This is the second installment of how my book got published, and specifically about how I took a pretty circuitous approach to seeing my novel into a book. You can read part I here.
So there I was with my third novel dead in the water (and of course, its two sequels, because if you’re gonna make a rookie mistake, be sure it’s to the tune of 350,000 words!), and no real start on my next project. I had some ideas, but nothing seemed to be sticking. And writing had been SO easy before (turns out, that was just the clichés talking), so I decided that it would be good for me to sit down with one of these elusive, not sticking ideas, and pound out a story.
I told myself this would be “good practice.”
Before anyone gets any thoughts about how this novel was “just for practice,” I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I struggled for the words―the right words―they would come in fits and spurts and then I’d go back through and erase entire chapters for not living up to my expectations. I maybe cried a lot as I wrote this book.
When I finished, I was briefly triumphant, then instantly certain that pretty much all of it had to be rewritten. And that’s when the real work started, but hey, I thought: It’ll be good practice seeing this novel through from start to finish.
So I started in on revising. I rewrote most of the ending. Then, I rewrote most of the beginning. Then I changed most of the words in the middle, polished it up and sent it to an agent who was having a query contest.
I’ve talked before about what she told me during that contest. She told me that my writing was fine, good even, but the problem was that there was another story that was similar enough in concept that had done very poorly in the market place. She said that because another book had done poorly, she wasn’t even interested in mine. I might as well have written a vampire novel.
And so, with a heavy heart and after wasting most of a year on a book that was still not the one, I trunked my novel without sending it out into the world.
Stay tuned for part III