I’ve always wanted to write a novel. Now I have and it feels great! The first 40,000 words were the hardest. I felt quite euphoric when the first draft was finished. I then did what Stephen King recommends and left it alone for three months. I’m really glad I did that because when I read it again, I knew it was too thin, the solutions to the characters’ problems too easy and the whole was unsatisfying.
Reworking the first draft was fascinating. The “final” version is nearly twice as long at 78,000 words. I got more and more interested in who my characters are and what motivates them, the more I wrote about them.
So why haven’t I published it yet?
Because I don’t know if it’s any good. I know the solution to this: put it up on amazon and find out what the response is. But there’s a voice in the back of my head saying: “Could do better.” I wish I could say that it’s the voice of a stern teacher who traumatised me as a child by telling me I couldn’t write “bum” on a wall. But my English teachers were always positive and encouraging – so I can’t use that excuse. The same voice is telling me to write the sequel, learn a bit more about the craft of writing and then go back and revise it again. Polish it and make it shine. Is it the absolute best I could have done?
Now that I’ve written a novel, can I call myself a novelist? Or am I kidding myself?