In a utopian society, women are the sacred ruling class and men live as numbered workers, nameless unless chosen to join households and become slaves. When a girl recently appointed the new Poetess (a spokesperson for the government) takes her first slave, a beautiful but damaged mute with mysterious origins, the forbidden romance that grows between them shakes her belief in their way of life. But all is not as peaceful as it seems in the world of women. A rebellious movement harboring proof of a secret history that could end the slave system is growing in influence and bringing hope for the future, but its methods for change can be deadly. As both Mistress and slave are caught in a web of politics and loyalty, sides are taken and secrets unfold that threaten the fragile trust between them. They’ll have to learn to love as equals if they want to stop a brewing civil war, before it destroys them all.
The (limited) playlist:
I get so many lovely reader emails, comments, and sometimes even FB messages, from folks who read Nameless back when it was Woman’s World on FictionPress, or who read the sample chapters and fell in love with the story. Everyone has been so supportive (and patient!), but they also always ask when Nameless will be published. I wanted to provide a comprehensive timeline about Nameless’s history and progress so you know where it stands. I’ll update this timeline as the story develops:
Prior to September 2004 I had written novel-length Animorph fan fiction, but never really worked on my own stuff. In September (the 15th, I believe) I was seized with an idea: What would the world be like if women ran it instead of men? I started writing from the perspective of a young woman selecting her first slave, and the Poetess appeared. Within the same chapter, Number 23/Shae showed up in the line of Nameless she was choosing from. When I signed off, I had to title the document something, and as all I basically had was ‘a world run by women’ I called it Woman’s World. The title was never meant to stick, but I never came up with anything better.
I was 15. The story actually stalled out for a bit, but I rediscovered it that winter.
In February I posted the first few chapters to FictionPress, which I had seen advertised through FanFiction.net. The story grew in popularity.
In May I finished the ‘first book’ with a sort of cliffhanger ending. I began working on the second book and started posting chapters in June.
I finished the second book and started writing and posting the third book. I remember finishing the second book at 2AM and putting a note on my door for my mother not to wake me in the morning, because completing a novel entitled me to sleep past 10AM, which was the absolute latest she usually allowed me to sleep in during the summer. My mother also graciously allowed me to call out of school on some days so I could stay home to write. Best mother ever <3
After meeting Chris, the love of my life, we decided we needed to get our adult lives started and pursue our dreams. I queried the first book over the summer, and signed with my agent in December. We began rewrites. We also changed the name to Antebellum.
Antebellum went out on submissions. The title was a flop — people thought it was related to the Civil War. Editors also didn’t know how to market the book. We pulled it back in for revisions.
My agent suggested combining all three books into a single book, and making it YA. We also worked on changing the name, and settled on Nameless, which I think is absolutely perfect. A lot of personal disasters happened this year, and I stalled out on writing for a long time. Basically 2010 was the worst year ever.
I turned in a single book (boy was it a whopper, over 100k) intended to be YA, but the voice wasn’t right. It couldn’t quite eke its way into YA.
While I’d been waiting for feedback, I’d started work on a new story, A Curse of Rose and Snow. I completed it in June 2011 and sent it to my agent.
Both my agent and I were now perplexed by Nameless, and unsure of how to fix it, so we decided to make ACORAS our primary focus.
In February I posted this really sad post about all my negative feelings concerning Nameless. I just didn’t know what to do with it, and honestly was so exhausted with working on it and not knowing I was on the right path. I decided to shelve it indefinitely.
In July I was struck with an idea for how to improve the plot, but quickly stalled out when facing the overwhelming plot restructuring that would have to take place. Nameless waited around for a while, while I rewrote ACORAS again.
In January I received a flash of inspiration about the Nameless prequel, which led to an idea for Nameless: Multiple POVs. However, I quickly encountered a pretty severe characterization issue that I slowly worked through over a few months.
By May I had agreed with myself to let go of the traditional canon and just let the characters tell me their story. I wrote about 20k before stalling again, and started to focus more on a new story, The Cobworld, but soon ideas started flowing for Nameless again, so I returned to that story.
In October I added 25k more through Project NaNoWarmUp.
My intention was to finish the rewrite by the end of 2013 but I was unable to, being somewhat at a loss for how to properly finish it. Instead I turned my efforts to The Cobworld, which was finished in March 2014.
With the gracious brainstorming help of my BFF, I created a working synopsis.
I spent most of the year working on The Cobworld, editing ACORAS, then editing The Cobworld again. In November I made another update about Nameless, discussing the current state of the manuscript and my fears. In this post I attempt to mediate your expectations so I feel better about moving forward.
I officially turned in The Cobworld again, and returned to working on Nameless full time in the summer, but didn’t get very far. The first half of the book is solid and wonderful, but the second half is more nebulous. I spent the fall working on another round of edits on The Cobworld.
In the beginning of the year I turned in another round of edits on The Cobworld and focused again on Nameless. I got up to 77k and in September I cut out 30k words in order to redo some chapters I’d written with the wrong tone.
Toward the later part of the year I came down with depression. Although it didn’t impact my ability to write when I actually sat down to do it, it did lead to some distractions and complications that kept me away from my writing spots. In the fall I worked on rebuilding the chapters I cut with a new awareness of character motivations.
After getting on anti-depressants and recovering my normal life in the spring, I focused on Shotgun Girl to get it wrapped up. After moving in early summer, I’m now settled in and have, in a frenzy of creativity, finally unlocked the right ending for Nameless. I still need to finish one final edit on Shotgun Girl, then I can focus on returning to Nameless and maybe finally completing this long, long project.
Thanks for reading!
So many life changes! I continued to battle depression on and off, and am now on a steady cocktail I really like that allows me to find my happiness. I’ve picked at Nameless over the years and am SUPER PROUD of the existing content, but it hasn’t been my main focus. Over the past few years I worked really hard on resolving some art wounds/trauma and unpacking a lot of toxic mentality around writing, productivity, my value as a person, and goals for my life. In spring 2022 I am finally able to write again, and having finished the Shotgun Girl edit I am circling back around to Nameless, to see if I can move forward with the second half of the book.
34 thoughts on “Nameless”
I still remember this, years after reading it on Fiction Press. Any progress reports on it? I would so love to read it again.
You can read my latest thoughts on Nameless here: http://www.savannahjfoley.com/?p=835
and here: http://www.savannahjfoley.com/?p=930
I haven’t made much progress on it since, but I think about it often. I’m still working through some plot issues in trying to figure out how to convert the plot to YA, now that I have the voice down. Thank you for your continued interest <3
Just over a week later, I actually have good news! You can read it here: http://www.savannahjfoley.com/?page_id=329
Man! I am addicted to this story and I have only read the first chapter! Well, I’ve read it at least ten times over the past couple of years. I found you shortly after you removed it from fictionpress, which sucks for me (^_^;), however, the premise of this story has entirely drawn me in and I check your site at least once a month for any updates. I can’t wait until I can hold Nameless in my hands and read the whole thing start to finish. I just wanted to let you know, and I know I’m not the only one, that you have reeled me in with just an excerpt and I will own this book the day it’s officially for sale. Keep up the hard work and I’ll keep checking back! I know it will be worth the wait!
I appreciate this comment SO MUCH. <3
I wish I can go back to reading the original. I spent a few hours on this site in order to find out about your progress in the Nameless novel. While it was interesting in getting to know the author, I was very disappointed that the novel has been delayed, on hold, put aside… Regardless, I am hoping for the best. Good luck with everything!
-Old fictionpress fan
I remember this back on Fiction press when you were first writing it. I loved it then and I still love it now. You’re an amazing author and I can’t wait to reread what used to be called “Woman’s World”. Congrats!
Aww, thank you <3
It seems this novel’s still not out. I was sick, the other day, and decided I’d try andpick up my old passion. I spent hours, sifting through various story ideas in my mind and compiling a list of the most appealing and consistent among them.
Then, I became curious about other writers who are further down the process than I currently am. Que Savannah. I enjoyed the prologue and first chapter of what’s now called Nameless, wish you good luck, and sort of need you (and your publisher) to hurry and get it out there, because I’m genuinely interested in finishing it. If it doesn’t go against your contract (doubtful, but some hope is necessary), it would be great if you could also provide the original version, somehow.
Got an update for you here: http://www.savannahjfoley.com/?page_id=329
I’m been waiting years for this book. Every few months it comes back to mind and I look you up. I can’t wait till I find that I can download your book on kindle.
I remember reading this on fictionpress ages ago! I immediately fell in love with this story, and everyone who I mentioned it to has also expressed interest in reading it too. It was such a fantastic story, and I would love to know how it ends! Sometimes I still think of our heroine and Shae….
Back again to tell you I’m still checking your site religiously for any word on Nameless. :) (That’s not me saying, ‘Where the hell is it!?’ Just a reminder that I haven’t wandered off). I’m still so excited about it. From everything I’ve heard from my fellow writers and in my own experience, our first books are always our babies, and I appreciate your dedication towards making it exactly what you want to be. Thanks to your posted Nameless timeline, I realized I’ve been following you since 2008! Wow! We’re pushing almost seven years of me wanting to read your story desperately! ;) I can guarantee you, when it’s finally out there to purchase, I will be one of the first people to own it. Best wishes! I’ll write you again in a year or so ;)
Ah, Dani, thank you for this comment. Funnily enough I was just looking at my half-draft of Nameless the other day. It’s autumn and that’s the time I usually find myself drawn back to it. The first 50k are in pretty good shape, the best shape it’s ever been in. It’s just the rest of the book, with a completely new synopsis, that looms impossible in the distance. I’m afraid that for all the good new ideas I have, they’re not quite enough to take this book out with the bang it deserves. As always, I do plan to finish it again one day. It’s comments like yours that help me keep up the fighting spirit :-) Thank you again, most sincerely. Talk to you in a year, when hopefully I’ll have more news for you ;-)
Hello! I am another reader who has been following you for YEARS….gosh I don’t even know how many, I’ve lost count! I read Nameless back when it was Women’s World on fictionpress, and I check on your website occasionally but have never left a comment so now I am. Once in awhile I get a really bad itch to read your book, and that happened again today! I just remember how vivid your writing was, and how the unique storyline drew me into your world and I never wanted to resurface! I wish I could read it again, even if it was an imperfect, unfinished copy :) So I’ll keep checking back, and hopefully someday I’ll hold that book in my hands…or on my tablet most likely…and that will be the best day. Hope you’re doing well! :) <3
Hi Lindsey! Thank you so much for commenting; I appreciate it so, so much. It’s comments like this that keep me going <3
Commingled back again (4 years later!) To check up on Nameless. I’m glad that you’re feeling better (we all are). I hope you kick depression in the butt!
Can’t wait till Shotgun girl is done and Nameless get priority! I have a bit of a fear that with all the plotlines that I’ve imagined for the story, that I’ll have a hard time accepting the Canon work!
Fatema, it meant so much to me to get this comment, and to know you’ve been waiting on me all this time. Nameless is just getting better and better. I finally feel big enough for it. <3
I’m happy to hear that Nameless is back and running. I’ve read only the first chapter in fictionpress I believe back in 2016. It’s unfortunate that I missed the time when there was plenty of chapters of Nameless available in that website. I only curse myself for not being older and not discovering my passion for reading sooner! I was, I believe, only 8 years old when Woman’s World was published in fictionpress so the big words would’ve bored the life out of my younger self anyways. Glad that you’re keeping depression at bay, for I have seen the results of depression on several people. Anyways, I’m glad that you’re such a magnificent person and just… being you. I don’t think you realize the impact you have in my life, for you may soon be one of my inspirations to start writing my first story. I hope Nameless would be available to read soon and my best wishes to you and your family.
Your house is awesome! It’s like living in a fantasy world!!
It’s been 6 years. Crazy. There are definitely still a lot of people excited for Nameless. Can’t wait till I come back here one day and finally find it completed and published :)
Hi Savannah! Just checking in to let you know I still swing by your site from time to time to check on updates for Nameless. I think I’m on Year 13 of checking in on this book, which truly is a testament to how compelling that Nameless excerpt is, ’cause, damn. That means I was 17 when I first read it and now I’m 30!! That is WILD.
As I said a few years ago, I understand the process it takes of transforming a story into everything you envisioned for it, so I wanted you to know I’m still waiting–patiently and excitedly–for the day I can dive into the world you created. (Warning you now, when that day comes, my reaction comment will be an impressively long run-on sentence of absolute caps-locked gibberish.)
Hope life is treating you well, happy writing, and see you again sometime in the future! :)