Writer T. James' Exploration of Words, on the Internet.

Diving in at the Deep End – Am I Crazy?


Over the last few days I’ve been working on my first ever publication, my novella “Cassie” (working title), and I have to say I’m getting a little nervous. Why? Because I am now starting the final stages before posting it on Amazon Kindle for people to actually read

I need to finish off edits, write the descriptive blurb, decide on a final title, and design the cover. How long this stage will take, I have no idea.

It’s been a long road getting this far. Around seven months for a short novella; researching depression, cancer and the setting; several rewrites including changing from third person to first, and ripping out an entire story arc and redoing it, and numerous changes to scenes and dialogue.

This is all completely new to me, and I have no idea if I’m doing it ‘right’, but it’s certainly exciting. But that’s not really what is making me nervous. During the beta reading stage the story managed to split my readership down the middle, with about half really engaging with it and the rest unsure about my narrative choices and style, the likeability of my main character, and the story arc I’ve taken out. So, as far as readers concerns go – I’ve addressed one out of three.

As for my narrative choices and style and the likeability of my main character? I’ve been facing this conundrum since the inception of the piece. From the get go I’ve been aiming for authenticity, especially concerning Cassie’s depressive outlook. To say this aim has clashed with how easy readers find the piece is an understatement.

In the end, I’ve stuck with my original vision. “Cassie” is being released in a form that deliberately breaks with several (actually very sensible and wise) fiction-writing practices. That, and the lead character is written from the viewpoint of someone with severe depression, which curtails her emotional responses and darkens the tone of the piece. Each of these has proven challenging to balance with readability. I may post more on the challenges of writing “Cassie”, but for now I’m hoping that my gamble will pay off and at least some readers will appreciate what I’m trying to do.

There is only one way to find out, which is to dive in at the deep end… Is there anyone willing to stand on the bank with a rubber ring just in case?

“Cassie” will be released under another title, hopefully “soon”.


Image used under Creative Commons license. Click on image for details.


  1. Sandy Westendorf Coelho

    Deep breath, hold it – there, you’ll be fine. You will soon be joining the rest of us ‘crazies’. Your writing is brilliant, people will love your work. Go get’em tiger!

    • T. James

      Thanks for the compliment Sandy. If anyone disagrees I now know what to do… I shall just growl at them until they change their minds… RAAAARRRRGHHH! ;-)

  2. Steve McHugh

    Firstly, congrats. That’s awesome news. Sounds like you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you, but if you ever need any help let me know.

    Good luck.

    • T. James

      Cheers Steve. I appreciate you dropping by, and the offer. I’m currently getting my head around what I need to do for Kindle submission, after I’ve finished the edits… It’s going OK so far. I’ve just done a mock up cover design.

  3. Marianne Su

    Congratulations, TJ. You’ve got me curious about Cassie. Good luck and have fun with the process.

    • T. James

      Thanks Marianne. It’s a challenge, but I’m having fun. I was trying my graphic design hat on today. I’ll leave others to work out how well it fits when they see the results… :-)

  4. Natalie Westgate

    Congratulations and I can’t wait to read the finished piece! It’ll be interesting to see the changes you mentioned. Good luck with the kindle sales too – I presume it’ll be for sale and not free?

    • T. James

      Hi Natalie. Thanks for your interest. I am planning to charge for “Cassie” on Kindle, but I’ve no idea how much. I’ve read very different opinions on peoples blogs. Any advice gratefully received, but not necessarily followed. ;-)

  5. Gareth

    Best of luck with it, but one other thing that you need to add to your list of things to do is marketing. Yes its evil, but it’s necessary so think of a strategy to help yourself out. I’d hate for it to fall a little flat after so much hard work.

    • T. James

      Hmmmmm… Marketing… I know I’ve read something about that somewhere. Isn’t that where the sheer awesomeness of your book permeates through the ether, filling people’s minds with ‘must buy’ thoughts?

      To be honest Gareth, I have thought a little about it, but other than maybe doing some blog interviews and using Twitter and Facebook it seems like an arcane art form. I hope to come up with some how-to ideas before release, but suggestions are very welcome!

  6. Gareth

    One idea off the top of my head would be to ask how someone with depression and having to deal with cancer would read it. If its a book that will help then you do have the option of speaking to some of the womens mags that might run a feature (such as Take a Break.)

    In addition to that let your local media know that you’re prepared to do interviews or to answer questions etc. It will probably help.

  7. Pat Hollett

    I love Gareth’s suggestion. It’s always good to run it by someone in that position if you’re able to.
    But, congrats TJ! This is wonderful news! I really hope it’s successful and look forward to reading it. :)

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