My dad suggested I leave Mermother for a while and come back to it but I was reluctant to do this. Now that I've started this new novel, however, and it's coming easily, I'm thinking I will follow his advice. Maybe I won't even publish Mermother at all? Would that be a shame? I can't decide.
I do feel that I shouldn't even look at Mermother until the new one is done. It might jinx this new novel somehow.
There's not much I can do at the moment. I'm too sick to work, either on site or from home. I'm making lots of mistakes still with the fever.
I can't read.
I can't edit Mermother.
I can't sleep.
I can't eat.
I can't talk.
I'm really great at coughing.
So I started writing a new novel. The good news and the bad news is that it already reads better than Mermother. My mermaids will be furious if I give up on them. I'm thinking I should publish soon and set them free. I have played around with the plot so much that it doesn't hang together nicely. This disappoints but at the same time builds my resolution to become a better writer.
I miss playing my piano downstairs. Too sick to go down. Nervous on the stairs because am dizzy. It's a Bell from 1900. Never give up your Bell piano. And certainly don't chop it up for firewood. Sacrilege.
I have a terrible cold, including a sore throat so I can't edit out loud. Very excited to feel better!
I was impressed with Amazon's technical writing for Kindle publishing. The tone is so friendly and straightforward. I guess by the time you have finished the long lonely road that is a book, you appreciate friendliness.
On Amazon's recommendation, I was brainstorming keywords that would indicate what the book is about. This is what I came up with:
female friendships (or should that be women's friendships??)
When I was delirious with a fever during the night I had a lot more ideas.
It makes me spare that I can't write full time. If only I could have 4-6 hrs per day to write. That would be amazing. I can see how writing could become a compulsion even if it didn't start out that way.
A mermaid book from when I was a child. It's still good! A Thousand Yards of Sea by Adele Geras.
I've been doing my first full edit. My writing strikes me as very flimsy so I've been chopping out the fluff. Now I've fallen below 70K! Yikes. Hopefully more valuable material will come to me as I move along.
My next edit will be out loud. I'm hoping to capture how we speak here. But I also want a cooperative relationship with the reader - I want to make it easy for the reader to pass through the story and understand what I mean. I've read some beautiful books but the language was too labour intensive. Something to talk about with other authors, I suppose. If they ever take me seriously! :)
I have to get to 70K this weekend. 3K to go. I'd like to be done all my edits by Valentine's Day and then I'll figure out how to self-publish. I can't wait to have a copy of Version 1.0 in my hands.
Here is my idea for the back cover.
Pretty sure I've broken 68K. Need to go home and reintegrate Chapter 19 so I can check.
I have also picked out my font: Minion Pro. I like the look. To me, it seems intelligent and friendly. I can hear Briony's voice in it when I read her words. Wondering if I should convert the blog into Minion also? Mmmm.
One has to be suspicious of blogs about blogging - the result of too much time off leash, perhaps. I won't rattle on except to say that mine looks appalling. I really must camp out at the coffee shop soon and disappear inside the template for a few hours.
Not a lot of writing has been going on. I was at 67k but then I deleted 3 paras from the first chapter because, frankly and in accordance with Alex Van Tol, it was a terrible start to a novel. Just wrote some more to get back to 67k. And then fell asleep trying to finish this blog entry. Must rest.
I've been criticized for being a dreamer more than once - in spite of hard work and measurable results. But I'm happy here inside the worlds that I create, including my perfected reality. I like being fae - I would be more so, if I could. Right now I exist only at the edge of my pillow.
In recent years I haven't slept well. I used to really worry about this until my dad convinced me it's fine to sleep in shifts. Lack of exercise and stress and trying to sleep when I can't makes it worse. On the plus side, I end up writing and working on new plot ideas for the second Mermother novel. I've also been developing my projects for Makerspace. If you haven't gotten into Makerspace yet, then you must. Amazing.
The second image is the view that inspired my novel. There is a red house with white trim -
can you see it? [I just checked and, no, you can't. You'll just have to believe me. It's to the left of the house in the middle of the photo.]
I first stared at that house in 1990. It has always
fascinated me. I walked along the beach one day during the summer and
came to it from the shoreside. Finally. Imagine my disappointment to
find it abandoned and run down. The house looks gorgeous from a
distance. That's the transformative power of the sea - nothing is as it
Today has been rather spectacular so far. I woke up late and was walking to my office when I fell on the ice and sprained my foot. Off to Emergency I went to check that it was not broken. Isn't.
Was trying to write Chapter 19 on my laptop in the hospital to keep self entertained. I've got this new challenge: being able to write anywhere. Today was tricky with politicking blasting from the waiting room TV. Then Word crashed and I lost my draft. Was busy recovering draft when it was my turn for X-ray. It's a rule in the hospital: only hospital employees are allowed to be busy. Patients must be available. Was worried draft of 66K+ words was lost. Isn't.
Ok, I'm kidding, just trying to keep things interesting.
Here is my original cover image. I took this photo on the beach at work and liked it because it looks like something in the water is moving away from the viewer. I found the baroque frame via SXC and MacPale in the Netherlands agreed to let me use it. Isn't it fabulous?
The concept is a cover that looks like a picture hung in an art gallery. Feel free to use this idea! I'm fine with my simpler outcome.
I've finally broken the 65K wordcount after struggling for days. Last night I decided to add two more chapters to get me up to 70K. The thought of my plot getting away from me again made me slightly nauseous but my characters seem to think it will be fine. :)
I figure if you want to do any kind of ambitious, entrepreneurial project, you have to be able to handle rejection. Especially if you are interested in the arts but also true for engineering.
If you look at the statistics and read author accounts, then you'll know that it's likely you will be rejected endlessly. Once you're accepted, you'll have to put up with ongoing criticism. What's a sensitive girl to do? The following has worked for me.
1. Rationalize. Rejection is normal.
2. Take comfort in the initial failure of others.
3. Practice being rejected. Rejection is not about you, it's another person's decision over which you have no control.
4. Focus on the positive. I was thrilled when I got a rejection email from The New Yorker. Someone at that organization had actually read my poem? Amazing!
5. Rejection is marketing confirmed. You've hit something. It didn't stick but at least you hit the target.
I have to make breakfast. Let's rewrite this later--for me, this is an interesting topic with broader applications than just writing.
Since I'm new to the world of novelling, I've become really interested in writing and editing methods for works of length. I've found that writing in a cheap journal from the dollar store while lying in bed works best for composition in the early stages. I like lying on my back with my knees up scribbling away with a pen that costs far more than the book. That's my formula for writing.
For editing, I have been using a MacBook Air. I prefer a Dell laptop because the keys are closer together which suits my small hands. The Air has been a trusty assistant however and I daren't offend it in these later stages. I like to create PDF versions of my novel for editing. For some reason, it's easier to see my changes. Today I've been experimenting with different fonts for editing also. That's working well for me. When I don't have much to say I like to format. It comforts me that at least my writing looks nice.
Here is the latest cover design. I decided to make something really simple that could be easily printed and not expensive either. My original design was so elaborate and would have been a huge nuisance to perfect. One of my coworkers likes it! :) For the back cover I am thinking about repeating the section sign on a smaller scale--like a wallpaper design. (Image credit: E.J. Wolfe)
I've been working on this novel about mermaids since 2009. Most of my time has been spent in plot development--the final result will be a trilogy. I've also been learning about the novel writing process since I'd never written one before. I participated in NaNoWriMo in November 2012--I recommend this writing challenge for aspiring novelists who would like to get a jumpstart on their novel. I'm very grateful for the support and encouragement I've received, particularly from my father, Geoff Hargreaves, and friends Wai-Kay Ho-Ching, Mark Berman, and Sarah Buck. I hope you enjoy this book! Please feel free to send me any comments or feedback once I have published my next version.