This blog was originally published on Danica’s website here:
The writing process for Persephone was complicated. I came up with the idea the summer Clash of the Titans came out, drafted the entire thing in my head during the movie (really, it was that bad), and went home and wrote a very rough first draft.
I was six months pregnant at the time. Pregnancy affects everyone differently, but for me, at a certain point, it made me feel like an idiot. For the first time ever my college classes resembled the classes I’d seen on television, where the professor asked students and answers would fly out of their mouths over my head. My brain just couldn’t keep up. Writing felt about the same way. I’d sit down to tinker with my rough draft and stare blankly at my computer screen before realizing all I really wanted to do was eat breadsticks from Olive Garden.
I was also finishing up my last semester of college, moving to Athens, and dealing with all the chaos that comes with pregnancy, graduation, and moving. So I shelved the idea for a few months, returning to it when my daughter was three months old. I fleshed out my rough draft, wrote a second draft from first person, and found a local writers group, and took the whole draft through writers group in five thousand word chunks every other week.
I can’t even begin to explain how much of a difference a good writers group makes. My writers group, rocks. We have a content editor from a small publishing house, a copy editor from the same house, several published writers, lots of writers with academic credit, and an incredible amount of talent. There are two members of this group that could sit down, half asleep, and type out a book that could be published and hit bookshelves across the country tomorrow.
I’m not jealous or anything.
With their help, I whipped my book into shape. The pacing had to be improved, subplots had to be expanded on, character motivation had to be clearer. There were a few changes they suggested that I resisted, and kept the same.
And they were the first things my editor had me change, so lesson learned.
My next draft was practically unrecognizable from the first. I took it through again, then had several friends that hadn’t spent the last year working on my story read through it. Finally it was ready for submission.
I sent my story to a few agents known to the group, and never heard back. I sent my book to TOR, and Belle Bridge. I never heard back from TOR but Belle Bridge rejected me because two popular young adult writers were apparently in the process of having books about Persephone published. Which is actually funny, because after I got my contract with Musa, I sent an arc to one of my favorite writers, and she said it was very similar to a book she and a group of well known young adult writers had worked on together, but ultimately decided not to publish.
My editor tells me that’s very common. An idea gets in the air between writers that have never communicated, and suddenly everyone in the writing community is working on the same story.
Obviously my story was accepted by Musa publishing. It went through two rounds of content editing, and then a round of copy editing. Now it’s out in the world and waiting for readers.
It was a lot of time, and a lot of work, but I’ve enjoyed every step in the process. I hope you all enjoy reading my book as much as I enjoyed writing it.