript before anyone else.


For more information on how rewards and pledges work, look for my post titled "Hello current & future patrons", found under the "faq" tag.  

You seem like a nice person.
$5 or more per month
I like you. Let's hang out. Your monthly pledge will buy me a much-needed coffee from a popular but overpriced chain cafe, which I will inevitably spill all over my notes for an unexpectedly cool sepia effect.


In return you'll get everything from the previous tier, plus regular trivia and snippets from my novel. I'll even give you tours of my writing journals (which no other humans have laid eyes on) and answer almost any question you have. If you're interested in all the juicy details of what my novel is actually about, this is the tier for you!


For more information on how rewards and pledges work, look for my post titled "Hello current & future patrons", found under the "faq" tag.  

Hello new best friend!
$10 or more per month
You're an awesome person and if we hung out in real life I would probably braid your hair. Your monthly pledge will buy me dinner - probably takeout pizza - which won't help the writing process in any way but will nonetheless make me very, very happy. And probably a little bloated.


 In return you'll get everything from the previous tiers, plus I will let you name one of my characters (just please, make it something good). I will also let you in on the super-secret info that is my NaNoWriMo account name so that you can add me as a friend if you so desire.


For more information on how rewards and pledges work, look for my post titled "Hello current & future patrons", found under the "faq" tag.  

I might have feelings for you.
$25 or more per month only 20 left
Wow, you're uh... you're really something. Everyone deserves someone like you. Your monthly pledge will cover the cost of all the time I waste having existential crises over my work.


 In return you'll get everything from the previous tiers, plus I will give you my firstborn chi- I mean, I'll let you submit an idea for me to include in my novel, whether that be a plot twist, character idea, or worldbuilding feature. Once a month I will also proofread and/or critique whatever short piece of writing you want advice on.


For more information on how rewards and pledges work, look for my post titled "Hello current & future patrons", found under the "faq" tag. 

Are you sure you're not an angel?
$50 or more per month only 19 left
I'm not sure what I've done to deserve you, and I'm not entirely sure you're human. Your monthly pledge will cover the cost of all the tissues I use up crying over how grateful I am to you.


In return you'll get everything from the previous tiers, plus I will mention you by name in the acknowledgements of my novel, AND I'll personally send you a thank-you card and signed copy of the book when it is released. If I wasn't terrified of surgery, I would probably give you one of my kidneys too.


For more information on how rewards and pledges work, look for my post titled "Hello current & future patrons", found under the "faq" tag.  

Hi, my name is Alex, and I've been trying to write a novel for seven years. It's finally time for me to admit that I need help.

(Apologies in advance for the wall of text. If you don't want to read it all, I've included a tl;dr summary at the end.)


Probably the only day in my life I've looked semi-cool. Kudos to my fab boyfriend for capturing this moment.

In 2012 I sat down for my second attempt at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). At the time, life was... rough. I had just dropped my English literature degree due to my spiraling mental health, and was struggling to find joy in the things I normally loved, like reading and writing.  Besides, I'd already failed at NaNoWriMo the previous year. Who was to say this attempt would be any different?

Yet I needed a distraction from real life, so I came up with a concept that intrigued me and poured my heart and soul into it. I wrote 40,000 words of a first draft that November - not quite the 50k target for most NaNoWriMo participants, but it was nonetheless a huge accomplishment for me. Sure, it was messy and poorly-constructed, but I'd effectively written a short essay every day, and - even more importantly - I had the beginnings of a story and characters I actually loved.

It's been so long that I honestly can't remember exactly where the idea for my story came from. All I know is I wanted to create something that pulled little bits from the fantasy novels and tv shows that I loved, mashed them all together, and added new features that I would personally want to see as a reader.

Let's be real. I've loved fantasy since I was a little girl, but the genre is deeply flawed and could use some polishing to keep up with the times. Issues like diversity, compassion, and being socially conscious have become more and more important to me over the years, and my lifelong dream to become a published author has metamorphosed into one to become a published author of a novel that helps the genre take a step in the right direction (even if that step is infinitesimally small). I want to write the kind of novel that I wish I had read twenty years ago, when my views of the world were still developing; the kind that might help someone empathize with people they can't relate to; and the kind for those people who don't see themselves represented like they should (not just in fantasy, but in the media as a whole). I want to write a novel that represents hope and change in a time where people all over the world feel scared and defeated.

Maybe my goals are too high. Obviously I'm just one person, and there's only so much I can do to influence the fantasy world (and the real world, for that matter). I don't have all the answers. I'm a tiny drop of water in a fathomless ocean, and I make mistakes. I'm bound to make more. I'm only human, after all. Nor am I proclaiming to be the first person to set out with the aim of writing diverse fiction. There are lots of brilliant authors out there doing just that, right this second as I type these words. They are incredible, and you absolutely should read their work. Go. Do it now. Support them to show the market that there is a demand for their stuff. They're probably better than I will ever be.

What I can promise is that I will try my hardest to write something that I'm proud of. If the finished product affects even one person positively, then I'll be happy.

It's been seven years since I wrote that first draft. The basic story is still latched onto my brain, refusing to let go, but I have little to show for the soul-crushing passage of time other than pages and pages of brainstorming. I've started and restarted a second draft multiple times. Much has changed about the original plot and characters. I tell myself I've been polishing it - making it better - but in truth I'm just holding myself back by constantly second-guessing myself. I'm also lacking confidence and motivation. I'm terrified people won't like it. At this rate, I'll be lucky to publish before I retire (and there's nothing wrong with that, for some people - but it so happens that I have a lot of other stories I want to write too, and sadly immortality isn't a thing yet).

I don't mean to turn this into a pity party, but I have to be honest. Another reason I've been stuck for so long is my health. The issues which cropped up during my university days and played a huge role in my dropping-out are still very much a part of my life. Don't worry; I'm okay. I'm seeing medical professionals regularly and have a boyfriend to support me. However, as anyone else with a chronic illness will understand, I have only so much energy to spend on a daily basis, so I have to spend it wisely. I'm like a Sim with its 'needs' bars constantly in the yellow - if I'm lucky and manage to spend a productive few hours working, that's it - I'm wiped the rest of the day. I envy those people who can come home after a long day of work and spend their evenings or weekends writing. That's just not something I can do - that's my 'recharge' time.

Furthermore, as of 2016, I'm lucky enough to be a freelancer and choose my own hours. The price of this, of course, is that if I don't work, I don't get paid. Therefore, any time I spend writing is precious time I could be spending earning income. Considering I'm not able to work 'normal' hours, I just can't afford to lose that money. In other words, I can't afford to write.

This is where you come in. Your monthly pledge will buy me writing time, and your support will give me the kick in the butt I need to keep to a schedule (or the closest to one I can manage). In return you'll get regular updates on my progress, snippets of my novel, writing advice, and plenty of other incentives (depending on how much you pledge - see the side bar to the right for more info). At some point I will need beta readers too, and you'll be the first people I come to, which means you'll have the chance to read the finished draft and give your feedback on it. When I get published (and I will get published one way or another), you'll not only have my eternal thanks, but the satisfaction of knowing that you helped make my book possible. For more information on how rewards and pledges work, look for my post titled "Hello current & future patrons", found under the "FAQ" tag.

So if you believe in my project and want to see it become reality, please consider becoming my patron. I'm not ashamed to admit I need all the help I can get. If you have any questions, let me know!

tl;dr Got a craving for diverse fantasy or just want to support an underdog author-to-be who's somewhat lacking in the cash department? I got you covered.

A little about my novel:
-Medieval-inspired high fantasy (so original, I know, but there are also:)
-Unique cultures inspired by Roman Britain and the Seljuk Turks (and more!)
-Unique magical system & magical creatures (unicorns, gryphons, etc)
-Two main characters/perspectives, one male one female
-No forced romance between the main characters (though there will be other romances!)
-Unique twists on common tropes
-Explorations of sexuality, gender, disability, and mental illness
-Written from an "own voices" perspective on several topics
-Large cast of people of color and different ethnicities
-Will be as as diverse as possible while avoiding harmful tokenism
-Will be as sensitive and respectful as possible in areas inspiration is drawn from
-Critiques on power, privilege, oppression, colonialism, and war
-Complex politics and themes of environmentalism
-Overall optimistic outlook, no "tragedy porn"
-Complex, morally grey characters but no "grimdark" feel

Recent posts by Alex Yarnell

Tiers
Hey, who's that cool new kid on the block?
$1 or more per month
It's you! Maybe you can't afford to give more, or you just don't wanna. I respect that. Your monthly pledge will still buy me a new pen I can use to write illegible notes.


In return you'll get access to this Patreon feed, where I'll post regular updates on my progress. Think of all the fun conversations we'll have! I'll also probably ask for your opinion on things, and when the time comes you'll be my first-priority beta readers, which means you'll have the chance to read and give feedback on my finished manuscript before anyone else.


For more information on how rewards and pledges work, look for my post titled "Hello current & future patrons", found under the "faq" tag.  

You seem like a nice person.
$5 or more per month
I like you. Let's hang out. Your monthly pledge will buy me a much-needed coffee from a popular but overpriced chain cafe, which I will inevitably spill all over my notes for an unexpectedly cool sepia effect.


In return you'll get everything from the previous tier, plus regular trivia and snippets from my novel. I'll even give you tours of my writing journals (which no other humans have laid eyes on) and answer almost any question you have. If you're interested in all the juicy details of what my novel is actually about, this is the tier for you!


For more information on how rewards and pledges work, look for my post titled "Hello current & future patrons", found under the "faq" tag.  

Hello new best friend!
$10 or more per month
You're an awesome person and if we hung out in real life I would probably braid your hair. Your monthly pledge will buy me dinner - probably takeout pizza - which won't help the writing process in any way but will nonetheless make me very, very happy. And probably a little bloated.


 In return you'll get everything from the previous tiers, plus I will let you name one of my characters (just please, make it something good). I will also let you in on the super-secret info that is my NaNoWriMo account name so that you can add me as a friend if you so desire.


For more information on how rewards and pledges work, look for my post titled "Hello current & future patrons", found under the "faq" tag.  

I might have feelings for you.
$25 or more per month only 20 left
Wow, you're uh... you're really something. Everyone deserves someone like you. Your monthly pledge will cover the cost of all the time I waste having existential crises over my work.


 In return you'll get everything from the previous tiers, plus I will give you my firstborn chi- I mean, I'll let you submit an idea for me to include in my novel, whether that be a plot twist, character idea, or worldbuilding feature. Once a month I will also proofread and/or critique whatever short piece of writing you want advice on.


For more information on how rewards and pledges work, look for my post titled "Hello current & future patrons", found under the "faq" tag. 

Are you sure you're not an angel?
$50 or more per month only 19 left
I'm not sure what I've done to deserve you, and I'm not entirely sure you're human. Your monthly pledge will cover the cost of all the tissues I use up crying over how grateful I am to you.


In return you'll get everything from the previous tiers, plus I will mention you by name in the acknowledgements of my novel, AND I'll personally send you a thank-you card and signed copy of the book when it is released. If I wasn't terrified of surgery, I would probably give you one of my kidneys too.


For more information on how rewards and pledges work, look for my post titled "Hello current & future patrons", found under the "faq" tag.