I started writing Florid Eyes: A Novel back in November because I was very unhappy with the direction a TV show was going. I said to myself, You know what? I can do better! I grabbed my computer and started writing. Just like that.
At the very beginning, I didn’t even have a plot in mind. All I knew was that I wanted my heroine to be strong and smart. Her life doesn’t evolve around the guy. She doesn’t have to look like a supermodel or a playmate. She has a life. She has hopes and dreams.
One chapter led to another. The more I wrote, the more I become obsessed with the story and started posting chapters on my own Facebook. Not many people cared to read it except a few friends. I didn’t care. I had so much fun write a vampire story that actually made sense, at least to me! Even though I had no intention of publishing it, I would use Google and Google Maps constantly to make sure I got my facts straight. I didn’t abuse the creative license because I couldn’t live with writing something that is just wrong.
Eventually many of my friends became aware that I was working insanely hard for this novel. One suggested, “Why don’t you make an app and put if on app store for people to download?” That’s how the idea of self publishing it sprang to my mind. I looked up what it took to self publish on Amazon and Kindle. It SOUNDED easy enough, so I decided to start a Facebook page for the book and began posting chapters on this blog. Even though it’s expensive and I probably will never make that money back, I hired an editor to make sure readers wouldn’t be turned off by stupid spelling and grammatical errors.
It wasn’t like Fifty Shades. I didn’t immediate get a huge following. I was more into polishing my work than marketing my work. I got suggestions and encouragements from a few good friends. I worked on the story whenever I had time. I synced all my iDevices, so I would edit my work when I was on the go. I wrote 4-6 hours a day. I rewrote my chapters every time I re-read them, to the point that I felt like I need to stop re-reading them otherwise I would never be able to finish.
I think I experienced the so-called writer’s block once or twice, particularly when I realized the climax was coming and I needed a really strong one. I couldn’t write anything for three days. I just edited old chapters while brainstorming for new ones. When I finally overcame it, I felt so relieved and was yet again so amazed and surprised by my own creativity. The ending scene was also another challenge. I loved the scene, but I wasn’t happy with the last two sentences. I felt like what I wrote couldn’t deliver the impact that I was looking for. I had rewritten it many times before I eventually sought help from a friend who also loved the story. He improvised two lines causally. I thought they were perfect. They capture the essence of the moment. I adopted them in a heartbeat. You’ll get to read them if you buy the book.
I know many people are biased about the fantasy/paranormal/vampire genre. My story is going to have some cliche elements that you’ll hate if you’re one of those. A human girl is going to fall in love with a vampire, but it doesn’t mean my story is a carbon copy of Twilight or other books with rose pedals against a dark backdrop out there. I want to inspire girls to be strong and smart. A vampire does not always prey on weak, broken girls. In fact, my vampire hero falls in love with the heroine because he’s impressed with her passion about life and wisdom. My novel isn’t Shakespeare. It probably isn’t even The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, but it doesn’t mean it has no purpose.