Writing “Swallow Me, NOW!”

Chapter Book Challenge 2013

Back in 2012, I joined the first Chapter Book Challenge, and have been an active participant ever since. The first draft for Swallow Me, NOW! was written during the 2013 challenge, with the working title of Sam’s Solution.

I’m not entirely sure where the idea for Sam came from, but it was something that just flew. Using the site 750words.com, most of the draft came together during my lunch break, one chapter a day for 2 weeks. The first draft was around 10,000 words and it was very rough, but it had good bones.

The manuscript sat there for a while as I moved on to other projects, before finally being dusted off and edited by me. The next step was a manuscript assessment by the team at Book Cover Cafe. They provided some invaluable feedback. Most of it I agreed with and set to work with further rounds of edits.

Earlier this year, I sent the manuscript to Julieann Wallace from Lilly Pilly Press for editing. At that stage, I had no idea about publishing it, I just knew it needed work before I could even consider publishing. She did an amazing job. Again, the majority of her suggestions I agreed with. Any that I didn’t, I found myself explaining, both to myself and to her. This process not only increased the word count of the book, but also made the story much stronger, fleshing out many of the bones from the original draft.

In the last couple of months, the book has been edited and also headed off around Australia to beta readers. These were mostly people who didn’t know me, so they gave an unbiased opinion of the book.

There were some interesting things that were picked up – such as different names for portable classrooms – and some fantastic suggestions for a title. Though the favourite scene seemed to be unanimous (I won’t share it here & give away a key scene in the story). There were also some great comments from the kids about what they liked and didn’t like about the story.

These comments sent us back to editing to incorporate some some of their comments, including adding in a whole new scene. Again, the story came out stronger because of it all.

This brings us to now.

In posts coming up, I’ll share a bit more about the “real” Sam and some of the scenes in the book, as well as looking at the artwork and editing process.

If you would like to be one of the first to get a copy of Swallow Me, NOW!, support my crowdfunding campaign.

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