Tuesday, September 08, 2015

#StrangeLit: Finally Letting My Mermaid Swim Free

#StrangeLit class pic (Sept. 5, 2015)
#StrangeLit is an online writing workshop facilitated by Bronze Age Media (read more about it here), conducted by bestselling author, Mina V. Esguerra (with the help of fantasy author gurus like Budjette Tan, Paolo Chikiamco, and Kate Evangelista), and sponsored by buqo, that culminated last September 5. I'm so glad I joined! My manuscript, The Mermaid from Siquijor (a whopping 28,000 words. It's a novella, ladies and gentlemen!) has been submitted and ready to be distributed. Yay!

Last Saturday, Mina asked us to share what we did right and what we did wrong. So, I just wanted to share what those were for me.

What I did wrong

I was in a rush and I sacrificed a lot of sleep. If you ask me, I wouldn't take back those hours of writing, anyway. The sacrifice of sleep was worth it. I should have paced myself better. I'm now back to regular programming (until #HeistClub starts...That's another story).

I didn't give my beta readers enough time to read my manuscript. I'm so grateful to those who agreed to beta read despite the condition of next-day feedback. I also didn't give myself enough time to mull over the edits that would address the feedback of my beta readers. I just wrote them in as soon as I got the comments.

I had 5 weeks. And the expectation was 5,000 words. I over-delivered, yes, but I also crammed a lot. When I found out that someone wrote 60,000 words (a full novel!), I realized, though, that there are really no excuses. I have to live with the amount of time that I dedicated to the workshop.

What I did right

I signed up for #StrangeLit. This story has been brewing in my mind for three years already. In fact, I've released a free flash fiction version (what became the prologue in my novella) online and it's one of my most popular downloads. If this class didn't come up, I wouldn't have given myself a deadline. That's what I love about Mina's workshops, it makes me accountable to someone other than myself.

My outline saved me. If I didn't have an outline to keep me going I wouldn't have finished.

My research was complete. I did it three years ago!

Freeing the mermaid

All in all, I'm just glad that my mermaid isn't swimming in my head anymore. I love Siquijor and I realized that if there's any one place in the Philippines where mermaids would hang out, it would probably be there. I'm excited to release my story! I'm also excited to read what my fellow classmates wrote.

Here's the blurb for my story as well as the tentative cover art.

The Mermaid from Siquijor

Tentative cover art. What do you think?

Lorie Cenas gets invited to go on a diving trip to Siquijor, an island famed for its connection to the supernatural, to heal from a broken heart. She accepts but her friend doesn’t know that Lorie has a secret: she already has a deep connection to the island, the place where her mother died a long time ago.

There, she meets Marceau Egasse, a French diver and marine ecologist, who is passionate about the ocean but skeptical about the island’s mystic powers; and Elena, a mysterious island woman, who has secrets of her own.

Elena wants something from Lorie that she is not willing to give up.  Will Lorie heal wounds from her past in Siquijor? Will she find love and a kindred spirit? Or is the island a maelstrom that will consume her, just like it did her mother?

What's next? Well, there's #HeistClub!  Research the hash tag and find out more about it.

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