Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Time clears beginners’ clutter: revisiting that first novel

Recently I went back and revisited the beginning of my first fiction manuscript. It is a young adult fantasy. It has received three rejections and I was planning to go back and look at the story again before sending out another round but lately I’ve been so caught up in my current WIP, a dystopian middle grade and other aspects of my writing career that it has taken a back burner.

However, I was amazed at the power of about five months. That is how long it has been since I have sat down and read the first 7,000 words of my YA. I entered it in The Emily contest and like any good writer I scrutinized every word the weekend before the contest’s deadline. As I read through my scenes my rejections made perfect sense. I did give away too much backstory. I DID info dump. I was guilty of being unclear if the story was purely fantasy or urban fantasy.

Reading my words was like seeing my story for the first time with fresh and wiser eyes. I may be a seasoned writer but until I sought out help and guidance with my fiction I was just an aspiring fiction author with a far out dream. Now I have purpose, strategy, a growing knowledge and most of all a will to not quit. So I thought I’d spend a few hours of a Sunday proofing those pages. I ended up pulling an all-nighter and now I have a much stronger beginning to my young adult story.

As beginners we are excited and we think we are awesome. I did. Especially since I’m not accustomed to failing at well, anything. I have multiple degrees in writing so that means I can write fiction, right? WRONG! My rose colored glasses have been torn off, probably by my toddler when I was trying to make her actually wear clothes. I’m working hard towards my writing goals and I’m not quitting but gosh it’s sure easier not that some of that clutter is clearing up!

Blog Mash-ups:

As a lead up to my Writing Moms workshop Diane Holmes, the founder of Pitch University and I had some fun with creating titles. See what we learned. 10 Things We Learned About Creating GREAT Titles.

“Structure Part 1- Anatomy of a Best-Selling Novel- Structure Matters” by author and social media guru Kristen Lamb

“How to Avoid the Publishing Kool-Aid” by author Jami Gold


  1. I'm sure it was tough to receive rejections and then have to rework your MS, but this post was encouraging to me! I like the hope of continually improving writing skills and turning out better and better stuff. I also like knowing that a great idea can be revamped and become a great book. Best wishes with your WIPs!

  2. Thank you so much for the link. I appreciate it! And yes, it's so hard to know when we're *really* ready. :)