Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Five Years Ago

Five years ago, I penned my first novel, Seeking Eleanor. In my haste to show the world how brilliant I was, I sent it out to agents, made my friends and family read it, and sat back with a smug satisfaction over finishing a 170,000 word novel. Yes, you read that right. 

170,000 words.  

Turns out, my celebration was a bit premature because, as it goes, the book wasn't great. In fact, it was a bit cliched and overdone.

Oh, I know, it's a faux paus to say this, especially about a book I am going to start querying again, but I'm a rebel, and we all know about my affection for honesty. Don't worry, I'm not being down on myself, I don't think I'm a terrible writer who has no business being creative. For the most part, I'm a good writer. I can totally craft an appealing sentence from time-to-time and created some rather dreamy characters, both male and female. 

This doesn't change the fact that my first novel wasn't great. Sure, there were parts that were good and, under so much blahness, the bones to Seeking Eleanor were actually really awesome. This doesn't change the fact I didn't understand tense or passive and active voice. I'm embarrassed I actually allowed other people to read it. That I sent it to agents. But that was all back in the beginning, when I was new and fresh on the scene. While there is much to say of my mistakes and stupidity, I was ready to learn. I cannot tell you all the amazing things I've learned form all the amazing people I've met in the last five years.

It is through this learning and the meeting of these wonderful ladies and gentleman that I have grown. I have changed. After five years and countless reviews, I haven't given up on Seeking Eleanor. In fact, I just finished a massive rewrite that kept those awesome bones I loved and did away with all the things people are sick of reading about, like mind reading and an inept heroines. This girl is my baby and I love her more today than I did the first draft. It's been a long journey and she spent a fair bit of time tucked away in a drawer until I understood what needed to be done to make her shine. 

Don't get me wrong. It hurt to come to terms with the fact my first book pretty much sucked, but at least I had a good idea. One I could build off of in the future. Which is now. The future is now. This is getting confusing. All I am trying to say is, sometimes you have to admit something sucks in order to change it into something that doesn't. I'm not saying Seeking Eleanor will be snatched up and loved by the first agent I send it too. I'm just saying it's witty, fun, and I love her. 

We've come a long way and I suspect we have a long way to go still. 

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