I can’t tell you how many times I have started and reworked this novel.
Actually I can and I will: I finished my first draft (at the time it was called So It Begins) when I was about fifteen. It was one whole book and at the time it was a huge accomplishment. Then I started my freshman year of high school and I remember sitting in English class when it dawned on me…it had to be a trilogy. So I took the story and broke it into three separate pieces and then I totally revamped book 1.
I finished that draft a few years later and had a friend of my mom look at it. Naomi was my first real editor and she was great. She was very positive and constructive. I also really needed help with my grammar (which is still not perfect, by the way – speaking three languages tends to mess you up from time to time). I was very lucky to have her.
By the time I was eighteen and a senior in high school, I decided to try my hand at sending my manuscripts to publishers. I believe I sent out 26 packages (yes packages….this was before you sent queries by e-mail). While I waited it dawned on me that this was still not the story I wanted to tell, but it was too late.
But then I was rejected by all. I did get one piece of advice that I still cherish greatly: You have a lot of great ideas, but too many.
Yes….just a big yes!
By this time, I was entering my freshman year of college where I gutted the book and renamed it Volocio and made a third draft that I was happy with until I finally had a few beta readers look at it after my move to Germany.
What did they say?
I got a ton of great feedback and I still had a lot of work ahead of me. Overall, I had positive feedback on my world-building and characters. My biggest problem was my prose and tightening the story. I wrote in third-person limited but kept jumping from POV to POV. It was almost full circle to the advice I received before: great characters – but too many!
With a debut book, it is recommended that you limit the number of POVs you have. I had upwards of seven and my betas were getting whiplash. They were right. I decided to limit my book to two and had to do another major overhaul. I had to realize what was the main story I wanted to tell and how I could tell it with only two POVs. The result made for a much tighter story.
Then I went through about three rounds of beta readers – I believe I had about 15 people look at it overall and then I finally decided I finally had a story I wanted to tell.
I finally found a wonderful editor and I have finished going over all of her notes to give my story that extra umph! She currently has it and hopefully I will be that much closer to being able to share it with you this year!
She gave me great advice to help tighten my story further…three words….Save. The. Cat. If you’re not familiar with this book and want a little help with working on your story beats, I highly recommend it buying it: Save the Cat on Amazon
After all this talk – do you still wonder what the story’s about it? Here’s my current blurb:
Rei lived most of her life on the outskirts of Death Valley – the one on Earth, not the more popular one on Proxima Centauri II. During her day job as co-owner of a bar, she dreamed of doing something more with her life: join the Federation against the Dominion, fall in love, avenge her brother, or at least just get off this damned planet. But the fear of being hunted by some unknown threat kept Rei in her small and mundane village.
In a far and distant future where the people pray to a goddess of lightning or a god of plants and prophecies swirl of their reincarnation for a final battle, Rei clings to her faith and its stories as a source of comfort. But when the devil with the hair of fire arrives in town, secrets are exposed that reveal more about Rei than she bargained for: the universe has a plan for her and everyone in her life had been grooming her for it. Now she has to come to terms with this new truth and decide who she wants to be, as long as she can stay ahead of the one still hunting her…
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