There is no right or wrong way to write a book dedication. It’s extremely personal, so who is chosen, how that person is addressed, and what is actually said can be done in any number of ways.
So far, I’ve dedicated my first book to the friends who inspired me to write, my second book to my favourite authors who inspired me to be a writer, and my third book to my beta readers.
I’ve kept the brushstrokes broad because there are many people who contributed to my creatives process and works. I get more specific in the acknowledgements page if I feel certain people or references need to be mentioned.
I chose my friends because they are the ones I started telling stories for, who I first started writing stories for, and who have been my biggest supporters along the journey to being published. I chose favourite authors because if I had not been so engulfed in other people’s imaginative worlds and characters, I would not have been inspired to create my own. And if not for my beta readers helping me with valuable feedback on the nitty-gritty of cleaning up the scripts, I probably would have quit long ago, thinking no one else cared.
And while it’s fine to write a dedication that simply says, “For Mom,” I prefer to say why I appreciate those who lift me up enough to help me believe I can do this. If not for these people, I would not have made it this far, so I recognize that any success I have in the realm of writing stems from them and is priceless to me.
In trying to think of the dedication for The Atheling, however, I drew a blank. I couldn’t think of any other people who have contributed as much or more than those already mentioned … until today. I have been running some long, long hours over the past month and a half to try to finish this book on schedule. And in spite of my midnight oil efforts, I’m still going to be late. It’s very discouraging, and has left me mentally exhausted. Sometimes I had to force myself to take a 20 minute nap. (I don’t normally nap because I feel like I’m wasting valuable time.) Sometimes I grabbed coffee or a snack to wake up. Sometimes I stumbled away from the computer to do light chores and make myself move. But the majority of my “wake-up calls” have come in the form of music.
My playlist has grown quite a bit over the past several days because of a handful of earworms that helped me stay awake and added atmosphere to the scenes I’m correcting. The role that music plays in the process of writing is a topic for another blog, but while I was half-asleep, trying so desperately to wake up enough to work through lunch I realized if those musicians were present in my office right now, I’d be at their feet and begging them to sing one more song to get through the next round of edits.
Just like with my favourite authors, I don’t personally know any of my favourite musicians. But I’m thankful all the same for their voices and tunes, which lifted me up and inspired me to keep going. My playlist for this book has been half Japanese and half Korean, but I’m writing in English. Occasionally, that means I see words like “you”, but hear words like “kimi” if I’m singing while typing, so I have to be extra careful that doesn’t distract me from catching errors in edits. But for the most part the challenge of working with multiple languages is part of what wakes me up between editing scenes. These cultures and languages inspire my content in the first place, so it makes sense that they would form part of the soundtrack, as well.
Music from Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faeroe Islands, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, and France have also contributed greatly to the Elf Gate series soundtracks in my head. Without my musical muses, I think I would have given in to fatigue and discouragement. I think I would be writing very different stories. So, since I can’t give my favourite musicians hugs of gratitude, a dedication in my fourth book will have to do.