Third, Second, Debut Novel
As a Doctor Who fan, I’m quite familiar with pedantic controversies over numbering conventions – this, however, is really simple.
I wrote my first ‘novel’ in Junior High, though calling it a novel is overly generous. It was a string of incidents, one after another without a coherent plot, but filled with plenty of two-dimensional characters. Like a (bad) Saturday morning serial.
I’d always loved to read, but I learned that I didn’t know a thing about the craft of storytelling. So I tossed my ‘novel’ and started subscribing to Writer’s Digest, and reading books about writing and taking creative writing classes. I wrote short stories (and even, please forgive me, some science fiction poetry.) I kept studying the craft and writing through college.
I wrote my second novel after I graduated college, trying to use all I’d learned in the interim. Eventually I finished it (and there’s a great sense of accomplishment in just finishing a novel – and this was a proper one.) And I learned a lot about writing, and about how I write in the process, through that experience.
I went the traditional route of submitting my book to different publishers, only to keep getting rejected. Which is fine, because even when I was sending it out, I knew it wasn’t that great.
It wasn’t that bad either. It had a proper plot with a sound structure to the narrative, and I believe I did a good job with my main character and writing an interesting arc for him. But some of the other characters were still kind of flat, and while the story might have been somewhat interesting, it just wasn’t good enough.
Now I’ve written another novel. One using the lessons I’ve learned, both from my previous writing and from my greater experience of life. One with a stronger premise that’s kept me excited through the writing and re-writing. One with characters who immediately took on lives of their own, and some characters who created themselves as I wrote. One that I believe is good enough to publish.
And my next series of posts will describe all the reasons why I’ve decided to do that myself.