And so it begins…

My very own website. How exciting. How scary!

Well, I guess I should start by telling you a little bit about myself and what I plan to do with this little slice of cyberspace. I’ve established this site to track my writing journey and quest for publication. At the moment, I’m a couple of months away from finishing the first draft of a complete re-write of my first novel. Confused? I don’t blame you!

So, a bit of history. The first kernel of an idea for my novel came to me in 2001. Yes, 10 years ago. Slightly depressing, so I try not to think about it! Anyway, by 2007 I had a draft young adult novel called Entwined which I was very proud of.  But then I got it professionally appraised…

The appraisal was worthwhile, insightful and a little confronting. It opened my eyes to the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript, some of which were very surprising, and posed some valid questions that required thoughtful answers. It was certainly a good lesson in one of the harsh realities of professional creative writing – i.e. if you can’t handle constructive criticism, you shouldn’t be in the game!

As a result of the appraisal, I decided to completely re-write the manuscript and change it from third person to first person, told in the voices of my two main characters, 17-year-olds Ceara and Seb. I re-named the novel Tangled (which Disney has since stolen for a new movie. At least it’s good, or so I’m told) and spent quite a bit of time creating the narrative voices that would bring Ceara and Seb to life. I’ll make more detail about the novel itself available very soon, so if you’re interested (which I hope you are!), watch this space!

So, where to from here? First, to finish the manuscript. Then, to edit it and hopefully bring the word count down to something slightly more respectable. I see the word count as my biggest barrier to traditional publishing because, quite simply, it’s enormous. At the moment, it’s looking like the final word count will be somewhere around 170,000. To put that in perspective, it’s more than Twilight: Eclipse but less than Twilight: Breaking Dawn (if the word counts on this site are accurate). Considering most books in my genre (young adult contemporary fiction) are between 60,000 to 80,000, no matter how much I trim and refine, Tangled will still be a lot bigger than most! So I’m looking into self publishing and whether that might be a better option for me than traditional publishing. I’ll let you know what my research uncovers! In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away with finishing the draft and hopefully write the words ‘The End’ very soon!  

If you have any experiences with publishing – either traditional or self-publishing, successful or unsuccessful – I’d love to hear from you. Or even if you don’t, and just want to share some thoughts, I’d love to hear from you too!

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12 Comments

Filed under Random, Tangled, Writing

12 responses to “And so it begins…

  1. Adam Hutchinson

    That’s really exciting. I’m currently rewriting the first draft of my second novel, also in the YA genre though geared to the younger side borderline with MG fiction. Your 170,000 word count almost made me faint. Mine’s at 67, but I’m looking to flesh out the plot a bit in this rewrite. However, I love your main characters’ names. Good luck with it!

  2. Thanks so much, Adam. It was great to get your post – especially the day after I established the site! Hope your rewrite goes well too. We’ll have to swap novels when we’re done!

  3. ange ritchie

    Great to see your novel up and running again Cally..very proud of you..keep up the fab work. x

  4. Looking forward to finally getting a chance to read some of your novel Cally. Welcome to the blogosphere!

  5. Nhi

    Looking forward to tracking your progress Cally! Have added your blog to my google reader feed 🙂

  6. Libby Brain

    What a great start to an excellent concept! I truly hope that this process takes you where you want to go Cal, & think that your introduction “And so it begins…” clearly sets the scene for you as an inspired, hopeful and aspiring author. I loved the first version of your novel so I’m sure the next one will be absolutely brilliant. And don’t worry that it’s taken you ten years – quality takes time – remember also that it’s not so much about the destination as the journey so in that sense you are doing really well! All the best for your exciting venture. I am very proud of you!

  7. JessB

    Hey Cally, I came here from your comment on Mamamia where you mentioned your blog. And it turns out that I love writing and think you’re first post is awesome!

    Good luck on the journey, I’ll be following you with interest, and can’t wait to see your book in a bookstore… one day!

  8. Thanks Jess! I’m so happy to hear that you appreciate my writing. Looking forward to having you along for the journey!

  9. Darn, don’t you hate it when Disney goes and steals your epic book title?!

    He, he, I’m hoping no one steals my book title before I manage to get it published (but since that could be a good long way down the road, it’s quite possible someone may steal it first!).

    I went the opposite way to you – after I’d written a number of chapters in first person I decided to go back and change everything to third person! Think it’s working for me… (I hope…)

    • Yeah Rachel, it sucks when someone as big as Disney releases something with the same title as your WIP. At least it’s not in the same genre. At the moment, I’m not planning on changing the title, but will have to do a bit of research on it to make sure all is okay with me still using it. GRRR.

      That’s funny that you’re making the opposite change to me. First person is definitely working much better for me but it depends on the kind of story you’re trying to tell. Looking forward to catching up more throughout the crusade!

  10. When the story is good, readers will keep turning the pages no matter how long the book is. Besides, I LOVE long books. When you’re really into the characters and the plot and the writing, it sucks to have the book come to an end after just 60,000 words.

    • Thanks so much for your encouragement, Laura. I really appreciate it. I love long books too but agents and publishers don’t seem to from first-time authors. Oh well, I’m treading my own path regardless! 😀

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