Even if I've been having downs and depressive episodes lately, my life isn't all that bad. I'm not miserable all the time. There are a few things that put a smile on my face. One of them is having my novel, The Stranger I Met, published online as a serialized piece.
Writing a book has been a childhood dream of mine. I love reading fiction--novels especially--and I dream of writing one in the future. In the future. Then, years went by, and I still haven't started with my novel. Now is the future.
Around November last year, Before I Do author Kath Eustaquio-Derla added me up on Facebook and sent me a copy of her book. Then, she announced You Are Invited 2017, a writing and mentoring program wherein the participants would write a novel, which would be spin-offs of Before I Do. I signed up for it, took Kath's test, and then got accepted into the program.
I've never written fiction, except for the short stories I wrote back in high school for my creative writing class. I didn't know how to begin. Kath taught us how to write the synopsis and how to make an outline. With an outline, we wouldn't have to worry about how to finish our story because we would already have an ending right from the start. So in between working, finding a new job, going to my regular psychiatric treatments, shopping for Christmas gifts, and spending time with my family during the holidays, I started writing my novel.
I was nervous. When I was writing it, I was just following my instincts. How would my character feel? How would I feel? What would my character do? What would I do? I put myself in my story so my main character would be human--someone who is strong but can still be vulnerable, someone who can be angry but can still be soft inside, someone who bends but can also break any time. My character is not perfect, just like a real human being.
When Kath gave me back my draft with her comments, I was scared of opening the file. I browsed through the entire file first so I would have an idea of the number of comments she wrote on my draft. I was really scared. What if she didn't like my work? What if she thought it was cliche? What if she thought it wasn't any good? After my nerves had calmed down, I read the comments one by one. They weren't so bad, I told myself. In fact, her comments were a mix of both good and bad--all geared toward making my novel an exciting read.
Three weeks ago, the first chapter was published on the PaperKat. I couldn't be more thrilled. This is my dream, I told myself.
Later today, The Stranger I Met's Chapter 10 will be published on Kath's website. This will be the last chapter that will be available online. Soon, a printed copy of The Stranger I Met will be available.
Working on the printed book entails another set of challenges. But I am prepared to give it my all. I have gone this far. I am already at the homestretch of fulfilling my dream. Soon, on my hands will be a hard copy of The Stranger I Met, literally hot from the press. I can't wait.