My initial attempt at writing the novel was back in 2008, but I ran into several problems. I actually got several thousand words into the story, but wasn’t satisfied with how things were coming together. I was struggling while writing in third person and couldn’t get the dialogue just right. A couple of months after starting, my laptop crashed and everything was lost. I was back to square one, but didn’t view that as complete loss. It would take me a few years before I felt I was ready to try again.
The good news is that during that time I still went for my daily walks, which is when I came up with some of my best ideas. Over the next few years, my plot line expanded. My one book had grown to a six-book series. In retrospect, I think it may have been good to delay starting the book; it allowed me time to expand the storyline and strengthen the characters.
I tried starting all over again in early 2011. Writing again in third person, I got several paragraphs into the prologue but was still unsatisfied. I put the book on hold again and began exploring other options to third person narrative.
In February 2012, I was ready to try again. Armed with the Manuscript app for iPad, I was prepared to put in serious time and effort. I decided to do the bulk of the story in first person – it would be easier for me that way. There were sections of the book, including the prologue, that needed to be written in third person. I would tackle those after getting more experience by writing the first person segments. The strategy worked; midway through the book I was able to write the third person segments as they occurred in the flow of the story rather than waiting until everything else was finished.
I finished the 103,000 word first draft in August 2013 and began revisions a few weeks later. As I write this in March 2014, the book is down to 89,000 words and still under revision. It is currently in the hands of various readers for input on plot construction and character development. After making changes based on their input,I anticipate another round of reader evaluation (including readers in my target market of 12- to 18-year-olds) and follow-up revision, followed by an intensive proofreading and grammar check. At that point I hope to be ready to start querying agents to represent me to publishers, though I am also preparing a Plan B of self-publishing if that fails. It’s been a long journey, and I know it’s not done yet.
Click here for part 1 of the series.