The Next Big Thing – Birthmark

Firstly, I’d like to thank Victoria Corby for tagging me on The Next Big Thing.  She’s in the throes of writing French Twist, which sounds like my kind of story.  Check it out http://victoriacorby.wordpress.com.  I would say I’m a novice literary writer with a capital N.  I actually sat down last November to partake in the thing that I’ve said I wanted to do for some time now – writing a book.  NaNoWriMo, along with some pretty cool, experienced buddies, put me on the straight and narrow of starting to write my first book.  I was nervous and wasn’t sure I was doing things correctly, as if there is a correct way to write a book.  What NaNoWriMo did teach me was to be consistent about the quantity that I wrote each day, to persevere even when the story didn’t seem to be turning out exactly as planned, and above all to enjoy myself.

What is the working title of your next book?

The title of my book is called Birthmark.  In the beginning, I had put another title but quickly realised that my story had taken a slight turn, but for the better.  So this title works a lot better.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Well, I’ve always had a vague idea of writing a book which would take place in my hometown New Orleans.  New Orleans is a place with tremendous character, loads of culture, scrumptious food, and beautiful architecture.  I think any avid reader would enjoy reading a book which entails all of that.

What genre does your book fall under?

I guess my book would fall into the genre of contemporary fiction.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m not so sure about that just yet.  I don’t think I’ve captured the physique nor the complete personalities of my characters enough to answer that question.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Birthmark is a story which follows the ups and downs of an African-American family from the 1960s to the 1990s.  Sorry, I can’t say more than that.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Ultimately, I’d like my book to be published by an agency.  Personally, I have a problem with a lot of self-published books.  They often need a bit of editing and there’s nothing that annoys me more than reading through mistakes, poorly written passages, or scenarios that just aren’t plausible.  I want my book to be edited by professionals and of course given a beautiful cover.  I want my book to look just as good on the outside as it is in the inside.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I wouldn’t say my NaNoWriMo writing experience gave me a solid first draft.  It did give me an excellent corps 52,650 words in which I can mould into a real first draft hopefully this year.  I wrote it in three weeks which was amazing to me.  I was sure I’d have trouble getting to 50,000 words, but in the end I could have written a lot more.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I can’t actually think of any exact titles at the moment but it would be very similar to a family saga story but with a lot of upheaval, character growth, and a few other twists and turns.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I inspired myself to write this book.  I was tired of hearing myself constantly saying, “I should write a book.” or “I should put that in a book.”  I saw some booktubers on You Tube talking about gearing up for NaNoWriMo and something inside of me said go for it.  You’ve got loads of time on your hands and you have nothing to lose.  The weekend before November 1st I spent trying to figure out what exactly I was going to write about.  My husband helped by asking me questions which then led to me choosing character names and places I wanted to use in New Orleans.  I must admit he gave me that extra swift kick I needed to get started.  I jotted down some notes in an outline form so that I could somewhat get my story off to a good start and voilà.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well there are two story lines going on between two generations.  There’s some intrigue, confrontations, New Orleans culture, etc.  That’s all I can tell you for now.  I don’t want to ruin it for you.

To continue on The Next Big Thing tag, here are two other budding writers that I’d like to tag.

Carole Hill from Piglet in Portugal, http://pigletinportugal.com where she writes about living in Portugal.  She also writes about the challenges of living abroad and about her many hobbies (cooking, photography, etc.).  She too is a NaNoWriMo winner and on a mission to write a book and to get published.

Kimba Azore who writes the blog Fleur de Curl, http://fleurdecurl.com and is from my home state Louisiana.  Her blog details everything you want to know about natural hair, beauty, and fashion.  She even has a rubric featuring what she’s reading and writing.  What a poet she is!

Hope you enjoyed this post and will check out Piglet in Portugal and Fleur de Curl to read about their writing exploits.  I’d love to hear about what you think about self published books as opposed to professionally published ones below.

23 Replies to “The Next Big Thing – Birthmark”

  1. Hi didi, I feel honoured to be included – I’m def a novice writer 🙂
    On the topic of self -publishing I’ve never read an e-book so I can’t even imagine how they would look
    “I want my book to look just as good on the outside as it is in the inside.” This is so true.
    I already have the picture for the cover of my book in mind and I can see the characters. One question, if you’ve self-published can you also go on to ask an agency? This is all so new to me.

    I like the title of your book and the general synopsis – it’s different – and just the tyoe of book which would appeal to me. Good luck and hope it is well received by the publishers.

    1. I guess you could do a self published book and then get picked up by a publishing company. Look at good ol’ EL James. She went from writing erotic fan fiction on the net to a bestselling published trilogy. Anything is possible. Whatever you decide, just make sure some with an eye checks your book and edits it properly. IT’s really lousy to have a book published with incorrect word usage and spelling mistakes, etc. Not a good literary look if you know what I mean. Sounds as if you’re more advanced in your story than I am. Good luck to you! 🙂

      1. No, I’m about 70,000 words and the plot is still evolving.

        I’m not sure how you go about the whole editing process. I suppose there must be a list somewhere on the net…but I’ve heard some are absolutely useless. Anyway I’m someway off that as yet 🙂 but excellent advice

        In fact I’m not sure about publishing the whole book thing. I just fell into NaNo and it’s gone from there 🙂 ELJames I suppose was the exception? But in my view someone has to win the lottery 🙂

        1. I think the first thing is to complete the first draft and then reread and start to go through your story. I’m at the first draft part. I’m sure I have for another 20,000 – 30,000 words to get to it. Although I already have another idea for the next NaNoWriMo.

  2. I’m excited for you! I LOVE stories set in the southern US especially places where I have roots. I cannot wait for you get published so I can get my copy of Birthmark. I will start a creative writing course this month. February, will be my own personal novel writing month.

    1. I’m just at the beginning and still have a whole lotta work to do on it, but I’m confident I can make it work. I wish I could do a creative writing course. I’ve never done one. You very lucky and it’s going to be black history month. You can get inspired by the greats. Maybe your first draft will come out of this experience? Good luck to you! So would you want to be self published or professionally published?

      1. Professionally. I think years working in science has conditioned me to work to an established standard. I don’t believe that on my own I would be capable of delivering a quality product if it hasn’t been undergone rigorous and critical evaluation.

  3. This is so exciting to hear about your novel Deidre. Good luck with getting the draft in shape, might be helpful for you to join shewrites.com where there is a forum for first novelists and feedback etc, but you’re totally on the right track, just keep going!

    1. Thanks for all your help and advice. Will do for checking into she writes.com. Now that I’ve finished Cutting for Stone I can read my magazine Mslexia which came last Wednesday. Cutting for Stone was absolutely AMAZING!!! Wow! Why hasn’t anybody been talking about this book? At least I don’t remeber it being mentioned in 2010/2011. Review coming soon….

      1. I know what you mean, when our bookclub mentioned Cutting for Stone as their Jan 2012 read, I had never heard of it either, but could tell by the blurb I wanted to read it straight away. I love it when writers reach back to their country and culture of birth whilst having a perspective having lived elsewhere. Verghese is incredibly talented, so glad you read it, I knew you would!
        And come to think of it, you fit that description too, writing of New Orleans 🙂 AND you have Mslexia – great! Enjoy, perfect for a Sunday 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Writing was my big discovery of 2012. I hope to be able to make this novel interesting, but at the same time show some of that New Orleans culture. A author that I admire is Joanne Harris because of the way she writes a story and adds food to it. Remarkable! Thanks again for coming over from The Daily Post!

      1. Just wondering, do you mean “food” in the literal sense or in the food as substance sense? Either way I love reading that takes me to another time or place. Have just finished Winter’s Bone and really enjoyed it.

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