I recently decided to hire a freelance editor for my manuscript, so that I could get started on my revisions. The process was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I simply went to the Canadian Editors Association website and looked for listings that mentioned YA fiction and sent off requests for estimates. A few days later I found someone that seemed to be a good fit and we got started immediately. I was mostly worried whether the editor would understand exactly where I was coming from. In the numerous emails we exchanged, I tried to explain what it was that I most needed his help on. When I first started looking online, I learned quite a few things. There is quite a confusing array of editing services available and some of them overlap. In addition, they can be quite expensive. So if you don’t do your research and fail to ask the right questions, you may end up paying for a service you didn’t really need. In the end you have to be clear about what it is that you need from the editor and make sure that they know it as well, so that there is no room for misunderstanding. If you’re lucky you will find somebody who gets your writing and will help make it the best it can be.
When I decided to write a book, I knew that the protagonist had to be a girl. She would be a strong, kick-ass sort of a girl. No standing on the sidelines and watching with big eyes as her man saved the world. No, she was going to save the world herself.I wanted to base my story on the mythology of India, because it is so rich and fascinating. And I knew that I wanted to write for young adults, because they are at an important juncture in their lives. Not that my book is going to impart any great pearls of wisdom. On the contrary, it is pure fantasy. But I happen to believe that when you allow yourself to indulge in fantasy, you can discover a lot about who you truly are and what will make you happy. Plus it’s just really cool to write about a girl who has the powers of a goddess and can kick a demon’s ass.
I have always been fascinated by the concept of reincarnation. The idea that you can be born over and over again is intriguing. Imagine being alive at different times in the history of our civilization. Would we have memories from all those lives buried deep in the recesses of our minds? Or would we start each new life with a clean slate, perhaps a chance for a do-over? And if we are not aware of it, would we do anything differently, or are we doomed to repeat our mistakes in one life after another? In my novel, Realm of the Goddess, reincarnation is a central theme. Here is a quote from the Prologue:
“Wherever evil rears its head, there I shall be reborn
to crush greed and corruption in its womb
I shall arise again and again.”
I like the idea of second chances, maybe even third and fourth ones. It gives us hope that we can ultimately overcome our failings, some of our wrongdoings and have another go at being better versions of ourselves.
In anticipation of my upcoming fame and appearances on numerous talk shows, I decided that this would be a good time to get rid of the many extra pounds that I found in the past year and a half as I was writing my YA novel Realm of the Goddess. During that time I embraced a diet of ice cream and chips and rewarded myself nightly with a fruity vodka concoction because I had spent the better part of my days being creative. Now that I am waiting with bated breath for editors and agents to tell me how much they love my book, I thought that I would take the time to get back in shape. You know, just in case I get discovered and they want to meet me.
So, I joined Weightwatchers online. Three days ago. So far it’s been fabulous. I went to the grocery store and successfully circumvented the cookie aisle, as well as the ice-cream section. Even took puppy for a nice long walk. I even tried to give up coffee and switch to water and green tea, but as I was tutoring my students later that day, I discovered that Math problems and chemical reactions are much friendlier to a well- caffeinated brain.
So now I’m happily counting points and waiting to hear from an editor who requested my entire manuscript.
Sometimes we allow fear to get the better of us. We give it permission to control us and veer us off our destined paths. As writers, I think we are particularly fearful of what others will think of us or our craft. We are afraid to expose our vulnerabilities and our deepest thoughts for all the world to see and perhaps reject. This New Year’s Eve, I sat alone in my favourite recliner nursing a nasty cold. I thought about how I would feel if someone told me that I could never write again. I felt awful even contemplating such a possibility. So at that moment I made my New Year’s resolution. I will cast aside my fears and uncertainties. I will not allow doubt to plague me. Instead I will plough ahead into the unknown and see what happens.
I am wondering how long one should wait for traditional publishing to work out before deciding to self publish. Or is self publishing no longer the other option, but rather the first choice? From all the blogs and Facebook pages and articles out there, I feel that I want to be in control of where this journey takes me, rather than wait and hope for someone to tell me that they will give my writing a chance. I felt elated when I finally finished typed the last words of my novel. It wasn’t easy getting there, so it was a big accomplishment for me. So should I allow someone else to take that away from me or should I take destiny into my own hands and see where it leads?
When I was little my Dad would buy me comic books that were all about Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Thus began my fascination with Hindu mythology. Combine that with Saturday mornings watching Spiderman cartoons sitting on the couch with my Dad after breakfast, and you’ve got yourself a perfect recipe for writing fantasy. After all, what better escape is there than imagining that you’re a drop-dead gorgeous goddess with superpowers ? It’s the stuff great fiction is made of.
On one of our mini trips within India we flew from Mumbai to Jaipur. Jaipur is a city with an abundance of palaces, all of which are designed to take your breath away. Our first stop was Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds. It was built in 1799 under order of a Rajput king and constructed with a multitude of elaborately designed windows. The purpose of all the windows was to allow the women of the palace to watch the proceedings of the court from the private balconies.This way they could watch without being seen by the public. As I looked up at the facade, the hustle and bustle of the streets faded away and instead I could picture the faces of the young girls and the royal wives looking out from their perch high above the city. I wondered what they felt and what they wished for. I wanted to know what kind of lives they led, if they had any control over their future or if they were destined to remain in the seclusion of life behind the veil, living in anonymity forever.
The idea of writing a novel about a reincarnated goddess came to me around the time my family was preparing for our first, long overdue trip to India. While I was doing research for our trip, I came across some great travel blogs and websites of fascinating places that we absolutely had to visit. For the next few days I would like to share with you the experiences we had and how they inspired my writing. I hope you enjoy our travel adventures.
After a few days of wallowing in self pity and the return of DH, I realize that one rejection is not the end of the world or my writing career for that matter. So I’ve decided to develop a thicker skin and take a few steps back from my novel. Perhaps a little distance is required to gain some perspective. I pitched my YA Paranormal Fantasy novel at SIWC last year and this past October as well and the editors and agents seemed very excited. I have told myself that maybe they were being polite, but the little voice inside me sometimes says encouraging things as well. It’s telling me that my concept is pretty fresh and if I stick to it people will get to read my novel. After a nice pep talk from DH, I’m ready to move on. After a night out for Karaoke of course.