What I learned from You Could Be the One
This is a long overdue post about You Could Be the One, my latest book, released a little over three weeks ago. Life and feelings happened, and if you follow #romanceclass on Twitter, you know what I mean.
But yeah, my latest book, a friends-to-lovers short story collection, is out now!
I talked about the backstory why this book came to life in the cover reveal post, so today I’ll just talk about some important lessons I learned with this book, the one that has the shortest production time (so far).
Okay, so maybe I cheated, because It’s a Match was already out, so there wasn’t much change in that one. But every time I think it should be easier writing (because this is my favorite trope, and I know these characters), I get sucker punched and I realize that no, of course it’s not easy. I hate everything I wrote; will people even like this? Maybe I shouldn’t publish, la la la blah, blah, blah.
But we’re here, and here are three lessons I learned in writing and publishing You Could be the One:
1. Don’t over think things. Especially when you’re writing YA.
I knew this, but sometimes I forget. And let’s admit it – as writers, we often over think what we write. But because I was working on a deadline, I had to push myself to write and not think too much. Since they are short stories, anyway, I knew I didn’t have much time to explain, so I tried to keep it as simple as possible.
But God, let me tell you about Bottleneck, the second story. That was difficult. It was from my #buqoYA piece that I never got to finish, and I was just supposed to pick it back up again, with a Narnia-themed debut, a torpe guy who will allow his friends to help him by “engineering” some chemistry. It all sounded so good in my head but it kept on flopping when I wrote it. I had first person, third person, alternating POVs, but nothing really worked for me. Until the commute story came, and I was all, yay finally. Then I ran into things again and ugh, I really thought I wouldn’t be able to do this until I realized my problem: I was trying to solve their problems as an adult when they were just teens.
So the lesson is, when writing YA, it’s even more important not to over think — as an adult. Things don’t always have to make sense and yes, they are allowed to fall in love without ever really explaining why they are in love with this person. I think I was projecting my own (boring) teenage years to them, that’s why I was being all tita to them while writing. ^^;
2. If it doesn’t work, just scrap it.
I really, really wanted to have this fourth story in the collection because the more, the merrier, right? And I really, really wanted to put Isaac and Rebekah’s story in because it was a different kind of friends-to-lovers story.
But it was just as stubborn as Bottleneck, and 1.5 chapters away from the end, I realized that I didn’t know how to end it without being…I dunno, a mood-ruiner for the entire book. I could just be over thinking things – this one had a lot of angst, and who doesn’t like that, right? But I wasn’t feeling confident about it, and I was running out of time…
…so two days before my personal deadline, I decided not to put it in.
It was hard, and I thought about it several times but more on the perspective of producing the book, and making the page numbers worth it (i.e. what if the book’s too thin), but in the end I told myself that I didn’t feel like risking this story when I wasn’t even 50% confident of it.
I remember one #romanceclass meet up years ago where we talked about making “executive decisions” for your book especially during the beta reading/editing stage – like are you really going to accept what your editor said, or will you listen to what your beta-reader told you when you don’t feel like the suggestion is best for your story. The experience with this story reminded me of that and as an indie author, we can make these kinds of decisions. Even if sometimes you doubt if the decision was right.
Will this story ever make it out? I don’t know. Maybe when I find the ending to it. 🙂
3. Having real people on the cover is really cute.
I love all my covers equally, but having real people on the cover – people you know (sort of) – is actually very thrilling. I’m very happy we have #romanceclasscovers now, because at least there’s a place to get stock photos where I know the characters would sort of resemble the one in the story. Plus they’re cute! So now I want to have ~variant~ covers for the all of them. (Maybe I will.)
So what’s next?
I am honestly torn between writing Ruth and Ian’s story (from Fake It Till We Make It) and Meah’s story because after #AprilFeelsDay2017, I feel like people are holding me accountable? But there’s a line, you guys, so be patient, please? I promise to try to write faster this time because feelings. I mean:
(I just really need an excuse to post that. Heehee)
You Could Be the One is available on Amazon (free to read if you have Kindle Unlimited)! PH Print edition available here, and international print edition here. ♥