Monday, June 16, 2014

Author Cherie Reich talks about the Writing Process behind her Debut Masterpiece

The Process Behind Writing Reborn

As my very first completed novel, my process behind writing Reborn was long and arduous, and I know I’ve learned a lot about writing, editing, and publishing a novel along the way. Here was my process:

1. An idea is born. Back in 2006, I was toying with the idea of writing a novel. Yssa’s story soon came to me. I researched mythological creatures, drew a map, and wrote down the names of some characters and places. I daydreamed often about the story, but I feared taking the plunge into writing a novel.

2. That first draft. When I got my full-time job, I found myself with time on my hands. So I thought once again about writing that novel—yeah, you know the one and how it has been rolling around in your mind for three years. I wrote the first chapter and promptly sent it off to my friend Christine and asked if I was crazy to try writing a novel. She said, “No. Keep writing.” So I did. At around a chapter a week, I wrote that first draft from January 15, 2009-September 15, 2009 and sent a chapter to Christine and to my sister Kara as I wrote them. They gave me the encouragement to keep writing.

3. Panic. OMG! I wrote a novel. A whole freakin’ novel! At 96,000 words, I didn’t know what to do with it, so I shelved it and moved on to other things.

4. Have you forgotten about us? Even as I went on to write three more novels, numerous short stories and flash fiction, and novella-length works, I couldn’t forget Reborn. The characters kept calling to me. I rewrote a bit here. Read a bit there. Daydreamed a lot about books two and three, but I hesitated to do any major edits.

5. Put the big girl panties on and rewrite. In Summer 2012, I decided I wanted to seriously finish a novel to publication, and I decided to work on Reborn. Although the novel was originally written in third person, I decided to go back and write it in first. For Part I, Yssa grows up in several leaps (just born, 5, 9, and 13), so I decided to move up the timeline to when she’s just getting ready to leave home for her grand adventures at age 16 and 364 days (yeah, almost 17). I read through the manuscript, cut 15,000 words in scenes, and rewrote the novel in first person in two spurts (November 2012 and April 2013).

6. Make an announcement. In May 2013, I announced I would publish Reborn in May 2014. I figured a year was enough time to edit and polish a manuscript. Plus, it would keep me on track to actually publish this thing.

7. I’d like some alpha readers, please. I sent the novel in parts to three critique partners. Dear Aubrie here critiqued Part I for me, and I had my friend Christine critique the complete novel as well as my friend Cher, who has worked as an editor for some publishing companies.

8. Editing time! For about three months or so, I edited Reborn based on their suggestions. These were some of the hardest edits I’ve had to do, which included cutting things and adding things.

9. Bring in the Betas! In December 2013, I sent Reborn to my two beta readers Staci and Cathy. I gave them a much tougher deadline than I’d hoped for, but they came through big time. During this time, I also did my own read-through of Reborn.

10. I suck, you suck, we all suck! I got my feedback returned, and it wasn’t all good and meant a lot more work. I pouted and hemmed and hawed. I wanted to take back my announcement last May and call the novel quits.

11. Suck it up and edit. I gave myself a week of pouting and dwelling on what I had to change. Then, I made the changes. I worked as hard as I could to get the final edit finished, and I actually liked the changes I made.

12. Proof my read! I sent my novel to my proofreader Nicole in February and waited anxiously to get her feedback. She liked the novel! Yay! I made the changes she suggested and sent it off to my early reviewers in mid-March.

13. I can read backwards. While I tried to ignore the butterflies flapping in my stomach that people were reading my book, I read Reborn from the last page to the first page to catch additional errors.

14. Kindle Time! As soon as I finished the backwards proofread, I formatted the book for my Kindle and read it on there.

15. You look so pretty in print! I also formatted Reborn for print and read through my print proof. Dude, how could I miss so much! Yes, I really do know the difference between “taunt” and “taut.” *sighs and hangs head in shame* But I’m really lovin’ this story. It’s golden.

16. Errors erased. As soon as I fixed all my changes, it was time to format and publish.

And there you have it! Reborn took eight years from idea to publication, and I learned a ton on the way. Now here’s hoping the next one takes an eighth of that time. *grins*

To save a kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.

On the day of Yssa’s death and rebirth, the god Apenth chose her as the Phoenix Prophetess.

Sea serpents and gods endanger the young prophetess’s journey and sour the omens. Yssa is cursed instead of blessed, and her duties at the Temple of Apenth prove it. She spends her days reading dusty scrolls, which does nothing to help her forget Tym, the boy back home. But the annoying yet gorgeous ferryman’s son Liam proves to be a distraction she can’t predict, even though he rarely leaves her alone for two sand grains.

Her boring temple life screeches to a halt when visions of her parents’ murders consume her. Yssa races across an ocean to stop the future. If she can’t change Fate, she’ll refuse to be the Phoenix Prophetess any longer. Fate, however, has other plans for her and the kingdom.

Yssa must either accept her destiny or fight to change Fate.

Available in Ebook and Print!

Click here to add on Goodreads.

The authors of Untethered Realms and I are giving away over $50 worth of books to one lucky winner. The giveaway is open internationally.

A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror collection Nightmare, a space fantasy novella collection titled Gravity, and the fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles and The Fate Challenges. Reborn is her debut novel. She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms. For more information, please visit her website.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sometimes rewriting those early stories is the way to go!

Cherie Reich said...

It really is, Alex!

Thank you so much for hosting me today, Aubrie!

Stephanie Faris said...

Sometimes an idea won't let go until we put it on the page. I think those are the best stories--the ones closest to our hearts.

Nicole said...

Thanks Cherie! Fascinating to hear about how Reborn came to be. I still love that cover - it's SO captivating.

Cher Green said...

Ha, how many of us can say this, "When I got my full-time job, I found myself with time on my hands." But let's thank the book gods for allowing Cherie to write her stories. This one, Reborn, is a great read. I'm sure there's much more to come. Keep at it, Cherie. :)

Nick Wilford said...

Congrats Cherie! Wow, a ton of work is behind this, but it's paid off big time. Reborn is great. Those characters just wouldn't let go!

Cherie Reich said...

I completely agree, Stephanie!

Thanks, Nicole! I do love my cover too and can't wait to see the covers for the rest of the series.

I'm grateful every day for the job I have, Cher. It may not pay the best, but it lets me write.

Thank you, Nick! It was a lot of work, but it was worth it in the end. The response for Reborn has been better than I ever could've imagined.

Carol Kilgore said...

I loved reading this story of how your novel was born. None of them are painless, but some are more painful than others.

Good for you for persevering.


Cherie Reich said...

That's so true, Carol! It wasn't easy publishing a novel, but I'm still hoping the next one will be easier. :)

bn100 said...

Nice cover

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you, bn100!