Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Useless update

Today I finally put fingers to keyboard and eked out six pages on a short story, just enough to bring to my writers group tonight (we're allowed a maximum of six double-spaced pages; I was typing right up until I left!) Right now I feel all sort of "between projects" -- but it's just better to keep writing. I do look forward to my five weeks in Hawaii and the ability to dedicate each day to working on a new book, whatever it will be (I have three ideas: one historical, one not, and one involves re-tackling my first-ever novel).

That first-ever novel is very badly written but has such a cool concept that I really want to try to do it justice. In fact, I tried for eight years to give it, uh, justice... the sheriff just wasn't in town apparently.

But I think writing two full-length novels (and a few other shorter projects) since then has helped me become a better writer. It'd be fun to test that theory.

They say every published novelist has six unpublished manuscripts under their bed... that's a very unpleasant number to contemplate. When you finish the first draft of your first novel, you're exhilarated! You think this is it! Editors across the globe are simultaneously drawing up contracts for you! It's time to figure out all the witty things you'll say in interviews! You must decide now whether you should smile or look mildly contemplative in your author photo! Ah yeah... and then ... years pass... cobwebs develop on the manuscript... and then eventually, with a sigh, you put it under the bed (in my case, the closet).

I spent eight years on that first book, rewriting, changing the ending probably five times (I mean how the book ended, not just the way it was written), changing the beginning, making some characters more malevolent, adding more supernatural hoodoo... I'm glad I was smart enough to stop working on it, because my next book sold. And so did the third one.

So that six books under the bed theory? I guess it applies to me if you consider that I should have written that many books in eight years rather than spinning my wheels on just one.
But I'm just idiotic enough to want to go back to it.

C'mon, what's another eight years?!


Anonymous said...

Erika, how long did it take your agent to shop around your novel and have it published?


Erika M said...

Well, it took forever to find my agent... but once I had representation the book sold fairly quickly.