When I “revealed myself” to those around me by announcing the release of my first novel, I had the same general reaction: “Seriously? How did you do it?” And the truth is that I wouldn’t know not really explain my “method” because everything I had “studied” and planned went to waste from chapter 3!
Because of course, I found out, I trained myself, I analyzed what other authors that I follow were doing on a personal level... And found everything and its opposite! Because what works for one, does not apply to another! There are broad guidelines but in the end, you are alone in front of your page looking for what works for you. I would have bet without hesitation that I would be an “architect” author, that is, thinking of the whole story down to the smallest detail, unlike the “gardener” who lets himself be carried away by the inspiration of a nascent idea without exploring it in depth first.
As a joke with myself, I decided to start writing my novel on April 1st. And to motivate myself, I participated in the Nano Camp in April which is a writing challenge between authors, where everyone sets a daily goal. The fact of “announcing” to the other participants one's wishes puts pressure, but also creates emulation which allows them to last over time. For my part, I wanted to write my first draft at the end of this challenge. To do this I had to write 5000 words/day, which seems like a high bar, even if I wasn't really aware of it at the start! So I found myself “chained” to my desk for between 12 and 18 hours a day to achieve this ambitious goal. I wrote 7 days a week, tirelessly, sometimes doing and undoing everything I had written the day before, with as a result, twice as many words to write on those days! The story obsessed me and even woke me up at night to the point that I got up to write! The month of April passed in a blur apart from writing (long live Picard who helped me a lot with my children to prevent them from dying of hunger…). But somehow, I finally found myself with the word “end” on April 30 at 2:32 p.m.: after recording my doc, I went to take a 4-hour nap!
As for how the story would unfold, I had one plot in mind, then another, and another… To finally mix the ideas and get that of Oracle, Magie & Co. In theory. Because as I wrote, I ended up at the end of the day with something totally different from what was planned! So goodbye frame and established plan, hello freestyle inspiration every time I opened my document! I had a “concept”, a beginning and an end… but in between… my characters “rebelled” by not doing at all what I initially thought. Some imposed themselves by taking up space when they should have had a minor role, and others appeared out of nowhere when they weren't even supposed to exist! All my research had to be repeated over time...
So I must here apologize to my favorite authors whom I have sometimes cursed because the continuation of their series was not what was announced at first glance. Their explanation of “this character absolutely wanted me to tell his story” made me roll my eyes and curse in my corner… Now I understand! Maybe you have to experience it to really believe it, but it's a crazy thing that can happen when the character is so “real” that he takes over the author...
And what I had sometimes taken for a “test” (namely writing) is in fact a real pleasure despite everything, compared to what follows. Because it is not enough to tell the story, it must then be reread and corrected in terms of coherence, rhythm and sequences. There is the division into chapters, the layout, not to mention the spelling and grammar errors to be revised. And then the legal notices, the administration, the price positioning, the choice of formats… And the cover! And the summary! In short, a whole bunch of questions and points that we're not really aware of when we're focused on writing, and which knock you out when you say to yourself “that's it, I'm done”…
Finally, there is publishing. I chose self-publishing because it allows me to get started without having to wait, because a publishing house can take up to a year to respond to you. And because Amazon offers a dedicated platform that allows you to do everything yourself. In theory. This does not avoid hours of learning the tool and headaches to understand what is wrong even though we have followed the entire procedure to the letter... But what emotion when the message “your book is published” s displayed at the end!
In the end, fear and doubts prevail: now what will happen? Will the story find its audience? Am I legit? Will I succeed in writing other novels?
The emotional roller coaster never ends but I cling to the pleasure of immersing myself in my world of escape in the hope that people will want to escape with me. This experience gave me only one desire: to continue!
You have to believe in your dreams!
And you, what do you say?