Editing, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Revision, Writing

Going back to move forward

As odd as it may sound, my next step forward will be a step backward. With the preparations for the holidays ahead, I know I won’t have much time for writing, but I’ll have time for reading and thinking. Luckily, that’s exactly what I need right now.

I’ve decided to make my first novel fit for reader consumption. I completed it ten years ago, put it away, and haven’t read it since. I scanned through it a few months ago, and even cleaned up the first chapter for submission to my critique group, but I haven’t read the synopsis or even the scene list/outline because I want to read the manuscript with fresh eyes.

I know the book is not horrible, but I don’t know how much work it will take to revise it for publication. This novel started as a paranormal romance, but about a third of the way through, I discovered it didn’t follow the prescribed formula for category Romance, and I scrapped that idea. Obviously, I was not a reader of Romance novels, paranormal or otherwise. What I read at that time was a lot of Stephen King, so …

In the last few months, my writing career has slipped into a sort of depression. It’s time to shake things up. I have other ideas, some plans. I’m not psychic, I can’t say what will work, what won’t, but I’m excited about the possibilities.

Your turn: How’s your writing career moving? Do you ever feel a need to shake things up?

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Fiction, Novel, Query, Writing

First novel, love it or leave it?

I realize most of you who read this blog have never published a novel, but I’m going to ask for your opinion anyway. Often I’ve read the admonition you shouldn’t attempt to sell your first novel. I saw someone question why on Twitter just yesterday. If anyone answered, I didn’t see those tweets.

Of course, we all know there are exceptions to every rule. There are prodigies in every field. If you were one of those, you would be too busy with your career to be reading this blog. So, how do the rest of us know when this “first novel rule” applies?

Obviously, if you were ten years old when you last wrote anything longer than a shopping list, the chances are exceedingly slim that your first novel will be of publishable quality. And if your first novel was written during NaNoWriMo and you query it on December 1st, don’t be surprised when agents fail to fight for the privilege of representing you.

Is the real thought behind the rule that you learn to write by writing? If so, what if you have seriously studied the craft, whether formally or self-directed? What if you have written short stories? Then are you “safe” to query your first novel?

What is your take on the first novel rule?

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