I wrote Take Back the Skies at the age of sixteen for NaNoWriMo, and not once during the act of writing it did I expect it to actually get published. I’d written original fiction a few times before, though at that time in my life the majority of my writing experience was in fanfiction, and most of the time when I finished a story of my own creation I didn’t like it. It didn’t read like the books on my shelves, wasn’t as detailed or magical or captivating. There were too many mistakes and plot holes and boring parts. As far as I saw it, I’d failed.
Take Back the Skies wasn’t that much different, except for the first time I saw the spark of what it could be, with a little work. The world had come alive in my head like nothing I’d ever written before, spinning itself into ideas for a whole series of stories. It wasn’t until I’d managed to secure myself an agent with it that I realised just how much work would be involved.
The amount of behind-the-scenes work involved in publishing is insane. Editing and re-editing and copyedits and line edits a dozen times over, and that’s before you even reach the marketing stage to start telling people about it. No author writes a perfect book in the first draft. But as a teenage writer just starting out, no one ever told me that. Luckily, I don’t have to do all that work alone. Having a publisher means having a whole team of editors and readers and people dedicated to making your book the best it can be.
One of the most comforting things I’ve found from becoming part of the author community is seeing people whose work I love and admire struggling through the same first-draft-issues I have, and later seeing them turn those drafts into the kind of incredible book I wish I had written. It’s hugely inspiring to see peoples’ success from the start of their journey, which is one of the reasons I love Twitter within the book community.
Everyone’s there ready to help each other out and commiserate with the struggles of writing, regardless of what stage in the publication journey you’re at.
Now at the age of 22, I’ve been in the world of publishing long enough to have three books out, and a bunch of incredible author friends there to cheer me on as I do it. I still get most of my writing done in bed in my pyjamas. I still think my first drafts are mostly trash. But at least now I know how to salvage that trash and turn it into something useable — all you need is a beginning, middle and end, and you can work on making it brilliant from there.
The latest book from Lucy, The City Bleeds Gold, published by Bloomsbury is out now!
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Lucy Saxon · Lucy Saxon
I’m the author of YA fantasy novel ‘Take Back the Skies’, and its sequel 'The Almost King', the start of a series of six novels set in the world of Tellus. The third book in the series, 'The City Bleeds Gold', is due out on March 9th 2017 I hope you enjoy finding more out about me and my writing, both on this website and on my social media sites!