“Writing is hard and takes a lot of time.” – Amanda Pleau, my wife, via Susan Conley, her mentor
When you see writers giving advice on writing, it almost always includes something to the effect of “finish something.” Meaning, don’t just start a bunch of projects and never finish them. This is the struggle, because if you’re like me, you get excited about NEW ideas at the exact same time you get sick of working on the OLD ideas.
And, if you’re like me, you’ve probably got a solid 20 pages of ten half-thought out books that you moved to your Graveyard Folder at the very first brick wall, like Han Solo dropping his cargo at the first sight of an Imperial Cruiser.
It’s easy to go, “Well, Thing A isn’t going anywhere, so what’s the point? I’ll just work on Thing B instead.” Sometimes you abandon things for one reason or another, but it should never be because you think it’s not worth it, or that it’s not a good idea, or you just read something else that is kinda-sorta similar to what you’re doing. Those are excuses your brain uses to trick you into abandoning something you’re not yet confident about.
My first novel has just recently been sent out into the world in hopes of finding a home, which means the manuscript was as solid as my agent believed it needed to be in order to (hopefully) sell. While this doesn’t mean it’s done (the future editor will surely have some suggestions), it does mean that, despite feeling like throwing in the towel constantly, I finished a god damn book.
It’s not a particularly long novel, but it’s a hell of a lot more words than get put into making a comic. No super talented artist to do the heavy lifting (sorry, fellow comic writers, it’s the truth—we have the easy/less essential job).
What it’s about doesn’t matter much at this point (if it sells you’ll be hearing me talk about it relentlessly, so hang in there), but it’s period crime fiction, so there was a hefty bit of research involved along with the plot machinations that accompany a mystery, so, it was pretty overwhelming to me as a first-time novelist.
But if you’re struggling to make it through that first draft, I’ve got the secret for you. The sure-fire way to finish that manuscript:
Sit down and do it, man.
I know, sucks right? It does. It really, really does. But that’s the only way to get it done, because no one else is gonna write that story except for you.
Continue reading “This Is How I Wrote My First Book”