“Find Me Where the Wild Things Are” – An Introduction

“What’s that?” is usually the question I get when I’m focused on highlighting and changing text on actual paper.

“Being able to live off of my writing,” is my typical answer to the “What is your dream job?” question.

“Hi Jessica — I loved this — it positively rocks and you are certainly a solid writer. What did you say your major was again? If it’s not “teaching” or “English” perhaps you might reconsider… :)” This was my college English teacher’s review for a segment of my book I had submitted for an assignment.

“Don’t get mad at me for saying this — I’m not trying to be mean, but when are you actually going to publish your book?” Blake asked once when we were driving somewhere.

Ever since I ditched the training wheels of writing Harry Potter fanfiction and progressed into new territory of creating my own characters and worlds back in my high school senior days, I’ve been working on one book and its sequel. The very first draft of the first book was completed in May 2007; the only reason I remember this is because I was sent into a turmoil with my first romantic breakup and threw myself into writing the book to distract myself. (I was very emotional: I started sobbing over ads featuring a couple hanging in Colorado Mills, where I was working at the time, weeks after the breakup.)

Every new person I have met throughout the years since May 2007 has learned that writing creative fiction is my passion. And eventually, like my longtime friends and family, they start to doubt that and probably think I am a fraud because my perfectionism hasn’t allowed me to publish anything.

Until now.

What they don’t know is that even though I haven’t published anything, I have been writing and editing ferociously within the four walls of my home(s) for the past eleven years. I used to dedicate twenty hours a week to my characters pre-Blake, and now it’s seven hour per week. (As Blake has asked before after asking if I’ve seen certain movies, “Did you live underneath a rock for ten years?”) I did not restrain myself as I got inspired and wrote new scenes, and the book turned into a monster. Seriously, last time I checked, its word count is longer than War and Peace. It may even be longer than the longest book ever, Men of Goodwill by Jules Romains, which has 2,070,000 words.

This being said, nowadays, no smart publisher would take a chance on printing the book. The amount of money it would take to make copies of the book may very well exceed any profits they could make from it. So, not a very good business plan. My grandma suggested that I split the book in half for the publishers, but I rejected that idea. The second part of the book is too connected in the flow of the first part of the story that making two books out of one story wouldn’t work. The second part can’t stand on its own; it must be with the first part.

Then I started to play around with the idea of self-publishing, but every time I got close to publishing, I went back to add to the monster. It was a vicious cycle of perfectionism, and sometimes, frustration got the best of me and I started on a new project. Yet, I could never leave my characters behind and returned to the book.

To finally circumvent the perfectionism, I have decided to take to blogging and publishing the book through weekly blog posts. I was inspired by Mark Twain, who I heard published chapters of his own stories in newspapers, and Diana Gabaldon, who wrote most of the beloved Outlander on a message board. I was inspired by the established bloggers who have been able to live off of the money their blogs produce and be location-independent. I’ve been chewing on this idea for a very long time and have decided to take a risk. This is the twenty-first century. Technology is abundant and changing the times. I’m willing to take a leap of faith and bring in a new method of monetized storytelling. This time is for the millennial entrepreneurs.

So, on November 28th, I will be publishing the prologue to my book, The Language of Falling Stars, on my blog:

http://www.jessleighs.com

 

Thereafter, I will continue to publish chapters weekly until the book is finished. At that time, I will create a hard copy that I can sell via Amazon. The idea of self-publishing has stuck with me. I get to make all of the decisions related to my book. Nobody else would be able to claim the rights to the book only to have the manuscript collect dust on some shelf.

I’m elated and relieved to finally share the final draft with you. I’m ending this eleven year craziness so I can move onto the rest of the series! If you are finding yourself liking the story as it progresses or just want to support me, please share on social media.

[The title of this post was taken from an Alessia Cara song.]

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