The scariest thing I’ve ever done

I guess it’s been a while since I updated this blog. I haven’t had much to say, really, and the Plinky prompts have been less than enticing for a while. I am still alive, if a bit sleep-deprived. Forgive the ensuing ramble. I should really be in bed now instead of writing this.

So on Friday I submitted a novel that I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2013 to a Storybundle contest. Eep! Up until now I’ve mostly just fiddled around with pieces, and not necessarily finished them, but the email I got about this contest changed my mind. To qualify, I had to win NaNoWriMo and polish and convert my story into an ebook format.

I worked really hard this November, even though there were days I was so exhausted I couldn’t focus. Work got in the way periodically, but I was able to take the last week of the month off, and I won. I wrote around 51,600 words or so. Then came the polishing part, which was hard. Not the rewriting process – that was easy. Finding people to read my novel and give me feedback, well, that was another story. I’ve never been comfortable sharing my writing because I’m afraid it’ll get stolen (maybe irrational, but you never know), but I wanted to make this story shine. I can’t catch all my errors by myself since I’m too close to the story.

I found and lost some beta readers. That was frustrating. They gave good feedback, but I guess something came up or they didn’t like the story because they dropped out on me without a word. They just stopped responding. I didn’t know if I should bug them or not, so I let it go (also I think I offended one of them with my response to her critique. Sigh. I really didn’t mean to.). Based on some of their feedback I rewrote my first draft and realized that this story isn’t going to be told in one book. It’s probably going to stretch into three books.

That was an oddly liberating revelation, and after that I choose what I felt was a good place to end it and found some professional editors. Elance is truly a god-send. I found it through a random Amazon review for a publishing book I looked at. I chose three people that responded to my add on Elance to edit my story. The first one to finish was quick – finished in a couple of days, but she only corrected a few minor errors and sent it back. She didn’t really give me feedback on the story itself, which is what I really wanted. The second one was very thorough, and it only took her a week or two. She even wrote me a nice letter telling me that I should submit this to an agent for publication, which was flattering. The third editor did the same, which boosted my confidence again, and I’m excited about the results of the contest. I’m planning a third draft of my novel, and then I’ll write a query and submit it, which should be fun.

I had no idea what I was doing trying to make the ebook file, but I think I managed pretty well using just Yarny and Calibre to add a beautiful cover to it. Ah, the cover….

One of my boyfriend’s friends is an artist, and she read the first chapter of my story and did a couple of sketches based on it for me to approve. I initially told her “creepy forest at night, man in cloak and hood with a glowing stone.” She did that sketch, and another simple one of two hands holding a black box with a flower on it. I hadn’t even thought of that scene, but it was perfect. I fell in love with that sketch, and that’s what made it into the final draft. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

Anyway, I submitted it. And I’m nervous. And I have no idea when they’ll finish the judging. Only three books will get into the mini fantasy/sci-fi bundle, and I don’t know how much competition I have.

And the characters are poking me for the next part of the story. At least that will help my nerves. Whee!

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About ladyinieda

Hi! I’m Erin. I’m a phlebotomist and a freelance writer. I’ve been writing off and on since I was six years old. Hopefully it’s improved since then. ^_^
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