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?


  1. I'm glad I waited too Maria. You're right, there's nothing like practise (and more practise, and more again). I'm a big believer in continuous learning too - writing is an ever-evolving thing.

    I have a number of half-finished manuscripts on my hard drive. I shudder every time I think of them though ;-).

    Enjoyed your blog! - Nikki.

    1. LOL, Nikki, I have many of those half-finished ones on my hard drive as well!

  2. I'm so glad the internet and self-publishing weren't around when I first started writing ... not having those available saved me a great deal of embarrassment.

  3. Yeah, I think waiting is good. Because sometimes it takes that 10 you mentioned before your "baby" does or should see the light of day.

    As one who "came up the old way," I'm glad--like Mark said--I was saved the embarrassment. I'm also happy for all I learned during those send-out-get-rejected years.

    Good post!

  4. I'm unpublished, and firmly in the saving-myself-from-embarrassment camp. Yeah, I'm a little embarrassed that it's taking way longer than expected, but no, I'm not going to rush into indie world. Every manuscript gets better. I won't rule out indie publishing, but at this point, all I can say for sure is that I am an excellent speller. My stories need more work.

  5. I guess the old saying "Everything happens for a reason" is sometimes true eh? I'm glad you are able to look at your first baby with wider open eyes and can see where you have improved and where you need to improve. As always I'm wishing you the best!
    Don't you wonder why some books, namely a very recent 3 book series, can do so well when they are written so poorly. Honestly, I haven't read said series, as it doesn't interest me, but everyone, literally everyone I know that has read even just the first book says the writing is some of the worst they have ever read. I just don't get it.

  6. I know, Kristy.You just hit on a point that is revolutionizing the industry.Bad writing is suddenly okay as long as it sells.So with that in mind, we will see more and more Indies come forth like said book and although most will not be successful, what is this doing to our literacy? Where is the quality control? Lots to think about.