Safe to say, that being long listed for an award has sunk in now. I was on a total high when I wrote my last blog post, and while I’m still on a high, I’m not so giddy. But, hey – we’re all crazy really, right?
Even if I go no further, it’s been an incredible journey.
Nearly two years ago or thereabouts, I sat down to write Fractured Immortal. I had written before, was well known at school for it, but I had never dipped my toe in the wider writing world. I just wrote what hid inside my head—I let it all out and Fractured Immortal was completed. I knew no rules. Had no clue what passive voice was or why adverbs were bad, and let me tell you, there were a truck load of adverbs in the first, second and third+ drafts of Fractured Immortal as well as a ton of passive voice and more use of the word ‘was’ than could be found in a library full of books.
When I eventually found a place in the writing world, it was through a slush competition that I entered. I did not get through, and not just because of the whole vampire thing. Remember the passive voice, adverbs etc that I just talked about, well they were still in my manuscript when I entered it into Pitchwars. It was a bloody mess. It’s also worth mentioning that, at that time, Fractured Immortal still held the label of Young Adult fiction. Oh, how things changed.
Through my own hard work and the hard work of others who not only sifted through my manuscript pulling out every use of passive voice, almost every adverb (though I admit, I like an adverb every now and then) and 95% of the use of was, they also taught me some of the rules of writing fiction. Those rules, though annoying at times, shaped me into a better writer (at least I hope they did).
I reworked the manuscript, pulling it away from Young Adult and into New Adult. This is by no means an easy feat, there were yet more rules to learn about the difference between YA and NA. It was made a little easier by the fact that when writing it I had clearly blurred the lines between the two, still—an overhaul was needed, and that’s what it got.
When it finally came to the release, I felt a little like people may look down on me for self-publishing. I guess I wasn’t completely comfortable yet. But as time went on and reviews were left and kind messages received from readers that I had never had contact with before, I really found my strong hold. I was a self-publisher and damn proud of that fact.
Still, writers are fickle things and I’d often go from loving my work to loathing it. The second book, Finding Immortal, was essentially written twice, both very different because I hated the first one I wrote. I got to almost the end and though – bleugh, this is rubbish. So I started again. I really needed that restart though, because a lot of it was written when Fractured Immortal was still pegged as a YA, so you can probably see my issue there.
The biggest hurdle though that almost every writer will face, is confidence in their own work. Maybe even more so with the end result for the self-published writer, because we don’t have an agent who goes through our work pulling out the things they don’t feel work, we don’t get the feeling of success when a publishing house says – hell to the yeah, we want to buy this. We rely purely on our ability as is and those precious, precious critique partners, editor and beta readers.
There have been times when I considered pulling Fractured Immortal so it could no longer be bought, because I truly believed that it was crap. Even in the face of excellent reviews, I itched to hide it somewhere far, far away where no one could cast their eyes on it ever again. Thankfully, I didn’t, because if I did I sure wouldn’t have been long listed.
The selection of Fractured Immortal for this award is a huge deal for me. It doesn’t need to go any further, I don’t need to win, because out of all of the paranormal romance released last year from self-publishers and small presses, my book was selected to sit alongside nine others in the category of best Paranormal Romance of 2014. Am I happy because I’m vain? Hell no, it’s damn difficult to find a vain writer, we’re all so busy worrying over our every word. Stressing over whether people will like it or not. I’m happy because it’s boosted my confidence a lot and though that will wane eventually, for now it spurs me on. I wrote a lot yesterday, I found my main characters thoughts which had been on hiatus for a few weeks. The confidence dripped through to my work, and that is worth more than anything else in my writer world. So thank you BookHippo crew, for helping this writer to relocate her voice.