Updated: Nov 15, 2020
So the editor and I have gone through Veer Left for Home many times now. It's just about time to have it released!
Here's something I've learned about writing a novel.
Writing a book is harder than it looks. Most people see writing as just typing away on a computer. This not writing. That's only the mechanics of getting the manuscript written. The real expenditure of energy is happening in your head and planning. Thinking about the story, making the story sensible, making situations believable, making details in one section match up with the big picture, etc. Inventing situations and characters that somehow contribute to the story has HUGE rippling effects once a story gets longer. A small tweak in chapter one may require a huge rewrite of several chapters. It's exhausting.
Rewrites destroy hope. I must have rewrote Veer Left for Home at least 10 times before the plot and events in the story resembled what it is today. I started writing the first words of the book (by my estimation) around 2000. At the time, I was reading Harry Potter and I became anxious to write. I started off with little more than a spark of an idea. It took years to flesh it out. There were at least three times I thought I had it done. But this nagging feeling persisted that it wasn't right and there were several "forced" parts to the story that just didn't work. The most withering moment happened about three years ago. I had the manuscript "done" and I decided to hire a gal on Reedsy to give a critical critique. I got it back and she just basically said, "I don't see a market for this. Maybe a small niche market." I almost deleted the whole thing. But a little voice in my head kept reminding me that I needed to keep going. A year later, I picked it back up and hit it hard one last time. It became what it is today. To the gal that critiqued it? Her points were right and I believe I fixed her complaints. Now its time to send it to the biggest critics of all--readers.
Editing is hard. I can't tell you how many times I've gone through my manuscript picking out small mistakes. Frustrating. Even with the professional editor I'm using (which is Vince Font from Glass Spider Publishing), I still am finding issues. And it's not just spelling and grammar. Often times situations come across as weak or not very interesting. So as a writer its my responsibility to fix it.
A nearly completed manuscript must be handled like glass. As I am approaching completion of Veer Left for Home, I find even trivial changes can introduce new mistakes. It is so easy to introduce mistakes.
Writing is emotionally draining. As I'm about to publish my manuscript, I am doing a great deal of comparisons against published works (for pricing and comparisons of like genre material) and looking into marketing. The realization that most books don't sell more than 250 copies, is discouraging. It's easy to get writer blues--a feeling that makes me think, "Why am I even doing this. Nobody cares!" At this point, I've invested thousands of hours into this project. I can't stop with the finish line a hundred yards ahead.
I'm excited! After all the emotional roller coaster this has put me through, I'm actually excited to get it out there. I am a little nervous that anyone that reads it will hate it or worse, be like "meh." But I do hope someone out there will actually enjoy it and become a fan of the story. I'm well underway with the sequel and success of the first book would be encouraging.
Well, that's about it. I am planning on doing a cover review shortly. But I'm holding off until the book is but a few days to be available.