If your ultimate goal is to write the “published” novel then you’re probably asking yourself why you should bother reading this post? Well, I’ll tell you why…
writing the unpublished novel is as important as writing the published one. It’s the stepping stones, the learning curve, the I’m-not-ready-but-I-have-to-do-it-anyway process. I’ve read countless books on how-to write a novel. Some were great. Some were not. I’ve read agent blogs and writer blogs and every book blog I can find. They all say the same thing: KEEP WRITING. It’s true. The more you write, the more you learn.
I look back to the first book I attempted to write. It was about 5 years ago and was about witches living in Fairbanks, Alaska. I have no idea what it was really about, but I did finish it. I excessively edited it, all the while realizing that it was simply no good. Before long, I started book number 2, which was about a girl who could feel the emotions of others. I actually kind of liked that one, but still it wasn’t great. Then came number 3, a book about a fallen angel. Yeah, I know, been there done that. And I knew that. Still, I queried it for all of 2 weeks and let it go because of that. Ok, now I’m on book 4. That book flowed out of me in a matter of 2 months. The editing process was much longer because of working full time and life with kids, etc. I’ve also started number 5. And though it is still a daunting task, I learned enough to understand basic plotting structure and to PLAN.
I’m a planner. There is no way around it for me. The first 2 were written by the seat of my pants and though it was exciting, they were awful, awful. Editing them pained every part of me. I also gained several critique partners and beta read for several more. I had my own beta read and critiqued by people that weren’t family or friends. I took workshops and participated in contests. I put myself out there to be poked at. And believe me when I say that some of it was a brutal experience with a very sharp learning curve. Thankfully, as a former art student, I am no stranger to criticism. I took it and continued writing. I looked back at some of my older writing and I felt so good. Try it. It’s awesome to see your own growth!
The moral of this long post is to find what works for you, but never stop learning.