Last night, in the wee hours of the morning (as is usually the case with me), I completed my 9th novel. I would love to say I feel accomplished, but right now I'm simply too tired. Too many long sleepless nights have gone into this one for that sense of accomplishment and completion to have hit me just yet, but I'm sure it will come after I get a solid night's sleep in me. I don't even really feel ready to blog about the experience, but I think, looking back, I will be sorry if I don't, so I'm pushing through the exhaustion to take down a few thoughts.
This novel was a unique experience for me. In the midst of writing my dystopian trilogy (The Breeder Cycle) this winter, the idea for a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid came to me as if down from above. I think it was largely because I had recently watched Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella, and because I'm acting as advisor to a thesis student who is writing his thesis on fairy tales, and a bunch of other scattered reasons, but when the idea struck, the entire story came together so fast, I knew I could forego my usual 2-3-year planning period and put together a working outline in just a few weeks. I wrote the most complete ring composition outline I've ever put together in about three weeks flat, put together an entire cast of characters, and started writing The Girl in the Sea on February 29th.
It's amazing what a good outline will do for you, because here I am, on May 11th, with a 101,000-word novel that, back in February only existed in my head and is now completed on paper. And not only that, but I've begun the process of outlining the next novel in this series, which will go on to be my Fairy Tale Collection - each book of which will stand alone, but exist in the same universe.
I will tell you more about the story in the months to come, but for now let me just say that it will be both familiar and unfamiliar. The beauty of a retelling of a classic tale is that the reader can come to it with expectations - and hopefully have those expectations fulfilled - but also come to it to find something new. The Hans Christian Andersen story on which my novel is based is very, very short, so that gave me a lot of room to add my own take and create my own mythology surrounding the various creatures populating the world of The Little Mermaid. I also had so much fun telling a story for once that is unabashedly romantic, rather than romance playing second-fiddle, and I enjoyed the complexity that writing romance - and forbidden romance, at that! - allowed me to explore in the nuances between the characters. It was a fun, fun book to write!
But now I'm waxing on because I'm so, soooo tired, and if there's one thing I can do when I'm tired, it's write! But one more thing before I go: What next? Well, I'm letting the manuscript rest for at least one more day before I go back to it, and then I am going to start a full revision. There are a lot of rocky patches I know need to be smoothed over, and probably a couple of scenes that need complete overhauls, but the hard work of getting the story down on paper is done, and that's the hardest part. After that, I will send it off for editing and explore my publication options. I will keep you all posted! And as usual, the best way to keep up to date with my publishing news is to subscribe to my newsletter!
Now off to get some sleep...
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