Saturday, September 3, 2011

When is it enough?

For years when I had a thought I would jot down a sentence or two in my blue and pink “novel” notebook. I wrote about who my characters were, their favorite things, things that made them cringe and the things their hearts yearned for most. Even before I had written the first chapter the novel was a part of me. When I finally had the opportunity to sit down and write and write and write it was amazing. Most of the time the words flowed easily and chapter after chapter piled up neatly because I knew these people very well; I knew their story as well as my own and I was excited to share their lives.

About ten months after I wrote the opening sentence I had a complete manuscript. But, it was my first and, being a novice, I had many doubts and insecurities about my writing. Was it enough? Enough words, enough description, enough to hold a reader’s interest? So, for the next few months I revised and rewrote. I even changed one of the character’s names. Some days this novel was all I could think about. I wanted everyone I know to read it and give me feedback.

It took a long time for me to decide it was truly finished. At least finished for me. I know the revising process will start again when an agent, editor or publisher gets their hands on it, but that is something I’m very much looking forward to being involved with. Right now, it feels like I started a new job and worked for 18 months without my boss telling me how I am doing, where I need improvement and where my strengths lie. I still think about those characters and that novel, but now my focus is on my second story. I am only five chapters in and I already know this novel is stronger than the first. More than anything I hope to have each novel I write published, but in the end if my first novel, Ella and Riley’s story, becomes the best lesson in novel writing I ever had I will consider my time spent on that manuscript an overwhelming success.

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