A big part of this website will be documenting my journey as a
wannabe aspiring novelist. I guess there is no better place to start than when it all started.
Somewhere close to ten years ago I got an idea for a book. I quickly wrote out the idea and saved it. There were some major holes with it, I knew, but I wanted to get the gist of it down so I wouldn’t forget it. Over the course of the years, I revisited the idea a few times, trying to figure out how to plug the holes. I knew that if I couldn’t do that the story would never fly.
Not being able to plug the holes (and not really trying that hard,) the idea sat.
I told a few people about it as a conversation piece, but it was always “my idea for a book,” and never, “the book I’m gonna write.” After all, who’s got time to write a book?
Too lazy not to write
Then a few years ago, my wife and I went on vacation. It was one of those, sit on the beach and do nothing vacations, which are the best kind, really. I burn easily so I can’t do much out in the sun, so we pulled up some beach chairs, snagged an umbrella, and laid around pretty much all day.
And what else am I gonna do, but read, right?
I planned ahead and downloaded a series of zombie novels from an author I had never heard of. They were free, so, why not? The author was giving away the first four book in a series, I assume, to get people to buy the next four. Or any of this other books, of which there seemed to be many.
Over the course of the four days we were on the beach, I read all four books. And as I did, I noticed a few things.
- They were short. Like 200-pages-in-large-font short.
- They were moderately entertaining.
- The author wrote a lot of books, which means it had to be worthwhile to him.
And with that, I thought… I could do this.
Shortly after my vacation, I got to work fleshing out my idea from all those years ago. It took a bit of time because, well, time travel can get complicated. Ultimately I was able to break the code, as it were. I figured out how to make the story work without major plot holes. But something else happened too. My idea for a book turned into three books. Which made my it all the more challenging. Especially for someone who hadn’t written a novel before.
But I took up the challenge anyway.
Let the writing begin… again
A couple of months later I started writing. I didn’t outline the book, didn’t plan out plot points, didn’t flesh out my characters; I just wrote.
And then I found an online course to learn how to write. I paid for the course, listened to all the lessons, read the book and, well, then I had to start over.
I fleshed out my characters, re-crafted my opening chapters, and then applied what I learned to the first few chapters that I had already written. They were much better, that I knew.
Part of the course gave me access to a professional editor. She reviewed the first ten thousand words and provided her feedback.
Then I curled up in a corner and cried for a week.
It was really good feedback and I took it to heart. I had a couple months to make edits and send the 10K words back for a second review. I did and I was told that it was much better. At least I knew how to take direction!
The challenging part was taking what I learned from the editor review and applying it to the rest of my unfinished story. I was about halfway through and I had to make sure to keep continuity with the changes I made.
A little over a year after I started writing I had finished my first draft. I hired the editor who reviewed the first 10K words to review the full manuscript. I squeezed into an opening in February 2018, which gave me time to work on the second draft.
Which brings us to today. I’m still making some final tweaks but, essentially, the second draft is done and ready for the editor to tear it apart. I fully suspect I’ll be curled up in a ball crying for a month after I get her notes. But I’m sure they’ll be good notes which will give me yet another challenge to work toward.
That’s my journey so far. Stay tuned for more as I continue to write about the editing process and publish more chapters.