Last week, I made an exciting announcement on social media: I finished the first draft of my novel!
So, I did it.
At 5:11 a.m. this morning, I wrote the 260,432nd word – THE LAST WORD – in my novel.
Now excuse me while I sleep for a week.
— Brianna da Silva (@Brianna_daSilva) October 1, 2015
I’ve had a lot of questions from friends and family members since then, such as: “What’s your book about? When can I read it? How will you publish it?” And also, for those who have known me more than a couple years: “Wait, didn’t you already write a book?”
I decided to answer all these in one blog post, for the curious. So, without further ado, here are thy answers:
1. “What’s your book about?”
Emergence is a young adult fantasy novel about a group of teenagers who get caught up in a war, and begin to wonder if they’re fighting for the wrong side.
That’s the short answer. Here’s the long answer:
The Empire of Dorina has never been challenged… until now. Invaded by a powerful enemy bent on massacring their people, the Dorins act in desperation: They send courageous ambassadors into the vast, untamed wilderness beyond their borders to seek aid from two legendary cities.
There’s only one problem.
If they can find the cities… if they can survive the journey… there’s a high chance these cities will join their enemies instead.
Kindy Sharrow, a fifteen-year-old Nocturan with bat wings, claws, and night vision, previously had to hide from the empire, which cruelly slaughtered her kind for sport. Now, required to join the war against the invaders, she must fight her own demons: A secret drug addiction that is slowly killing her. And she has one, ultimate goal: Destroy her arch enemy, Charris Pouden, and his lustful desire for her, before he gains enough power to destroy her first.
Kindy finds herself entering the war with her younger brother Jensen, and new friend Lasía, a mysterious archer with a pet battle wolf. Together they fight against the bloodthirsty invaders, and journey into the heart of the wilderness to find the only two cities that will save them.
But as they begin to learn more about the empire’s secrets… a dark history buried in ashes and drenched in blood… they wonder if their enemies are not so wrong for wanting to annihilate them after all.
The bonds of friendship will be tested. Alliances will be questioned. In a story of political intrigue, ethics of war, and young love, one question must be answered: Which side will you join?
2. “When can I read it?”
So, here’s the plan:
This month (October), I’m taking a break from my novel, so I can come back and read it with fresh eyes.
Then, during the months of November (*cough*NaNoWriMo*cough) and December, I will be furiously editing, so that I have a second draft done by the end of the year.
In January 2016, I will begin the process of beta reading. If you don’t know what beta reading is, it’s simply this: I let a few people read my novel and give me feedback for further revisions. (Learn more, including how you can become a beta reader, here.)
After several rounds of beta reading, and possibly feedback from a professional editor, I will release my novel independently some time between late 2016 or mid 2017.
So, the short answer? You can read my novel as a beta reader in a few months, or you can read the finished, published book in about a year to a year and a half.
With blood and the tears of dragons.
I like to say I am ambitious and independent. (This can also be read as, “stubborn and rebellious.” Take your pick.) Because of this, going the traditional publishing route just doesn’t appeal to me.
Come on. Querying agents? Submitting to publishers? Have other people do the marketing work and take a chunk out of my revenue?
Publishing sounds like fun. I’d like to try it myself!
Sure, it’d be awesome to have a big publishing company come one day and pick up my novel, sell it to the masses, and get it on bookstore shelfs. But to start off, I’m going to self-publish.
My challenge for myself is to sell it so successfully on my own that publishers would come to me, not the other way around. (There are many stories of this happening with self-published authors.)
I’m an entrepreneur, you see. So, I’m not doing this casually. I already have an exciting marketing plan in the works, and I haven’t even started editing yet. I’m going to have fun with this. *grins mischievously*
4. “Wait, didn’t you already write a book?”
If you’ve known me for more than a year, you may remember a similar announcement I made in February 2014. “I finished my first novel!!” I shouted on social media. And now you’re saying, “Is this the same novel? What happened to that novel? What is going on??”
To answer these questions, let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time (about six years ago), I was working on a fantasy story – the very fantasy story this blog post is about. I had actually been developing the world and the characters for a while, maybe for four years before that, and I was deeply passionate about it.
However… I was stuck. Something was missing. I felt I needed to take a break to let the characters and the story really grow in the way I wanted.
So, I thought to myself: “Hey, I have this new futuristic/dystopian book idea that I just got from a dream. Maybe I could work on this for a few months, then come back to the fantasy story I really care about.”
Four years later…
Yeah, it took me a little more than “a few months” to write The Divided States of America, which my friends and I called “DSA” for short. When I finally finished, it was a BIG DEAL. This was the first full novel I had ever completed!
But, when I sat down to read it…
The book was awful. I mean, irredeemably awful. I realized that the only way to fix it would be to completely re-write it. And honestly… I wasn’t passionate enough about DSA to re-write it.
On the other hand…
During the four years that had passed, my fantasy story – the story I was truly passionate about – had had plenty of time to grow into the rich, deeply-layered epic I wanted it to be. I was more than ready to write it, and to write it well.
On March 3, 2014, I wrote Chapter 1 of Emergence. On October 1, 2015, 19 months later, I wrote the last word of a novel that was more than three times as long and was completed in less than half the time as DSA.
You won’t be reading DSA, and believe me, you don’t want to. But I can’t wait to share Emergence with you. 🙂
5. “Last thing… What’s up with the flower?”
Why is there a white flower at the top of this post, you ask?
I have no idea. Flowers are for frilly romances; my book is a gritty, dark fantasy about war and survival and death. So, it has absolutely nothing to do with my story.
…Or does it?