Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I'm Glad I Waited

This might be viewed as controversial and I want to be careful not to step on any toes. Please excuse me while I walk on eggshells.

After I wrote my first novel and it was rejected by Harlequin Love Inspired Lines, I briefly considered publishing it myself. After all, everyone seemed to be doing that. Instead I finished the second in the series I’d envisioned, and then another novel in a completely different genre. I didn’t look at my first baby for close to a year.

I’m glad I waited, and here’s why.

As with a lot of firstborns, mom needs to step back and gain perspective. We hear this told time and time again, but sometimes we don’t listen. We get defensive. We find published novels that are far worse than ours and rail at the injustice. We wonder why a publisher wants a novel to fit into that little round hole.

Sometimes we give in to vanity publishing or the ever popular Indie publishing. None of these things are horrible and I’m not here to say that they are.

But I’m glad I didn’t do it.

After some time and distance I picked up my first again. Guess what? It turns out it’s not my best work. It’s not horrible, but it’s far from the best I can do. And then again, it is entirely possible that my writing has actually improved in the last year.

Nothing can take the place of practice. I now understand the all important scene, GMC, character and world building. In my first novel, every period and comma was well placed. I had an editor look it over and she did a great job. Unfortunately it’s not all about grammar, as much as we love to hate the Indies that appear to have been published without so much as a proofread.

Our story has to grab the reader from the very first page and draw them into the world you’ve created. Ground them in the perspective of your hero or heroine and let them see inside their soul. Not an easy thing to do.

I’m still working on it but I’m happy to say I’ve made progress. And my first isn’t going anywhere.

But this begs the question: what if it's not your first novel? What if it's your tenth?