Writing Journey

So, What’s Next?

Recently, I’ve been asked this particular question by almost everyone I meet, “What’s next? Are you writing another book?” So to answer everyone else, who may have this question in mind, I thought to share my response here.

The next, after The Slave Prince, is the Raindrops trilogy.

Or, at least, I hope it remains as a trilogy and not become a series. Why? Because trilogies and series aren’t really my thing. I’ve discovered, through writing Book 2, that writing a trilogy is quite a challenge for me. As Book 1 was completed–sent to beta readers–in April 2016, a handful of story facts have gotten lost in time. I’ve misspelled some of the not-so-important character names, I’ve confused certain plot lines, and… I’ve forgotten how some of the places actually looked like. I had to reread Book 1 before writing Book 2. And yet, even after doing so, I’m still making mistakes!

When I think about it, a trilogy is just a really long book. It shouldn’t be too difficult to remember what I, myself, have concocted. Alas, I’m better suited writing standalones of 60k to 70k words–my sweet spot. And funnily enough, I’ve only just learned this fun fact about myself. However, I am going to complete this trilogy. With Book 1 done, how can I not write Book 2? It would be silly to stop a story when I’m this far in. I just have to tough it out and get it done–you have no idea how many times I’ve coaxed myself to keep going. Why did I even think writing a trilogy was a good idea? This writer, right here, had no idea what she had gotten herself into.

With that said, I plan to pitch Book 1 to agents once I finish the first draft of Book 2–it should be done by this year despite the turtle pace. I also plan to spend a good amount of time next year rewriting Book 2. Honestly, that is about it with my plans. All I can do as a writer is to keep writing–to keep running the race. I don’t know what will happen along the way. I might not find a publisher even after I’ve completed the entire trilogy. Or, I may land a publishing deal next year. Anything or nothing can happen. But, I do know what’s next.

For me, it will always be the next word, the next sentence, the next chapter, and the next book. It’ll always be one story after another. Despite how tiring it may be or how unmotivated I sometimes feel, I’ll keep writing. Stopping midway in this journey is, and never will be, an option.

PS, if you’re curious what Raindrops Book 1 is about, let’s just say it follows the tale of a teenage king in search of his father who many believe to be dead. With the magic in raindrops, this youthful king leaves home to travel to other realms. From the hazardous trip behind enemy lines to the festive East Asian-esque Meihua; from the kingdom hovering above the clouds to the military-driven Bevattna; from the heterogeneous society of a tunneled realm to his duel with the heir of Tentazoa, every step in his adventure uncovers a gem of his past, present, and future. And in one foresight, this young king learns the daunting fate of his own realm. That… is all I can say. Hopefully, you’ll get to read this book one day.

Writing Journey

I’m Not Done Yet! Or am I?


Am I done with this novel? Is it good enough? When can I say I’m truly done?

As a writer, I always ask myself these questions. But the fact is, one can never say a novel is truly done. There’s no benchmark. There’s no checklist. There’s just me… and my novel. I’m the judge of when it’s complete. And yet, I cannot judge. I wonder if the extra rounds of editing would make my book worse. I oscillate between editing again or leaving it as it is. I don’t know what to do! Help! The uncertainty drives me crazy. But recently, I’ve come to a realisation.

Whenever I edit my novels, I mostly dislike what I read. I’m rarely happy with the text before me. I always think my story sucks – that I’m not a good writer – and I know I’m not alone. But in the midst of that, there’ll be a moment in time – a second of contentment – that hits me like an unforeseen kiss. It’s rare. It doesn’t happen as frequently as I hope it would. And it only transpires after I’ve grown tired with my work. This emotion comes after my self-loathing is replaced with fatigue.

Have you ever felt worn out from all the editing? Have you told yourself, “I’m done. I’m not touching this again. I’ve done all I can”? This brief moment of unexpected tranquility is how I know I’m done. Because… it only sweeps past me after my final round of editing. And by ‘final’, I mean I decided it would be the ‘final round’ before even starting work. How convenient, right?

You see, subconsciously, we know when we’re done. We can sense it. It’s an innate ability. Like how animals can sense an earthquake, it’s a gut feeling we writers have. But the two things holding us back – driving us to spend years on a single book – are doubt and fear. We doubt we have what it takes. We fear we’re not good enough. So we keep at it, on the same piece of writing, not realising that by working on the same thing over and over again, we’re not growing. We’ve boxed ourselves. We’re unable to learn by exploring other stories within us. We squeeze our creativity, then question why we’re not good enough. And when that moment of contentment hits – when we’ve come to believe we’ve given our all – we quickly brush it aside. We disregard the prompt that’s telling us to stop. And we repeat the vicious cycle of wondering, questioning, and not knowing when it’s done.

I, personally, don’t believe we should work on a single piece of work for years. I know I say this with The Slave Prince being a novel I worked on for 3 years, but I wrote plenty of other work during those 3 years too. And by honing my craft, I’m able to better The Slave Prince as I find my own style and voice. Am I done with The Slave Prince now? Yes. Very done. I’ve given my all. And there’s only so much I can do where I am, right now.

Moving forward, I’m ready to dive into new worlds. I’m ready to challenge my creativity and imagination. And I know I cannot do that if I’m stuck on the same book. Don’t let the question of ‘done’ stop you from moving forward. Because in reality, we’re never done. We will always grow, and we need to let ourselves grow.

So take it from me. The next time a wave of surprising satisfaction washes up your shore, after your ‘final round’ of editing, ask yourself these:

Am I done with this novel? Yes. Is it good enough? No. When can I say I’m truly done? Never.

You don’t have to publish your novel tomorrow. But you most certainly need to start writing something new. Only then can you free yourself from a curse, so cruel, it robs you of your much needed ‘happily ever after’.

The End.

Others

Would you… invest in me?

would you invest in me

Hey there!

Yes, you over there; the well-dressed human with good looks staring at this screen. Oh, don’t be modest. I am indeed referring to you. The very person I know would give me a few minutes to make this pitch. So, how was your day? Good? Well I sure hope so, but let’s not dilly dally, I’ll get straight to the point.

So… if you’ve been following my blog, you would know that I write. A lot. I’ve also released a few books, but most of them electronically. Today, I hope to change that. How? By starting a crowd-funding project! I’ve decided to take one of my works, The Battle For Oz (novel), and put it on a platform where you, yes you, still speaking to you, can help fund! Think of it as an investment 🙂

TBFO6You’re probably going, what’s an investment with no returns? I can only say, the returns would be tons more of my work, and The Battle For Oz in paperback! Doesn’t sound compelling enough? I’ll put it this way, if you invest in me, you’re finally helping an indie author go global. There are a handful of indie (a.k.a self-published) authors that have managed to make it big, but they would not have been able to do so without their readers. I’m hoping that you, my dear awesome reader, would consider backing me up this time. If one person donates 2 USD, I would be well on my way to getting this book out. 2 USD might be a lot to some, but please do consider. That amount would go a long… long… way.

Are you sold by my terrible investment pitch? If you are and would like to know how you can fund my book, these are the steps:

#1 Visit The Battle For Oz project page.

#2 Pledge any amount. Any amount would do. Yes, ANY amount! (Certain amounts will have perks though.)

#3 Spread the word! Clicking share will determine how successful the project will be.

I’m doing this project on Inkshares, a crowd-funding publishing platform. If my project is a success, they would edit, design, print, and distribute my books worldwide! It will be a huge deal to actually have a successful project! I know the monetary goal seems huge, but Inkshares sets the optimum amount for a well published book. (Fellow writers, be sure to check Inkshares out!)

I do hope you seriously consider in giving this project a shot. It would mean the world to me to finally see a book of mine in bookstores! I know some of you have asked if you could find my books in your countries, well… this will give me the chance to say ‘yes, you can’. For those who are planning on funding The Battle For Oz, thank you in advance! I really appreciate the support, I really do 🙂

If you would like to read the first 1/3 of the book, you can download it here for free. The free copy is just a teaser, collaborated with an artist. Do note there will not be any in-book illustrations in the complete novel, as that would make the project goal too high.

So, what are you waiting for? Don’t think too much now, just check out the project!

***For the first 10 days, starting today, Inkshares will donate 5USD to my project every time a person backs it. SO, it would be a huge help even if you’re donating 1USD in the next 10 days. 

(Tl;dr? Read bold words.)

Thanks for reading!