My First Novel: a Love Story

When I say love story, I’m not talking about the plot. I’m speaking of the relationship between me and my book.

I finished writing the first draft of my first novel a two years ago. A couple of people read and offered me their thoughts. I have done a couple of revisions. I’ve sent it out a few places and been rejected.

Now, I’m meeting with a novel-writing group and having my manuscript read by more people, who are giving quite helpful feedback. Hearing their comments, I’ve come to see the strengths and weaknesses I display should have been predictable. I’ve spent countless hours of my life immersed in poetry. In more recent years, I’ve produced a number of short stories. My strengths in my first novel, according to my first and second responders, are in dialogue, description and character development. I have many individual wonderful scenes with great dialogue. But it’s obvious this is the first time I’ve plotted something this size. I need to work on the story arc.

I’m trying to decide whether to do another rewrite and work on getting this volume published or whether to let it be and move on. I already have a start on my second novel. I’m about 5,000 words in at the moment. (No sneering at me, please, NaNoWriMo people. I’m a busy woman.)

The other night, while I was pondering my options regarding my firstborn book, I had a happy epiphany. I possess a very healthy emotional relationship with this novel. Whether I do any more revisions, whether I ever publish it or not, I’m so happy to have written it. It’s a story I needed to tell and I’ve told it, if only to a handful of my closest fellow-writers and my spouse. I’m not staking my entire self-concept as a writer on getting it published. I’ve gained some publication credits with several poems and a small handful of short stories. I’ve even been paid some of those times. I learned a lot in the first-novel process and my second book is benefitting already.

See, I don’t have a co-dependent thing going. But I do have a deep, true, abiding love. I’m able to see my novel’s flaws and still care for it – warty story arc and all.  I love my characters. I love my sense of accomplishment in having finished an entire book. I love how much I learned. No matter what I do with my writing in the future, no matter how many books I finish, I will never forget you, first novel. You will always have a special place in my heart.

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One comment on “My First Novel: a Love Story

  1. Dennis says:

    Writing novels are hard. Writing love story novels are even harder. I commend you for finishing your novel and telling a story. I know. I’m both a first time writer and I’m writing a love story. I think you are on the right track as long as you have conflicts that build to a climax, your characters are fleshed out, and that your story is about Universal truths. If all these are there then I would do a couple more revisions concentrating on flow. Best wishes!

    Like

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