writing a novel

Editing A Novel Is Essential For Success

Self-editing is hard to do 165, 000. That’s the total word count for my first draft of Ava, before editing. No kidding. I sweated over that draft, lost sleep over it, obsessed over it for months on end. It was my first-born work of fiction and I was so proud. I fed my manuscript constantly, convinced that the best way to nourish a growing book was to heap words—any words—onto the pages. No detail was too small to include, and I assured myself that readers would absolutely, positively want to share in these tidbits. For nearly a year I kept right on stuffing and stuffing, never editing even once. For a solid 52 weeks, I was certain I was creating the best story ever written. And so I kept on writing and writing. By the twelfth month, my manuscript had ballooned into a fleshy entity so large...

The Dream of Becoming a Published Author

It’s 3 a.m. The dream wakes you, scaring you with its intensity, shaking you with its fever. By day it trails you, clings to you, seeps into your skin. At first, you tell no one. Then, little by little, the dream finds words, finds its way out of your mind and into your reality. You are forever changed. Your family and friends tell you they love you, but they’ve heard enough about your imaginary world. They think about screening their calls. You reassure them it’s not some ploy you invented to steer conversation away from the fact that you are, once again, single.  (Well…) You attempt to prove it by weaving your cloth of words during dinner. You begin speaking faster and faster, begin moving through the plot with stealthy determination to reach the best part — the twist — before you ...

Risk and the Unpublished Writer

“Do you believe?” I’ve been asked that question over and over, in various forms, for two long years. Do I believe in what I’m doing? Do I believe the sacrifices are worth it? Do I believe people will want to read my books and short stories? The list goes on. All the while, I’ve been writing and re-writing stories and novels. I’ve been editing and re-editing them, often scrapping entire chapters and starting over again. Writing novels has taught me that, while happy endings are not always possible, they are always plausible. There is virtue in taking a risk of the heart or of the mind. In its best form, risk is faith. And faith is, perhaps, the only part of the human spirit with the power to turn what’s plausible into what’s possible. Faith in the storyli...