The Making of Jake – pt2

Posted by on January 6, 2010 at 9:23 am.

The evolution of Jake.

Sometimes it takes more than just an idea.

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell warns us that to be truly good at anything we have to invest at least 10,000 hours into the study and practice of it. I agree.

For example, even though I enjoyed going to the pool every weekend for swimming lessons, I didn’t really put my heart into it. I became ‘good-enough’ and earned my Bronze Cross instead of winning a gold medal. I taught others to swim across the finish line instead of doing it myself.

Writing is entirely different, if I have a passion, this is it.

I’ve put in 10,000 hours several times over. Am I any good yet? You’ll have to be the judge but writing has been my sanity saver.

So, you roll your eyes what has this got to do with Jake? Well, Jake has been my obsession for almost two decades. He’s been responsible for at least four re-writes and umpteen million attempts.

Jake started off as a short story back when I was in university. Originally, he was haunting an old cabin close to the wharf. I wrote that same story over and over again. Each time it grew longer and had a better ending. By the time I was in my late twenties, Jake’s story was almost thirty pages long.

Then a crisis struck.

The big boss was threatening to close down our department. My supervisor told my co-workers and I that he didn’t care what we did, just to look busy. Over the next two weeks Jake’s story blossomed into a 141 page hand-written novel. Back then, in 1995, I didn’t have a computer at home. After my night shift, I’d stay late at the business centre where I worked, typing in every page, tweaking it here and editing it there. A few months later, my manuscript was in a box and enroute to Harlequin.

As anyone who has ever submitted anything to a publisher knows the wait is excruciating. Jake was rejected, but with a lovely note from the editor with suggestions on how to fix it. Unfortunately, buy the time it came, my personal life was in an upheaval. Jake got shoved to the back of the shelf, relegated to ‘someday’.

Someday took a few years, but when it came, it didn’t waste any time. Within months, there wasn’t just one version of Jake’s story, there were two. Jake’s story was re-written as a young adult novel. If I had to guess, I’ve spent over 10,000 hours on Jake alone. I’ve since written three more full length novels and several short stories.

To read the story I’ve made such a fuss is go to PaperBox Books click through to the version of Jake you’re interested in and download a sample. If you like what you read buy the book 🙂 (or if you’re curious to see the difference, buy the dual version, both versions together, for a discount)

Read Part 3 of the Making of Jake

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