Novel Doubts. Lately I've been having some doubts about sending SHARDS out, which are difficult to even pin down. Sometimes I wonder, Is this ready? If I even find an agent and get published, do I want this to be my first novel?
Pro's to keeping SHARDS back:
- First novels are generally supposed to be bad. The advice I've read often is, now shelve it and write another.
- I can better revise SHARDS later, when I am an older and wiser writer, and have it published once I've sold other projects. Since this story is so personal and dear to my heart, I want the story to be told as perfectly as possible.
- Novels about assisted suicide are apt to be a tough sell. Lots of people do not appreciate my subject matter. Do I want my first novel to be something so controversial?
- This is a great story, that I've slaved over for YEARS. I'm not the best writer I'll ever be, since I'll gain new skills with practice, but I'm not going to be that writer until I, like, die. And I'm not interested in posthumous publishing. I want to share my work.
Outlining. Of course, if I am going to shelve SHARDS, why the fiddlesticks have I been re-working it so long? I should have dumped the version I finished in '08 and gone on to write something else. However, it was easy to keep working on SHARDS because while I had lots of ideas, nothing felt ready to write.
I used to think that it was because none of my ideas had finished percolating yet, and I didn't have clear images of plot and character from which to work from. Which is certainly true. But going off the progress on THE GODDESS, I'd have to say that outlining is a really nifty way to bring the plot and characters into sharper relief.
Right now I have multiple other ideas bouncing around in my head. There's Bodie's Men, of course, and then an idea I had about a science geek who brainwashes his girlfriend to make her perfect, and she ends up being TOO perfect (and much smarter than he is). At times I feel frustrated, because I have no time to write these stories -- I need to stay focused on revisions of SHARDS (if not shelved) and writing THE GODDESS. But then I realized: I can outline these stories. That way they're ready to go when I finish THE GODDESS.
The other up side to outlining another project as you write the current WIP is you have someplace to go when you finish WIP #1. I felt so sad when I finished SHARDS the first time, like I was being kicked out of this world I'd spent so much time in. I needed a new world and new characters to dive into ASAP!