A few days ago I posted here on the blog the final scene of Chapter 3 in the draft manuscript of No Redemption for the Wicked. This is as much as I dare post for fear that a prospective publisher might consider its appearance on the internet as ‘publication’ and turn it down on that basis. But as many authors (and publishers) routinely disclose the first three chapters of a novel for promotional purposes, I’m willing to risk that my doing the same will not preclude them from picking up the novel for publication, particularly since what appears here is a working draft version and nowhere near a state of revision I would consider minimally necessary for submission to an agent or a publisher.
From this point forward, all work I do on the initial draft will be done in private. It’s not that I’m at all secretive about the draft quality of the manuscript or my creative process (such as it is) – quite the contrary, in fact. It’s just that I had always thought that other writers (but particularly moreso, readers) would enjoy a ‘look behind the curtain’ of the process of a first-time novelist, struggling to complete their first finished work. As it turns out, I think I may have been wrong about that.
In the meantime, I’ll try to do more of the things that other writers do on their blogs. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to expand my outreach like many of you have. In particular, I seem to remember Jen Ford and Jennifer M Eaton just getting started with their blogs. Now each of their blogs has tons of followers and well over 10,000 page views in half the time it took me to reach 5,000!
Don’t get me wrong… they’re both dear friends and I’m thrilled for their successes, both with their blogs and their writing careers. I’m a big fan of them both, professionally and personally. I’m simply using them as an example of what apparently works and contrasting that with what I’ve done so far with my blog as an example of what may not work quite as well. So, we try different things, we observe the results, compare our results to others, and then we adapt, trying to achieve something closer to the results we want. Or, if you want a certain result, look at the people achieving that result and do what they do.
Mostly, I’ve blogged about the novel – and why not? I’ve lived and breathed; ate, drank, slept, and dreamed this thing for more than five years now. In some ways I’m tired of it. In some ways, I want to throw my hands in the air and walk away from it because trying to capture the essence of this story in my head in literary fashion is driving me crazy and I want my life back. Then I look at my life and reconsider. I hate my life, to be honest. Continuing with the raw honesty, I really am hoping to make a living at writing because, as some other writers have somewhat famously said, I can’t manage to do anything else worth a damn.
So, I’ve blogged about the novel, about my creative process, about the background, the thinking I’ve done about it, the planning I’ve done, the characters, the setting, the plot, you name it, every aspect of this project that has been on my mind from the beginning. And yes, I suppose some of it, in retrospect may have been somewhat self-aggrandizing, but if I really think about it, it may have been because I was subconsciously looking for encouragement and that’s just how it came out. I probably didn’t present myself in the best possible light by doing that, but we all learn and grow. Wait, I have to take that back. A lot of people never learn a thing and don’t grow a whit. Most people, probably. So, I don’t want to be one of them. And I don’t want to be one of the many millions of potential writers whose dreams and aspirations never bore fruit. Not many people have ever heard of Branwell Brontë, have they? In his youth and young adulthood, he was highly-regarded as a promising young writer. In fact, it was because of the magnitude of his raw and potential talent that his sisters, Charlotte, Ann, and Emily, tried to emulate him. But Branwell never managed to develop his talent and died a broken man while his sisters, thinking they were far inferior in talent, worked hard to overcome their perceived shortcomings and achieved great success. I don’t want to be a Branwell Brontë. I’ve already lived enough of that life.
So, this is a very personal post for me, rather more open than my previous posts have been, and I think that’s what I’ll do more of. The novel will come, but after spending as much time as I do writing the novel, I don’t need to come here and write about writing the novel. Instead, I’m going to be more real with you. I’m going to reveal more of myself: who I am, what I believe, and why I write.
Thanks to all of you who read the things I write. You make me feel human.