13 May 2011
Everyone thinks they can write a novel. The difference between those who think and those who do is a completed manuscript mocking you with all the love and hardship you've put into it. Novels are evil, you see. Evil. They bore into your brain, force you to obsess over them for months or years, and once you think you've gotten all of it out of your brain and you can finally move on...BAM. Rewrites. Edits. Proofing. Adding scenes. Deleting scenes. Wondering what the heck you were thinking...
Can you tell? Can you tell? Can you tell I'm in Revision Hell? Again?
Firsts are always the scariest. The most difficult. The most troublesome. First novels threaten to suck your soul into the abyss. However, they're also invaluable tools of the trade. Most first novels don't get published, not because they're no good, but because the author got so frustrated with the manuscript that she set it aflame while maniacally laughing and twirling with glee. Oh, that's not the reason? Huh. I guess it's just me then.
The point of my inane rambling is this: Firsts are learning experiences, building blocks, and scary as all get-out, but not every first has to be. And rather than give up at the first sign of trouble (which can be scary, right?), we have to persevere. If this first novel doesn't get published, then take the valuable lessons you've learned along the way and apply them to the next manuscript. Like any other craft, writing takes time to learn and requires practice to hone your skills. What better way than revising a 100,000 word monstrosity upteen billion times? You learn what to look for and what your weaknesses are. Your next manuscript starts automatically more awesome than the last. And before you know it, you've written the world's greatest novel. Or something.
Practice makes perfect, after all.