I am deliriously pleased to report the latest in book progress today!
But first… I thought I’d take us all back to the beginning…
In August of 2008 I decided to write a book about mermaids. That was all. I just decided without an idea or plot. Then I thought. I sat and I stewed without writing a single thing down. For Christmas that year I was given a notebook from my dear friend… And I knew exactly what I’d do with that butterflied book.
I started filling it up with ideas.
Two months later I had a completely typed first draft of my manuscript. Simple as that, right? Time to start looking for an agent and publish this shit, right?
My first draft was rubbish. As I’m sure most first drafts are from first time authors. 2009 and 2010 were dedicated to editing and revising. Then I moved to New York for better opportunities in the book world.
It paid off.
I started working with an entertainment attorney who also acted as an editing agent. Through him I shaped my sham of a novel into something worth reading. At least a little bit more than it used to be. I did countless rounds of edits and rewrites, sometimes ditching entire chapters. It was painstaking and at times heartbreaking.
Finally off to the copy editor it went. I waited anxiously to receive her praise and recommendation that I publish right away.
The feedback I received back was… not good. After crying for an entire day and then giving up being a writer for about a week, I threw my book in the trash.
In a good way.
I started over from the beginning.
I wrote every scene on a note card and threw it up on the wall. Scene by scene I wrote all three books in the trilogy so that the whole thing was fluid and cohesive. I cried a lot during this time as I struggled to reform the story in my mind. I was so set on how it used to be. I didn’t want to get rid of anything but I knew I had to. If I thought ditching one chapter was heartbreaking… this… But I had to make it better. Stronger.
Stephen King calls it “Killing your darlings”. Everything I had in my book was my darling. But I had to get rid of it. I had to make new darlings.
And so I wrote.
I gave myself six months–June-December of 2013–to write all three books. I did it. It may be the thing that makes me the most proud.
Then I set to work on editing the first book–again–while the other two sat on the shelf for the time being. This time I brought on four beta readers to give me feedback. And they did not hold back on ripping my book to shreds. Through their encouragement and brutally honest feedback they made it better than I could have ever done on my own. They made ME better as a writer.
My favorite comment was simple: It came from beta reader 3, she simply circled an entire paragraph and wrote, “Hate”. It was very helpful.
And then the moment arose when I felt I was ready again. I sent it off to the copy editor for a manuscript evaluation. Take two. And then I waited with dread. It had now been six years since I had finished writing my first draft. SIX. I knew I didn’t have the mental fortitude to do any more revisions. I was spent.
*And that original notebook (pictured above) is now full. I can’t find a blank page when I want to take a new note and there are more papers shoved inside the pages.*
Finally it came back the evaluation way I had hoped it would three years prior. It was full of praise and encouragement to move the book on to the next step…
And that brings us to March 2015…
It’s been a hard thing for me to do; quit an excellent career, move across the country, become a 30 year old babysitter, and most of all: whenever anyone asked me how things were coming along on my book, I could only ever say, “I’m editing it.” For six years people heard about how I was editing this elusive book. I’m sure they thought it was in the same vein as, “my boyfriend lives in another city.”
That is to say, it didn’t exist.
But now I finally get to share news. REAL NEWS!
I’ve hired a cover artist. By the end of April I’ll have visual proof that this book will soon be a tangible object. I’m also shopping for proof readers to put the polish and shine on this book.
Then I market.
Then I publish.
Then I release it.
Then you hold it in your hands and read it.
I am so close. I can’t even believe it. I never thought this day would come and I knew without a doubt it would at the same time.
I’m tearful and humbled and exhilarated.
And I thank you all for believing in me… Even after six years of editing.