I finished my book! (Sort of…)

I finished my book! (Sort of…)

posted in: Personal | 12

Last week, I made an exciting announcement on social media: I finished the first draft of my novel!


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.

computer-768696-cropped3. “How will you publish it?”

With blood and the tears of dragons.

Just kidding.

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.

photo-1422207258071-70754198c4a2-cropSo, 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?

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12 Responses

  1. Annie Hawthorne
    | Reply

    I need this book. I NEED it. O.O

    Pardon me while I spazz for a moment.

    Brianna, I can not wait to beta for this. O.O (which reminds me, I shall be all professional and fill out the nifty beta form.)

    I love that you’ll be self-publishing this, and I love that you already have been thinking and planning and even set a challenge for yourself. Why am I so thrilled? Because I can tell that you love EMERGENCE very, very much and so often self-published authors don’t do the work that they need to for their book to get out and be read. You, clearly, have your head on straight. 🙂

    Also, the fact that EMERGENCE was allowed to percolate for so long makes me even more delighted about being a beta. I love fantasy, but fantasy with rich depth? Be still my beating heart.

    All right, so I have deep(ish) thoughts on the photo of the white flower. *puts on pince nez*

    Firstly, it’s in black and white. The tone color symbols the darkness of the story.

    BUT. The flower is a white flower. I think this shows that there is beauty and light shining through the darkness.

    *takes off pince nez*

    January can not come soon enough!

    • Brianna da Silva
      | Reply

      I just melted.

      I mean, I literally just slid off my chair.


      I can’t believe how excited you are, I just can’t– *lapses into inaudible stuttering*

      I’m so excited to have you as one of my beta readers. XD

      As for your thoughts on the flower… O.o Very insightful. Very, mmm… very accurate, even, I might say. But, remember the white flower. When you read this book in January, the flower may or may not take on additional meaning. 🙂

  2. robindisneydasilva
    | Reply

    all I can say is an understated, “wow.” I love this blog post, too.

  3. saraletourneau
    | Reply

    Yay, Briana! Congratulations! 🙂 I must have missed your Tweet, since this is the first I’m hearing about you completing your first draft. But no matter, because it’s exciting all the same!

    Emergence sounds really interesting. It sort of sounds like a mix of paranormal and epic fantasy. (Is that how you’d describe it?) Kindy’s appearance reminds me a lot of the chimera from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, too.

    Your experience with your first novel (DSA) reminds me a little of the first novel I ever finished. I was in the middle of the third draft when I needed to take time off for family reasons and then to move into my first place. When I went back to said novel, I realized I’d lost the passion for it. Plus, I realized I still had a lot to learn about novel-writing. Since then, I’ve become a wiser writer (I hope!), and I’ve accepted the difference between “the first story you ever finish” and “the first story you want to get RIGHT”. The WIP I’m revising now falls under the latter category. 🙂

    I’d be happy to be a beta-reader for you, Briana. But it will depend a lot on what else I’ve got going on when the time comes. Based on your beta-reading plan, I’d be a better fit for Rounds #2 and #3. (I read a lot of YA fantasy, but I’m older than you might… *lol*) Again, it will depend on my workload at each time, but keep me in the loop and I’ll let you know for certain when you get closer to that time.

    • Brianna da Silva
      | Reply

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 🙂

      I wouldn’t describe it as paranormal fantasy, per se, although the winged characters in this story are somewhat of a nod towards that genre. The races of this world don’t have supernatural abilities (or supernatural origins)… some of them are just special, physically speaking. 🙂 But yes, I would call it “epic” fantasy, for sure! XD

      It seems like a lot of writers seem to have similar experiences! I’d love to hear about your WIP, particularly since it falls into the “latter” category. 🙂

      And I’d be happy to have you as a beta-reader!! I’ll definitely keep you in the loop and let you know when the time comes closer. 🙂 Thanks so much for your interest!

  4. nesskingsley
    | Reply

    Go you! Here have some cookies – no! A cake! A beautiful, beautiful cake just for you. And a hearty wish that whatever writerly obstacles come your way, you will pass over them with glorious ease, reach your goal and hold a wondrous fully-finished-these-are-your-own-words-ready-to-share book in your hands!

    Go you XD

    • Brianna da Silva
      | Reply

      Thank you so much, Ness… for the cake, and the encouragement! XD *savors decadent cake* Yummm.

  5. Cait @ Paper Fury
    | Reply

    OMGGGG CONGRATS! CONGRATS! THIS IS AMAZING AND GO YOU AND FINISHING BOOKS IS THE BEST FEELING OF EVER!! And 200K?!?! Um, wooooow. That is an incredibly huge amount and wow. I’m in awe here. XD And I hope you have a good time with edits and it’s not too frustrating or anything. 😉 I find edits notoriously frustrating, but ah, they’re part of the process right!? Can’t wait to see your book up on goodreads 😀
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    • Brianna da Silva
      | Reply

      😀 😀 😀 THANK YOU!!!!! Yes omg it’s so many words, and I have no clue how they happened, but they happened. I hope edits are not too frustrating, either! Haha. I have a bit of a plan for editing already. We’ll see if it changes much when I read the book…

      BY THE WAY, I was stalking your blog the other day and you have the wildest, awesomest story ideas there. Um particularly The Deaf Girl and a Snarky Ghost. Um basically I need to read this. Now. Why isn’t it published? XD I know you have the first few chapters on Wattpad but I need this whole book, Cait. XD

  6. Jamae S.
    | Reply

    Brianna, you had me at 260,432 words. (Belated) Congratulations! 😀 That’s an accomplishment that I hope to achieve in my own novel writing this year. Cheers to success for Emergence! I can’t wait for the beta rounds to begin.

    • Brianna da Silva
      | Reply

      Thank you so much, Jamae!! Haha, they are definitely a lot of words… I thought maybe I’d cut them down in the second draft, but so far, every scene I remove gets replaced by another one. I expect it’ll stay long, no matter what. 🙂

      I wish you the best of success with your own writing goals this year!! I can’t wait to share Emergence with you, either. ^_^

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