Teen/YA Novel In Final Edits

Hello Readers! I hope your new year is going well so far!

Well, I’d hoped to have this novel released by the end of last year. However, feedback from beta readers and Life prevented that. Mostly Life. Not only did I fall and break my left ankle and told to put no weight on it for eight weeks, but my laptop died, and it didn’t get fixed until my ankle was healed.

Yeah . . . very discouraging. I do not do well composing from the phone or tablet. Although the tablet is better.

In any case, the edits are going well, and so is the cover and title change. I was going to title it, as you might know, Devynn’s Dilemma. However, my readers and my cover design critiquers had some issues with the story and covers.

As far as the cover went, many dissed using real people on covers. They wanted to be able to visualize the character the way they wanted to see her. Plus, they felt the image of my Devynn model looked too young.

Now when I was a senior ( aged seventeen) in high school, I was told the reason the boy I liked wouldn’t date me was because I looked twelve. So, I didn’t have a problem with my model looking younger than fourteen. And some wanted to know what Devynn’s dilemma was, and although I thought the cover showed that fact with the two boys she liked and her mom in the background looking on with disapproval, they didn’t get it. So, I decided to change the focus to the two diaries. Hers and her mother’s. And I was thrilled when many liked it and said they’d pick up the book to check it out with this new cover.

Some wanted me to drop the series title or change it as it implies a Sci fi or fantasy theme. But one person loves it and gets the reason I chose it. So, I’m keeping it. I’m thrilled to have even one ally!

Here’s the new cover:

The issues with the story were mainly the names I chose for Devynn’s mom and aunt, and the spelling of Devynn’s name. I learned that some readers will stop reading a book if they aren’t happy with the names, and if the characters act differently than what they believe a girl this age would act in a given situation, they stopped reading.

As though every girl in every country in the world would act in exactly the same way in every situation. Really??? I don’t think so. So, those things, I am not planning to change.

Devynn isn’t every girl, and it isn’t just because she lives in the USA. I realize that many girls, in any country, being bullied by boys would have crying fits and throw things and whatever. I never did, and neither does Devynn. Looking for a place to hide or faking illness and going home for the day . . . or week, yes. I did that all the time. Sure, my feelings were hurt. It just wasn’t my thing to go into deep depressions and crying jags over it.

Sometimes, I got revenge. Sometimes, a sympathetic friend or sibling got it for me if they were incensed by how I’d been treated. Occasionally, a teacher put herself /himself out to defend me. But never to the extent that some go out for Devynn.

I realize most authors write to please the reader. And I hope my stories will please readers, but to expect me to write to a formula where girls always scream and cry over things . . . ain’t happening. Sometimes, maybe, but not always.

One person felt that spelling Devynn as I do was stupid. No need for two Ns. I’m not a celebrity, so I shouldn’t be choosing to name my characters with odd or exotic names. Hmmm . . . didn’t know we had to be famous to want to use unique names! Well, you know I’m paying no attention to that, and Devynn is staying Devynn.

I did modify Devynn’s mom’s name. Was X’Laena, but now it’s X’Leyna. Long A sound there. Had the mistaken thought that ae was pronounced as long A. I was wrong, wrong, wrong! So I changed it. Plus no one wanted to try to figure out how to say it. However, in sci fi and fantasy, they’ll let odd exotic names pass and finish the book.

The apostrophe means you sort of slur those first two letters together. I left that apostrophe in there, because I just couldn’t live with it spelled out as XaLeyna or XaLayna. Nor was I happy with it spelled XLeyna.

Her sister’s name is X’Lohna. Not hard to figure out when you rhyme it with Johna. Although the Johna I knew spelled it Johnna. Named for her father who ended up with four daughters.

Their mother is a fantasy author who had used these names in her novels and then bestowed them upon her daughters later.

There are other things I’m planning to change when I get that far. Most of those are my own decision. In any case, I’m hoping to release sometime between February and April. If all goes well, it’ll be sooner. I can’t wait! And I can’t wait to get started on the next one!

Hope you’ll visit again to find out how my progress is going!

Are you an author too? Do you use beta readers? How has your experience been using them? Do you write for readers, or for yourself, or a combination?

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