From Writer to Author: Part One

I'm excited to announce the pending release of my debut novel. While the enthusiasm toward completion floods me with warm and fuzzy emotions, the arrival to this point of my project has been filled with highs and lows.

For years, I had carried the story idea in my head and one day I shared the synopsis with a friend. He advised me to write my story. Well, why not? How hard can it be? (The chuckling you hear is from my author friends: ignore them) Ten thousand words later, my novel was completed and I boasted of my accomplishment to my friend. Without hesitation, he advised me that I had written a short story, perhaps novella length, but certainly not a novel.

Without an outline, I fleshed out the story line by adding characters and events. I finished at a respectable 50,000 words. I shelved the story for two years while I co-wrote a nonfiction book about my hometown's history.

About this time, I joined the Facebook group, Fiction Writing. Brian Paone, author and editor, led the group and offered advice to new writers. In addition to his guidance, authors from around the world contributed suggestions, and I began to take notes.

I reviewed my manuscript. Glaring errors leaped from the pages. Damn! I had violated almost every writing rule. The story consisted of 50,000 words containing my story's core and not much else. Time to revise. Again.

I corrected the grammar and punctuation. I added characters and subplots. I banged the keyboard and perfected my work-in-progress on my days off from my job. On the days I didn't write, I studied the mechanics of writing good fiction. Eventually, I had 77,000 words! I was finished; I had written a novel.

Proud of my amazing achievement, I allowed three friends to read my story. Being an inexperienced writer, I embraced their validation of a well-written story. I never considered the possibility their reviews were disguised as polite responses. (File this under: Naivety) Feeling energized, I decided to move forward with my project. It was time to hire an editor.

Stay tuned, friends, for the next installment you won't want to miss.

To be continued ...

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