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first book

10 Things I Learned Writing My First Novel

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10 Things I Learned Writing My First Novel

1. It takes much longer than you would think: I finished the first draft of The Clouds Aren’t White in three months. I thought to myself, ‘hah this writing isn’t too bad. I’ll be done in four more months.’ That was not the case. 

2. You spend 4x as long editing as you do writing: Every writer will tell you this. The first draft is the easy part. The second and third drafts are harder. Editing is the hardest. Somehow you have to take a first draft and make it into a story that flows, that makes sense, that has proper grammar…something worth reading in other words.

3. You'll rewrite at least one chapter, usually the first and/or the last: This happened. When I read the first draft over, six weeks later, I wanted to gag myself. The first chapter was awful and it in no way coincided with the ending. Also I added another two chapters. This was actually the fun part, bringing the story full circle.

4. There are a thousand achievements to celebrate: First draft. First revision. Second revision. Third revision. Editing finished. Writing a dedication. Sending off to agents. Sending off to more agents. Deciding to self publish. Getting a cover. Uploading to amazon. Website going live. Book release date. Getting the advance copy of the paperback. First sale. It goes on. 

Disclaimer: My husband no longer drinks champagne with me…apparently we’ve “celebrated too much.” Whatever. Celebrate on.

5. Your family will get tired of hearing about the book: This happens. Sadly. Its hard to understand just how much courage it takes to make a simple file upload on amazon or what it feels like to lay awake at night, sure that the world will laugh in your face for the book and label you a fake. Or perhaps even worse, that no one will ever buy it. 

It takes so much courage to write a book. It takes dedication and perseverance to get through the hardest part…yourself.

6. Getting an agent is as difficult/almost impossible as they say: I sent my query letter out to thirty agents all of whom were meticulously researched to make sure that they were accepting novels and that my book would be a good fit. It totaled out to twenty nine rejections. The only ‘yes’ I got was from an agent that had a dubious reputation in the literary world. Keep going. Your book is worth it. Rejection doesn’t reflect upon you.

7. You'll want to quit at some point. Or many points: All I wanted was for it to be easy. I wanted to quickly find an agent and a publisher and sell hundreds of thousands of copies. Then it didn’t turn out that way. I seriously considered not self publishing. I wanted to quit. I did.

8. There will be spelling mistakes in your published manuscript: It happens. Get over it. Who cares if the grammar nut reviewed your book and commented on it. No one else cares…as long as they aren’t rampant and distract from the narrative. 

9. You'll cry. My husband has come to realize that this is just a part of living with an author. I cry when I’m thrilled with what I’ve done. I cry when I hate it and want it all to go away. I cry when the words sound like a three year old. I cry because I’m sure that sentence is literary perfection. I also cried when I uploaded files to Amazon and CreateSpace. I cried when my family wasn’t as thrilled as I hoped they would be. Crying is ok. Being disappointed is ok, just don’t let it become every day. Try again tomorrow. Do something different tomorrow.

10. Holding the book, seeing it for sale online, will make all the pain worth it: Crying again. There’s something, a part of you, out there in the world. A thing of beauty that you’ve created and that’s something very few people can say. Be proud. Don’t let sales or likes or shares get in the way of the wonderful thing you’ve accomplished.

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Life Cycle of a Novel

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Life Cycle of a Novel

I’d like to share today, what it takes to get a novel from mind to page and then to readers. This is not an easy process. This is not simply “having time” to write a novel. It takes much more than a decent grasp of a language to write a book. Irregardless of the talent, it takes great strength of mind to come through the process and out the other side. 

So, using the example of my novel, here is a general outline of the time and energy it takes. Through this process I had a part time job, was (and still am) a stay at home mother. 

Phase 1: First draft. 

3 months.

Phase 2: Break. Think of the book as a good wine. It needs time to sit. 

6-8 weeks

Phase 3: Revision. Consists of read through of the book, rewriting chapters as needed.

4 weeks

Phase 4: Second Revision. This phase usually consists of making the book cohesive, if the ending has changed.

4 weeks

Phase 5: I call this the ‘prose phase,’ wherein I delete most of the dialogue and give each character their own distinct voice.

4 weeks

Phase 6: Editing. Editing consists of grammar and punctuation so that the manuscript is readable.

4 weeks

Phase 7: Beta reader phase. Send off the manuscript to beta-readers and get their feedback. This can take longer than anticipated.

2 months

Phase 8: Implementing beta-reader revisions.

4 weeks

Phase 9: Final edit

2 weeks

Phase 10: Send to agents/publishers

3 months

From here on out, depending on the reactions that you get from agents, it can take another year for your book to be traditionally published, if you are fortunate enough to get a publisher. If you decide to self publish, the book can be on Amazon within the week.

So…the grand total…16 months of long hard days filled with work.

And at the end…joy.

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The Clouds Aren't White-Behind the Scenes

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The Clouds Aren't White-Behind the Scenes

The Clouds Aren't White (hereinafter referred to as-TCAW) is, at its heart, a story about love. In my introductory blog post I wrote how the story came about as just an idea about how a person would live life after losing their spouse. TCAW is a very special story because of (not just the main character-Emmeline) Sophie, the five year old, daughter. She is what drives Emmeline forward, keeps her mind on task, and comes to symbolize life.

As a mother to a young daughter myself, I adored writing Sophie. She has spunk and a little bit of drama. What I love most, though, is that she isn't the 'mini-me' to her mother. My own daughter is light-years different than I, an idea I wanted to convey throughout the novel. 

The second strong driver in TCAW is the secondary setting of the story, the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The town of Portree, where Emmeline and Sophie move, is a small town which triples in the late spring and summer months from tourists. While the museum where Emmeline works is a product of my imagination, the scenery and the harsh weather are all quite true. 

The Clouds Aren't White was a thrill to write. There were many moments while penning scenes that I started crying and I hope that the book inspires such emotion in my readers. 

If you haven't yet ordered your copy of The Clouds Aren't White, you can purchase the Ebook on Amazon here or you can order the paperback on CreateSpace here.

Cheers,

Rachael

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A Short Introduction

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A Short Introduction

Welcome to the Website! Thank you so much for stopping by. Especially for clicking here, on the blog. 

Let me introduce myself. 

I am a Colorado native, currently living in and around Denver. Writing has always been a passion of mine and publishing a novel one of my biggest dreams. I am married to a wonderful, hard working, and very supportive husband (who smiles when I lock myself in a room to work) and mother to a smart, talented little girl who wants to be an owl when she grows up. We are incredibly blessed in our family life. Insert hashtag here. 

The stories that I have started, gotten twenty pages in, and scrapped are innumerable. Every story that I scrapped I felt that it wasn’t “the one.” There was something missing in the narrative or I found that the story was too childish. 

I came across the story for The Clouds Aren’t White (TCAW) quite by accident. One day I found myself wondering how one would cope with the loss of a spouse when there were children involved. Its one of the most frightening things, the threat of loss.  So I began to write.

I finished the first draft of the novel in three months and finished five days before my husband’s birthday. I kept telling him that I had thousands of words left before I was finished. I gave the three hundred page manuscript to him for his birthday, then promptly took it back so I could start editing. 

I hope that you findThe Clouds Aren’t White engaging and passionate. Please leave a review on Amazon or send me an email in the ‘contact’ tab. I would love to hear from you.

Cheers,

Rachael

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