The last couple of weeks have taught me several things, nothing ventured, nothing gained. You only fail, if you give up. And the realization that I started writing because I loved the process of creating characters, and bringing a very visual story to me, to life, and that is the reason more than anything else to keep going.
True, the last month and half have made me seriously question if I want to carry on. I cannot deny that not getting the acceptance I was craving for, hasn't affected me, it has.
Although, I have to say that both publishers were very helpful in giving me in-depth critiques on what the story needed. Both publishers gave praise for my writing, descriptions and the characters. Both highlighted certain problematic areas.
1. The world building of Annwn...
2. Stating the goal, motivation and conflict right up front drawing the readers in sooner so that they know straight away what the problems are. Within the first 3 chapters!!! Need to re-write.
3. Clearing the dreams/ visions and the characters "thoughts" versus "speech." An element that both publishers picked up on...
Lot's to do. A mind boggling amount to do, but god willing I will do it.
However, lately, I'm really considering going the self-publishing route. I want your thoughts??? Your experiences, Good or Bad.
Mist was rolling off the grassy slopes on the hillside, and the purple and pink slashes in the sky stained the sandstone on the castle that abutted the cliff, a beautiful rose color. Mia stared at the majestic fortress as it stood guard over the sea, a foreboding site should anyone dare to enter Annwn from the water, and she shivered. The milky white sun peeped from behind the curtains of clouds that rolled passed, and she turned towards the sea. The sky was reflected like a mirror on the still water. Her heart beat slowly, and Mia took a deep breath in, capturing all that lay before her, soaking in the very essence and smells of her home Annwn, should it all be forgotten. It was dawn and the start of a new day.
A new beginning.
Annwn was a realm on earth, hidden from human eyes by magic. Its exact location was a highly guarded secret, but legend suggests that it lies by the coast in Wales; a land that was steeped in mysteries and folklore. Mia smiled recalling the tales of Arthur, and then sighed as she remembered the effect on the lives of her people. She stared out across the endless glossy water, and her hair danced wildly as the wind picked up speed.
“Are you ready?” Mia turned at the sound of his voice and gazed at Ryder. She accepted his outstretched hand and smiled. He was her heart, and the reason they both stood on the shores of their home ready to cast everything they had known aside. Her toes curled into the silky grains of white sand like an anchor, but she knew she had to let go and set sail.
“As ready as I’ll ever be.” A rough, calloused hand smoothed across her cheek and her eyes closed. To test the power of their love, they had agreed with the Wise elders to undergo a challenge as was the custom in their world. What greater challenge than to enter the human world where promises were broken every day and to live a life as a mortal with no knowledge of their magic or life in Annwn. A coldness rose inside Mia and locked inside her throat rendering her speechless. Her visions predicting the end of mankind further underlined the reason for them to venture into the unknown because the two realms were linked by a history, by blood and what was predicted for the humans was eerily repeated in the visions of the future for their enchanted world of Annwn. The roar of the ocean blasted in her ears. The fierce wind whipped around them and Emrys appeared, his face sober. The waves parted and staring out into the distance a land heralded and lights could be seen.
“It’s not too late to change your mind. We can look at another way to complete your challenge, but once you enter their world, there is no turning back. The spell will be cast from the moment we leave, and I cannot say how old you will be. The magic in this area is unpredictable. You may wake to find that you’re seven or thirteen years old. I will put in place whatever is needed, and lay a trail so that at the designated time having lived a life as a mortal, your memories will return. However, until such a time you will not remember any of this.
Mia glanced at Ryder and gripped his hand tighter, chewing on her lower lip. Her heart was churning and beating wildly. She gulped a lungful of the scents from the wild flowers nearby, and the saltiness of the ocean. A fragrance, she believed, she would recognize anywhere, because it conjured up the very essence of Ryder, and her home, Annwn.
“So we will be more human than guardian?”She let go of Ryder’s hand and grabbed his cotton shirt tugging him closer.
“Mia, you’ll always be you, but your magic will be suppressed. You need to experience life as a normal human, and overcome the challenges in their world. To take your magic with you and to know who you are would compromise the challenge. If you believe strongly enough in the power of your love for Ryder, you will find each other, and you will overcome the obstacles in your way to true love.”
A flapping of wings and a wail of ear-piercing squealing filled the skies. Mia clasped her hands over her nose and tears filled her eyes. It was Gerty and Jasper, Mia and Ryder’s pet serpents. The two pale green and leathery scaled creatures landed on the soft sand with a thump, their wings flapped and then settled, but their long, thick tails bashed against the ground. They furiously ducked and nodded their heads sky-wards squealing continuously.
“They don’t want us to go,” Mia said as she approached the gentle looking creatures who instantly began to make purring sounds and both dropped their heads to nudge against her waiting hand. Mia stroked first one, then the other; her hand massaged their soft scaly head in a soothing circular motion and the creatures batted against her palm in approval.
“They just want to play Mia. They have no understanding of what we are doing?” Just at that moment, a buzzing and whirring sound filled the air. Mia couldn't see Ryder as hundreds of swarming colorful fairies the size of butterflies surrounded her. Their voices all merging together to say one thing.
“Don’t go Mia. Don’t go.”
I think that for as long as I feel excited to be working on this story then I will continue to re-write, but my next course of action is less clear. Wish me luck.