Storytime to when I submitted my first published book to the publisher.
I actually submitted Destiny Cheated Me to two publishers. I can no longer remember the first publisher I submitted it to. What I can remember was they had tons of comments about my manuscript. Even the first working title was unacceptable. Thankfully, the 2014 version of me wasn’t a severe procrastinator, and despite my extremely weak finger muscles because of myasthenia gravis, I edited the manuscript. I tried to clean every nook and cranny of that story and addressed all the comments the first publisher had.
But I never went back to them. I submitted the much cleaner version to Lifebooks.
I didn’t know where I pulled the confidence to hit Send on that email, expressing the desire for my story to be published. I didn’t think it was crap. I didn’t think I sucked. All I thought about was how much fun I had while I was writing that story. Louise and her friends were the barkada classmates I’d want to be in. They were the kind of friends I’d always wanted for myself.
Not very long ago, someone asked me how I do the actual writing. Do I have a routine? Do I have to isolate myself from society to formulate a premise? Do I need to brew sixteen cups of coffee to muster the level of creativity needed to come up with characters my readers could relate to? The answer is… no.
What I do is, I just… write.
Yes, for Destiny Cheated Me, I just started writing. I wrote the scenes in my head like I was describing a movie only a few people knew. I crafted the characters based on what I felt they looked like and what they would be doing if they were my friends in real life. Louise was smart and pretty and opinionated, Beau was charming and supportive, Nikki was the group’s mom figure, and Joan was the posh glam girl who’d do everyone’s makeup on an all-girls night out. For the guys, I wanted Jason to be smart and tall and extremely good-looking with his jet-black hair parted down the middle (90s kids could totally relate!), and Clay was almost the same except he didn’t exude the main character vibe. Talk about that second-lead syndrome. And Travis… he was that big brother who’d be prepared to crack the skull of just about anyone who’s mess with his siblings open.
Destiny Cheated Me was published by the end of that same year. I received the complimentary copies late afternoon on Christmas Eve, and that’s one of the most remarkable Christmases I’ve had.
It’s been 10 years since I toyed with the idea of writing a new adult romance, with characters that depicted undying friendships and men that made all things possible through their efforts and creativity. What would have happened if I didn’t heed Kim’s advice to send the manuscript?
So, yes. Just write. Then edit later.
And never hesitate to hit that Send button.