Happy to say that I finished polishing Mesh a couple of days early. As a result, heart in mouth, I sent it to my best-selling author friend. I heard back from her a few hours ago:
I took the title of this post from a Jack Kerouac quote. He’s absolutely right, sometimes only a song can really explain how you really feel. I’ve spent my life searching for that truth, and writing Mesh is part of that journey.
With that in mind, I started thinking about music and how it’s an integral part of this novel. People should be able to hear what I listen to when I write, or use music to take them into the universe of Mesh. That took me onto the Internet to research how I could share music with other people and of course, Spotify.
So … I’m happy to announce the following new page which you can access below, or via the widget page (->). I’ll be adding and updating this page over time, as we discover new areas of Mesh and music that helps make it live and breathe.
In the meantime, Mesh feedback is still floating in. Can’t wait to see what you think of it! 🙂
It’s Friday. We made it. Enjoy!
Fun fact: You can type the phrase ‘beta readers’ only using your left hand. These are the things you learn, slamming to a stop after months of writing, fretting, honing, and polishing your very own novel. Last Friday, I turned Mesh over to my beta readers and stood back to let them read, review, comment, and suggest. I’m already learning some valuable points about Mesh that I would never have seen on my own.
So yes, Jackson uses beta readers when he writes. Not every writer does, but I do. Let’s take a moment to discuss beta readers, so that if you write, or if you want to be a Beta Reader, you’ll have a sense of what is involved.
A concise discussion on the topic is provided at the link above (Thank you, NYbookeditors.com). Books need beta readers like software needs beta testers. Nothing sucks worse than trying to get a book published only to hear crickets from agents, publishers and the general public. Beta readers will tell you if you suck, where you suck, why you suck, and how to suck less.
Remember, you will suck before you succeed.
Do you want to be a beta reader? I promise you, there’s some effort involved. Some readers are great at pointing out plot inconsistencies, while others focus on spelling and grammar. In any case, it’s almost like doing a book report. You won’t enjoy it, unless you like what you’re reading.
That’s why I’m profoundly grateful, having found some readers that are willing to help me. It’s not easy to do what they’re doing, but it’s absolutely necessary in the process of writing things people want to read.
Thanks folks! 😀
Posted this update on Instagram first, but I’m saying it here, too: Mesh is finished, the new draft is complete. After two years and 91K words, I’m happy to say that my YA scifi novel is finally done.
Eighteen months ago, I started out to tell a story with fun premise:
“My name is Roman Diaz. One day I was a nerdy kid. The next day I’m on the run. Everyone thinks I’m a terrorist. I just wanted an ‘A’ on my science project.”
Fourteen-year-old Roman is on the fast track to nowhere, as a wheelchair-bound nerd in a dead-end school. A prestigious technical academy offers him and his geeky best-friend Zeke a way out. How can they say no?
Miramar Technical High isn’t just another magnet school: it’s an incubator for the next Elon Musk and Albert Einstein. Their new principal, Doctor Gray, has created a strange community of geeks, gamers and geniuses. Roman and Zeke are addicted to the weird, techno-anarchy of a campus filled with tough, smart kids. Pranks, hacks, and androids are only the beginning.
The stakes for success are high: Roman and Zeke join the Snow Foxes, the top talent at Miramar, to build a tool that will not only win first prize at the Titan Conference, but will also change the world. Everything changes when they learn the truth about Project November, and their techno-god principal. Friends become enemies. Truths becomes lies. Rockstar students are criminals … that’s what it says on TV, anyway.
Roman is now the most hunted kid in America. What is he going to do? Miramar created a secret weapon that the bad guys didn’t count on: The Mesh. It’s a secret project, something nobody cared about. Is it really the only thing standing between the forces of good and evil?
MESH is the first novel in a science fiction YA series that will appeal to readers of Ernie Cline’s READY PLAYER ONE and binge-watchers of STRANGER THINGS.
I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to do what I started out to accomplish. Now Mesh, with a few bumps and thumps, will be in the hands of my Beta Readers. After that, I plan to send it off for sale to some professionals in the print business.
With the success of Mesh will come my contribution back to the scifi genre I’ve been living, loving, and learning since I was a child. Science fiction is truly growing and changing, and I want to be a part of that growth and change.
Taking a couple of hours to rest, and celebrate. One part of the job is over, now the next part (editing and polishing) is about to begin.
I’m about five or six thousand words away from being done with Mesh. As the clock winds down, as my beta readers come in with happy words or notes, my anxiety is going up. I want to talk about something that’s been hanging in the back of my head since I started this crazy project. What scares me the most is the attention I might get.
Don’t get me wrong. I want to write, I want to share my work, but I’m terrified of attention. The world is full of freaky social media horror stories, doxxes, hoaxes and pranks. You can be the nicest person in the world, and creeps will still accuse you of horrible behavior just for the attention.
My story is more complex than Tom Hanks’ of course, but that’s my point. It took me years to understand that I attract the attention of damaged people. Broken people. Birds of a feather flock together, right? 😉 Doesn’t matter that we don’t want to be broken. Doesn’t matter that we’re tired of the drama, irrationality, and stress. We’re citizens of London Below, and there’s no going back.
I don’t perceive an answer to any of this right now. My hope is that by correctly articulating the problem that the solution will be easier to find. Dear readers, please understand that if we lose cabin pressure, this blog post can be used as a flotation device. Remain calm, stay seated with your seat buckle fastened until told to evacuate by a uniformed crew member.
Imagining the way the world was once supposed to be …
Taking a moment out of the writing schedule to discuss something interesting that happened this week. Two things, actually. Both of them together bear out my prediction that science fiction itself is growing and changing into something more suitable for the universe in 2019.
Step one was this tweet courtesy John Scalzi:
Good morning! Your reminder that arguably the current best-selling science fiction series written by a single person is written by someone who isn’t thought to write science fiction, to an audience that isn’t thought to read it:https://t.co/Zl867PYk6y
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) May 14, 2019
Before you can say ‘Yeah, but Scalzi’s gonna Scalzi,’ look at the next piece of data – the ‘Not All Men’ episode of ‘The Twilight Zone.’ Jordan Peele picks up where Rod Serling left off by producing thoughtful, one-hour meditations on the darker side of human culture. In his case, he skewers toxic masculinity with a laser-sharp focus, reminding all of us that what we do is what defines us.
More clearly than ever, science fiction is no longer in the hands of fanboys and toxic tribalism. History will not be kind to the broken, hateful dweebs that use gatekeeping and bad-faith arguments to chase people away from science fiction. They don’t own sci-fi, they never did, and it was only a matter of time until we figured that out.
So I’m hoping that Mesh can be a happy part of that bright future. It’s never easy, taking the first step. I just think it’s important, and I hope one day we’ll all meet there together.