Monday the 9th of December saw me press publish on my first novella, Three Wishes. It’s up on amazon, and hopefully up on kobo soon. It was a rush to see it up on it’s own little page with my name on the cover.
This little book is so far from what I usually write, but I loved every minute of it. It’s conception was completely different to my other stories, so I decided to share the story behind the story.
For the better part of a year, I’ve been working on 2 series (both urban fantasies) and a couple of YA contemporary ideas, and getting stuck on all of them. I promised my wife that I’d have “something” published by the end of the year, and as the weeks and days ticked over, I realised I wasn’t going to be able to keep that promise.
I knew my wife would be upset, because from her point of view, my first year of being a full-time writer was a waste. I’ve written a lot of words and been able to find my ‘voice’, so I don’t think it was a complete waste of time, but I guess I can see why my wife would think that. I had nothing tangible to show for my efforts.
So, I said to myself, “Self, what would make your wife not be angry with you, and allow you to keep your promise?”
Self replied, “Write her a book. Women love that shit.”
So it was that I came up with the idea to completely forget about all that had come before for the time being, and come up with something entirely new. I gave myself 10 days to come up with a short story or novella that was of a publishable standard. It wouldn’t be enough to just have a story finished – I would have to be happy enough with it to want to share it with others ie publish it so the world could crap on it.
Apart from appeasing my wife, it would also serve as a way to prove to myself that I could come up with something from nothing, and that I could write fast if I wanted to. It would also double-up as a Christmas present, so how could I not go ahead with it?
Let me tell you, it was exciting and exhausting and fun and terrifying, all at once.
After tossing around ideas for a few hours, I came up with the one I used – a character so excited about Christmas and a believer in Santa who wanted to prove to others that Santa exists. That’s my wife to a T, although the character of Sophie isn’t really based on my wife (though she will probably tell you differently!)
I then gave myself another day to come up with the plot from start to finish. I had a minimum and maximum word count (7,500-12,000) to keep me from blathering on, and then came up with the characters and the general plot. I wrote one sentence about each chapter, flipped those chapters around so they worked better and then started writing.
The twist didn’t come to me until I was writing the chapter where it happens (I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t yet read the book). When that happened, I sat back and thought, “Huh, well there you go.” I didn’t second guess it, even though it changed my ending. I also didn’t second-guess it when another character appeared out of the blue and changed the course of Mac’s story.
All up, I hit the 10-day time-frame I gave myself to have it publish-ready. It took an extra few days to commission the cover art and get my beta readers and an editor friend of mine to look over it, and another day to teach myself how to format the file to upload it to amazon and kobo, which proved easier than I first thought.
Then came the time for the big reveal. I had tossed around just giving it to my wife on Christmas morning, but that meant that I couldn’t tell anyone about it, even if I published it, because my wife would find out. While it was an exciting prospect to wait and give her the best present ever, I really wanted my family and friends to know that all my talking about writing wasn’t me just talking crap.
I wanted validation, and I wanted to release my little book on the world and see if it could make its own friends.
I decided to print out the story and compile it into a little booklet, complete with a ribbon tying the pages in place.
I was extremely nervous giving the book to her, because I knew how much I wanted her to like it. The thing about my wife is, she can’t fake it. If she didn’t like it, she wouldn’t tell me she did, just to make me feel better. Having said that, we had the following conversation:
Wife: So is this just for me or for publishing?
Me: If you like it, I’ll publish it if you want me to. If you don’t I won’t.
Wife: That’s too much pressure! I’m going to lie to you. If I don’t like it, I’m going to tell you I do, just so you publish it anyway.
Lucky for us both, she liked it.
I sat beside her as she read it, and she seemed to laugh in all the right places. And because she liked it, I published it.
After all of that excitement, I’m not exactly sure how I can top that for a Christmas present, but I have just over a week to come up with something.
I’ll be quiet on the blog for the next few weeks because of the Christmas holidays and working on the 2 urban fantasy projects, and then we’re off with my niece on a 2 week holiday to Tasmania in January. I’ll still be writing during that time, but I probably won’t find time to update the blog until the end of January.
Until then, I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.
My debut novella, Three Wishes, is on special on amazon until Boxing Day for just 99c. You can buy it by clicking on the cover at the top of this post, or clicking here.