1. XLadyX
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    XLadyX Banned

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    What was it like to finish writing your first full length novel?

    Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by XLadyX, Aug 4, 2016.

    I'm usually a short story writer and with the good feedback I got from my short stories, that motivated me to start my full length books. I have a few short story collections out there, but not a full length one yet because I keep starting many projects and never finish one.

    What was it like for you to finish writing your first full length novel? Was it a success or did you have to write another book along with it so that people would read the first book?
     
  2. Laurin Kelly
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    Laurin Kelly Active Member

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    When I finished the first draft of Under the Knife I cried for nearly an hour. It was a labor of love that had taken a year to complete, and was without a doubt one of the hardest things I'd done in my 40+ year life. I can't even describe the sense of pride and accomplishment I had - it was completely overwhelming.

    After another year of revisions I bit the bullet and submitted the second draft to a small niche publisher called Less Than Three Press, who miraculously accepted it within 3 days of their 4-6 week average response time. Fast forward another year and UTK (as I call it) has overall had wonderful reviews and is selling pretty briskly on Amazon in the LGBT category.
     
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  3. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    I had to tie a steak around mine just to get the dog to read it.

    kidding.

    Sort of.

    Finishing the first draft was very gratifying. In some ways, the year of revisions that followed were more challenging than writing it.
     
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  4. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    Finishing the novel: spectacular feeling. Rarely have I felt such a sense of achievement.
    After that it is anticlimactic as you wait for those sales number to creep slowly upward. Hitting double digits is cause for celebration.
     
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  5. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    Haunting.

    Every time I think about it I'm reminded of all the people I love who won't read it.
     
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  6. dreamersky1212
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    dreamersky1212 Active Member

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    My first....

    I actually wrote it as my college thesis.

    I did this partly because I didn't actually want to do a real thesis and partly to motivate myself to do something that I had been vacillating on for years.

    I wrote it in six months and got an A from my professors.

    I, in all my naivety, believed that this meant that it was ready to be published.

    Oh, what a silly silly fool.

    That book will never see the light of day.

    But it did give me what I needed. Confidence.

    If I could do it once, I could do it again.

    And better.

    Now I'm almost done with my third book (actually book two in a plannned trilogy) and I know for certain that this is what I will be doing for the rest of my life.

    I may not ever make it big. But thanks to that horribly flawed disaster of a first novel, I know I can finish what I start. And will continue to do so for the next 40 years or so.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2016
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  7. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I find I get the same high from finishing a short story as I do a novel. I rather write short stories because I get to do so many of them. And finishing each one, each time feels awesome! I don't see short stories as stepping stones to prepare us for larger works. If you think you might be good at short stories, I would be hesitant to move away from them.
     
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  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Some great writers specialize in short stories. Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro writes nothing but - I don't think she's ever even attempted a novel. Flannery O'Connor is mostly famous for her short stories, Anton Chekhov also (plus his plays), and Edgar Allan Poe. There are many others. The short story is a noble form in itself; it shouldn't be treated simply as a stepping-stone to the novel.
     
  9. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I totally agree. Are you a short story writer as well?
     
  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I imagine the only thing that differs between short stories and novels, in terms of your satisfaction as an author when you finish one, is probably the amount of time you've spent on it. Short stories, because of their length and the fact they are usually fairly concentrated stories with few characters and a pretty straightforward plotline, tend to get finished quickly. However, I imagine the satisfaction of looking at a finished one—even before the editing starts—is something to work for.

    Novels tend to take a much longer time to write. Not only are they longer and more complicated, but may require a lot of research as well. I took 5 years of working constantly, nearly every single day, to finish the first draft of mine. I still remember the day I wrote "The End." I was so happy. I'd done it. Okay, it needed revision (lord, did it ever!) but I knew I'd done it. I'd written a book I would have loved to read myself. I think I had a grin that remained on my face for days afterwards. Even though I had much still to learn and a HELL of a lot of work to do to get it to the point where it is now, where I'm about to submit it for publication, I never lost that feeling of accomplishment.

    I enjoyed writing it, and enjoyed completing a chapter that went well, but nothing is better than knowing the whole thing is finished, and that it works.
     
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  11. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'll let you know when it happens, kind of like an anthropology project. :)

    Seriously, though, so many times I've 'finished' novels only to find they needed massive rewrites. They all got abandoned except this last one. And I'm still driving toward a finished 8th draft on this one, the farthest I've ever gotten.
     
  12. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I write short stories and I'm working on a novel. I'm also working on turning a screenplay I once wrote into a novel - that's a fun exercise. :)
     
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  13. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    When I finally wrote the last sentence I genuinely had a moment of disbelief. I just stared at the computer screen and said, 'Wow!'

    I knew the proofing, editing etc would take time, but my story was complete. It's a crazy feeling.

    My next crazy feeling will be when the proof copy of the paperback arrives in about 3 weeks. Then it will feel real.
     
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  14. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Do you try to publish your short stories? It's really, really hard to break into a lot of these places. Sometimes I tell people I'm working on a novel. I'm not sure how true that is at this exact moment.
     
  15. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I don't remember very clearly, but I think it was a bit anti-climactic. I was pleased, sure, but it wasn't the overwhelming feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that I expected. Probably didn't help that I'd written the epilogue well in advance, so the actual 'The End' was on paper long before the novel was finished.

    Strangely, I felt much more pleased with myself when the second one was finished, even though it took 1/4 of the time.
     
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  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I have tried to publish, but so far only half-heartedly. I've only submitted about four or five times and got rejections. Two of the rejections were sort of hopeful - one was handwritten and praised the writing, but just said they weren't the right market for that kind of story. The other said the editor liked my style and to please try him again. I haven't gotten around to doing that yet, but the novelette I'm working on now is going to him.
     
  17. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's my next project, too.

    When I was writing movies, I once adapted a novel to a screenplay, but I've never done it the other way around.

    Got any pointers so far?
     
  18. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Not really. I'm just starting the same story from scratch as a novel.
     
  19. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I've never polished a novel to something I've ever been satisfied with though I've written several. Of course sometimes I didn't recognize how bad it was and felt rather elated and relieved and proud. But after a read though I felt like - damn, there's still a lot work ahead of me.
     
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  20. XLadyX
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    XLadyX Banned

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    Yes, I used to publish them for free at my blog that when I had anything paid no one would buy my paid works even though I was getting readers for my free short stories on my blog. I'm wondering since I started most of my short stories for free if that's the reason why they didn't pay for my longer ebooks on the known name since they usually get everything for free. Now I'm starting a new pen name.


    I enjoyed reading all of your responses so far, guys. I'm really trying to concentrate now to publish my first full length novel...I just keep getting distracted with other things unfortunately, lol.
     
  21. Mike Kobernus
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    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

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    If you define success as selling a lot of books, and getting rich, then I have not been successful. However, if, like me, you define success as writing something you can be proud of, that people read and are blown away by, then my first novel was very successful.

    Success is up to you. Choose your goals rather than let others dictate what you must be to be successful.
     
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  22. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    That might be because you know your first novel isn't a fluke, and that you can do it again. That's got to be a great feeling too. One I hope I eventually get to myself.
     
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  23. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, that's the feeling. Initial euphoria, followed by ...oh geez.... But at least you know you can finish something, once you have done so. The constant feeling of neverendum must be really discouraging to a writer. Not helped by friends and family constantly asking when it's going to be done—or during the editing 'when is it going to be published?' That's why I never talk about a WIP with anybody. I didn't even admit to my husband that I was writing a novel until I was about halfway through.
     
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  24. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Oh god, that question! I know it's a perfectly reasonable question to ask and most people don't know how damn slow publishing is, but if I had a pound for every time I'd been asked it...
     
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  25. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, me too. And I'm not even going for traditional publishing ...well, maybe ONE agency that seems more open-minded than others....
     

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