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”.
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