Jenna’s Books

Jenna is the protagonist in a trilogy, or I thought it was a trilogy. Or it might still be a trilogy.

Jenna’s Series

It is an urban fantasy with a heavy layer of tech, rather than an eschewing of tech (which is something I want to see more of an if anyone has any great suggestions that are UF that aren’t anti-tech, bring it on!)

Book 1

The first book was written about three years ago now. It has some problems. There are a few substantial issues with it. 

  • The love interest feels a little tacked on and not crucial
  • Not enough backstory (her backstory is pretty important and I didn’t even bring it up until 3/4 of the way through, beta reader was stunned by it)
  • The secondary villain wasn’t well developed
  • The world felt fuzzy (some of this was intentional, but intentional doesn’t mean good)
  • It’s not really a full book

There are some smaller things that I think I’ve gotten better at writing in the last few years. 

Book 2

I wrote book 2 last NaNoWriMo. I wrote it with an understanding of some of these problems and believing that I’d resolve these things.

I made an assumption that these changes have happened in the first book. That love interest was cut, that the backstory was at least sprinkled throughout, that the secondary villain was …shifted, and that there was a little more structure to the world. 


I was going to edit it last Camp NaNo. I was going to edit it over NaNoWriMo.

I knew part of the reason I’ve been fighting so hard to do this project is because something isn’t quite right with it. 

I finally have had a few conversations about it. I’ve done a lot of thinking. I thought I had a strategy, but even working that through I wasn’t getting anywhere. 

Partly I don’t want to just trash it because I really like the second book, I feel pretty good about that one. And it 100% does not work without the first. 

Going forward

I think my solution going forward might be to make this into the first act of the second book. The second book picks up right after the end of the first. Tying them together makes a lot of sense, and yeah, the first one isn’t a full book. The second one is fine, but it needs a little more, and putting this at the start as the first act I think would make it a lot stronger.

This is my solution today. We’ll see where the future actually goes, but I think right now at least this is the direction I want to take going forward.

That all said, right now? I’m editing another Smoke Jumper short and so I’m focused on that. It’s a good shift away from beating myself up about Jenna’s books. I’m just hoping this is the right decision this time.


  1. JRockOnSunset

    I’m so excited about the Jenna book combination! And another Smoke Jumper story? Yes Please Mariah Nicely 😉

    1. Mariah Avix

      I’m really happy about this decision. I think it is the right way to go. Though I’m hoping to finish the Smoke Jumper story before I dive back into the Jenna books.

  2. Elizabeth Rose

    I’d offer to read the books and give you any pointers I could, but I’m a Romance writer, so probably not a good choice for that.

    But if you want me to, and can promise these won’t scare the daylights out of me, I’d help if I could.

    Only other thoughts I can offer are to write the whole trilogy. After writing the whole trilogy, go back and revise it. Sometimes, you need the whole story laid out. Need to see it in its entirety.

    Once you know the whole story, you can decide if the love interest works. You can see what’s needed in the beginning for the ending.

    Back story is tricky in a Romance novel. You need a little to explain motivation, but the story needs to stay focused on the hero and heroine. I can’t offer much help there. But you’re right. If it’s important, it should be woven all the way through the story.

    1. Mariah Avix

      Thank you! And I might just take you up on that.

      I am feeling much better about removing the romance, well removing the love interest (though he was seriously injured and backed away from the MC the end of the first book so it wasn’t a full on romance). There was always another character who I started to feel more like was the right choice for the MC. He’s much more of a complex and interesting character. He feels like there is a reason for him in the story. And having it all in one novel it makes more sense to have him be the primary love interest.


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