Mercy “Yeyet” Soriano started writing because she was traveling so much as part of her day job as an IT professional. “When you’re in airplanes, airports, hotel rooms, and you’re alone a lot, you have to entertain yourself. I do that by writing,” she says.
The Journey to Publishing
Yeyet started writing seriously in 2015 after she joined several writing workshops. This was the start of self-publishing becoming mainstream, with the possibility of self-publishing and workshops to teach you how to do it, helping her build the confidence to do it. “Given the tight deadlines, I was able to produce a 50,000-word book,” she shares.
She shares that she tries to write every day, even if it’s just for 15-30 minutes. She fits in what she can, given her limited available free time. She’s still old school – mostly writing her thoughts down in a notebook, though recently, she’s been using notes on her phone. “It’s a lot more efficient to transcribe now,” she notes.
She likes to plan her stories. She always starts knowing the direction she wants her stories to go and has an outline. “But sometimes, the story may take me in a different direction, surprising even me,” she laughs.
She never lets anyone organize her desk. “It may look messy, but there is organization there,” she asserts.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
“Of course, it energizes me,” she said. “I always say that I write because there are so many voices in my head, and I just have to write them down to still them. The writing controls me a bit. Like I get surprised at what gets written. And when I get surprised, then, of course, I’m energized.”
“Sometimes it’s also exhausting because there are times when you have deadlines,” she continued. “I’m a person that becomes most productive when I have a deadline.”
She points out that editing is also exhausting, but seeing the finished product makes it worth it.
“There were certain factors that had to be met for the submission to be accepted. It had to be dystopian, and it had to be about climate change and its impact.”
“It was the pandemic, and my husband became a plantito (amateur gardener, highly addicted to plants), which is what happened to a lot of people. He got into gardening, and he chose big plants I’d never heard of to care for. This became the inspiration for my story since I always saw the mini jungle we had in our garden. I decided to write something about plants, even using plant names for some of the characters,” she continues.
Then, she filled in some scientific information to round out the sci-fi aspect of the story. The result was the dome where the protagonists live.
It was nice to see elements of what is familiar, like the Araneta Coliseum and the National Library, integrated into the story in a way that made sense to me as a reader.
“Those were some of the things I hadn’t planned but just fit once I made some changes, like having the E drop, so they now call it Aranta instead of Araneta.”
Yeyet is working on her standalone book about 3 women turning 50. Something happens on their 50th birthday. One is a romance, the 2nd is a paranormal/fantasy adventure, and the third is more a crime fiction.
“People think that when you’re in your 50s, your life is like a plateau. Age is just a number, and people can start to have their adventure at 50,” she states.
Advice to aspiring authors
You’re already a writer the moment you start writing. Let the story flow.
Actively seek out opportunities. If you just wait for an opportunity, it will never come.
Find your tribe. It helps to have a community that encourages each other. You’ll meet other authors. It’s an investment in your future.
Know that you’re not writing alone – you need editors, beta readers, reviewers, etc.
Find a mentor like Kath (Kath Eustaquio Derla of PaperKat Books) if you want to get into writing and gain wisdom from people who have already been in the industry.
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