First Novel Epiphany

You know that 400 lb. woman in spandex and a tube top, the one that makes you wonder how did she leave the house looking like that.

Yeah, um, that was my first novel. And I paraded her all over town to agents as a beauty queen.

A case of blindness or self-denial. Nope. Worse. Not seeing it. Not yet having the skills to determine that it wasn’t ready to leave the house.

See you can fix what you can identify as broken. But what you don’t know you don’t know. That’s a novel-killer.

In my first book, I couldn’t see what was wrong with it. Why the query worked but the full manuscript got rejected.

So I put it aside. Finished my second book. Revising my second book, I noticed the pacing on the second book was whirlwindlike.

Which made me think about the first book. whose pacing was the anti-whirl wind.

Problem identified. Then I finished reading Revision and Self Editing by James Scott Bell. That finetuned my abilities to self-edit.

I read 4-5 YA books by popular authors.

And then I decided to take a 4-day lightning round of revisions to that first novel.

And now I saw clearly. It sucked. Pacing was so-so. Too many info dumps. Fun but unnecessary scenes. And I hacked 6000 words and about 20 pages in 4 days. Wow. How had I not seen this earlier?

I wasted agent’s time thinking this was the best work I could do. Bible, I thought it was. Three months ago.

And at the time, it was. As a writer, my skills evolve on a weekly basis. Everything I write, read, and edit hones my abilities.
Pretty cool.

The book still requires more revision but at least now I understand why agents rejected it. And that is half the battle.

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6 Responses to First Novel Epiphany

  1. Cynthia says:

    I’m glad that the revision process is helping you grow as a writer. I’m curious to know which 4-5 books you read that helped you jumpstart your revision process.

    • Thanks! It’s terrifying to suddenly see my manuscript in this unflattering light. But at least, I can fix it now. I read Firelight by Sophie Jordan, Heist Society by Ally Carter, and The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry. I reread A.S. King’s Dust of 100 Dogs. All phenomenal storytellers with something different to teach me. 🙂

  2. berry says:

    Make the changes. Get it out to someone. Your talent is ripe.

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