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Monday, January 4, 2010

I'm Through With These Shoes

When I bought boots similar to these this fall, I thought I'd never grow tired of wearing them. But Mother Nature has decided to bombard us with never ending snow, and I've been forced to wear them every day since Christmas. I'm ready to move on and put them on their rightful shelf in my closet. Last week, I shared with you some things I learned in 2009. This week, I want to talk about what I hope to learn in 2010. At the top of that list is learning what it feels like to move on. I want to find a home for my completed novel, whether that home be under by bed or on bookstore shelves. So, one goal I've set for myself for 2010 is to finish the revisions on my first novel and move on to one of my other two projects regardless of what happens with the first one. Winter is over, and it's time for a new season--time to put the boots away, and bring out the flip-flops. (Unfortunately, according to the local weather men, this won't be happening any time soon.) Out of curiosity, what happened with your first novel? When did you know it was time to move on? If you aren't to that point yet, what would make you ready to move on?

49 comments:

Matthew Delman said...

My first novel went through several revisions over the course of ten years before I decided to "move on" to the one I'm working on now.

I'll be going back to that first work once I get a chance though -- I feel like the story is interesting enough to warrant attention, but I want to tell it in such a way as to make it more powerful than it is right now.

Melanie's Randomness said...

For some reason I never got into those Ugg like boots. I'm odd cuz my feet get WAY too warm & i feel like they are on fire. But anywho.

I'm in the stages of putting all my ideas on paper for my first novel. I have a short story completed for review for my writers group & they loved it so I'm anxious to put the first novel into real words. It's my turn to submit pages every 2 months in the group so hopefully that will be my motivation to move with it & go for it.

Good luck with your revisions & the other projects. I look forward to reading about your progress. =)

Patti said...

Still working on it, as you know. I feel like you though. This is it. Time to put it away and work on something new for 2010.

Just as soon as I read it one more time.

Veronica Barton-Dean said...

Susan-

I'm back and yes I survived the holiday season. Only to make the resolution of...I'm not doing it next year! Of course I say that every year so we'll see:)

I'm working on revisions on my first novel as well. I'm only on the second set so I don't know how much light I can shed on the subject. Thomas has revised though until he can no more and if he doesn't get hits with this year's worth of queries, I think its time to move on. It's hard though, because we grow so attached to those characters that we want to do them justice.

As to the snow, I completely understand. I'm so tire of it! And your right spring doesn't look any closer:(

Michelle Gregory said...

i self-published my first novel, but that was my intent all along. i was thoroughly sick of it by the time i did, but even when i look at it now, i see a lot of room for improvement. currently, i'm sick of the revision process for my first novel's sequel. just want it to be over.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I still wear flip flops--it's 18 degrees today--but we haven't seen snow yet. Ha!

My first novel is buried somewhere and shall be burned if the notion ever strikes. It's not meant for anyone's eyes. :0)

Stephanie Thornton said...

I'm still revising my first, but I've written plenty of other stuff that's buried in the dust. If I can't get Hatshepsut published the traditional route I might resort to self-publishing. We'll see.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm still working on my first, hoping against hope. Within another year or so, though, I'll probably have to put it aside if nothing comes of it. *sad sigh*.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

I'm still undecided when it comes to my first novel.. It needs a lot of work, so that's my first order of business this year. I'm not quite ready to stick it under the bed.

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Technically it is still in the hands of an agent. Hands could very well mean trash can, but I like the sound of hands better. I don't know how not to move on. Or rather, new characters imploded into my mind and I decided to based on their demands. :D
~ Wendy

Dominique said...

My first novel went through a big revision, some querying, a big rewrite, some more querying, and a few other things along the way. Over the time that all took, maybe a year, I learned a whole lot about writing. After some serious thought, I realized this one's place was on the shelf. It was nice while it lasted, but I've moved on.

Heather Sunseri said...

My first novel is under my bed. Really! It's in a green binder under my bed, collecting dust and who knows what. I love the story, but the writing? Not so much. It's also not the genre I hope to be published in, so I've let it go as practice and something fun I did once upon a time.

Kathy said...

My first novel is nowhere. Well, actually it's on my computer. I hate to say it but I sort of lost the comments from beta readers. Not my fault because my husband deleted my emails from my former email account. So I can't retrieve them and can't remember what people said in order to make changes. Therefore, I don't know how to fix it.

Danyelle said...

My very first novel is being guarded by the dust bunnies. So is the second. I wrote them both in a six-month period while my husband was at basic training. While I didn't write them with the intention for them to be practice novels, that's what they were. I've never tried to revise them, because they need to be rewritten before I could do any useful editing, and I have other projects that I love more and that need less work, so I'm going with them. :)

Good luck with this year and your goals!

Natalie said...

It went under the bed where it belonged. I think I knew from the beginning that it was just a practice novel. I learned a lot through writing it though, and most importantly I learned that I COULD finish a whole novel. But it just wasn't publishable. I thought about rewriting it, but I had a shiny new idea that I wanted to work on instead. I'm so glad I decided to move on. :)

New projects are fun. I hope you enjoy yours.

destrella said...

My first MS was a screenplay. I never knew what to do with it. A lot of my bathroom humor in it. Hoping your goals are met in 2010.:O)

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Well you witnessed part of that journey for me. I like my first novel but there are some major plot issues that I haven't figured out how to fix. I decided to tuck it under the bed after rewriting major parts three different times, then receiving a few full and partial requests and getting rejections on those.

I learned a tremendous amount in the process. My second novel worked out a lot better because of that experience. And I haven't ruled out going back to that first book one day and completely reworking it. But right now, I'm sick of it, lol.

As for when to know to move on, that's a personal decision for everyone. But I think you write the best book you can, put it through the wringer with a crit group, query, and while you wait--start writing your next one. The agents and publishers will decide for you at that point. The key is to start that second book because otherwise, you cling to the first like it's your only hope. (Okay, that was long!)

Tere Kirkland said...

Happy New Year!

I finished my first novel, but I was never really happy with the way it was written. So I chalked it up to practice-- or getting the rusty water out of the hose-- and started something new. And something else new. And then something else new. Each one has been better, imo.

I've been thinking of keeping the characters of that first novel and giving them a new story, though. Maybe someday...

Terri Tiffany said...

My first novel was rejected then years later accepted by an overseas publishing house. I withdrew it due to conflicts and now it sits--it really isn't good enough and I know that now. So I have written more and more until I get the one I think is best.

L. T. Host said...

My first novel probably still has some outstanding queries, but it's dead. It's a bit too similar to some other things out there, which makes me really sad because I LOVED the story. Alas. Practice for me, at least.

Janna Qualman said...

Susan, I so feel you on those boots. We just bought my daughters some adorable shoes yesterday, begging for warmer, dryer weather to wear them, but we had to put 'em up for a while. :(

It wasn't until after several months, publisher rejection (without agent representation) and a try or two at rewrites that I hid my first novel away. Practice, I finally chocked it up to. I don't know how I made the decision. I guess much like one chooses to marry; you just know

Kristi Faith said...

My first is floating around on a hard drive with a virus. However, I'm not too terribly upset, because I found that it was more of a collection of conflicts rather than a story. LOL I was in the mode of telling/showing/explaining each event in the book. You know, walking out the door, waking up in bed, taking showers, blah blah blah. LOL

Tamika: said...

I'm still in love with my first novel. I love the story premise and characters. I don't feel at all like chalking it up. Call me crazy, but I think it needs a home on the bookshelves.

If that changes it will have to come directly from above, or else I will never stop believing in it.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Oh, Susan, my first novel still haunts me with wanted revisions as I work through revising numerous others and writing new ones too. I like the idea of your first one ending on book shelves. I'll be praying for that!!!

Karen said...

I'm wearing flip flops today. :-)

As of today, I'm launching full-speed into my current novel. I've put it off for far too long and it's time to just finish this thing!

Suzyhayze said...

I still love my first novel and thing it may get to shine one day... but it danced around with ten (yes TEN) agents and they all passed. I got compliments... I got feedback. It was loved. But I was told more than once that the "Market was saturated with that type of novel"

So now... it is shelved. And I want to go back to it someday, and figure out where the special parts were... and take them out and create something not so ordinary. Until then... new projects are wonderful. I've always been fickle anyway. :)

laurel said...

My very first novel will never see the light of day--I wrote it when I was 17 and it's just a pale knock-off of the fantasy writers I emulated at the time, and really short for fantasy--about 200 pages.

My current WIP is on its second major revision. I'll know to give up when I try shopping it around and get nowhere.

BTW, I have a gift for you over at my blog.

MG Higgins said...

My first novel. What a homely mess, but I love it anyway. I knew it was time to move on when another novel idea started keeping me awake at night, demanding to be written.

Robyn Campbell said...

Susan, you go girl! Do it! I wrote many, many picture books, but Seventy Two Hours is my first novel. And I am preparing to query it next week.

So it can and should be done my friend. Yours will be held and read and loved by many someday soon. :0) Happy New Year.

Cindy said...

Susan, that sounds like a great goal. I hear you about it being time for a new season.

My first novel is long gone. I wrote it so long ago and honestly it was terrible. But it helped me realize how much I like writing and that I have the potential to write complete books.

Angie Muresan said...

My first one is all but destroyed. It was written while I was in high school and it was all about teenage angst. It's a diary of sorts, and an embarrassing one at that, but my teachers loved it and encouraged me to pursue writing. Somehow life got in the way. But here I am now, working on what I consider to be my first.

Anita Saxena said...

After I finished my first novel, long long ago, I sent it out to a few publishers and a contest or two. But no bites. I let a friend read it. And she had a lot of good suggestions. But the more I read it and thought about it. I just knew it just wasn't that good. So I self published a copy just for myself and it sits on a bookshelf, albeit in my home. I looked at it as a rehearsal for the real thing. Practice.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Excellent goal!

My first novel is still undergoing revision...chop chop chop, one word at a time. All the whil, I try to make it more meaningful and beautiful. I have no idea what would make me give up on it. I suppose if everything else I wrote was selling, except that one, then I would know for certain. On that note, I continue to write, always moving on, working on new things. Great topic--great post. Hope the weather turns for you.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

By the way, I came across your blog on Laurel's Leaves ;)

Amy Tate said...

I'm still working on revisions, sigh. Hopefully this will be the final round. I know what you mean about the snow. It's normally in the mid 40s to mid 50s, but we are freezing to death in 24 degree weather! I'm not used to it and I don't like it!

Stephanie L. McGee said...

My first novel I wrote just for fun. I didn't even know it was a novel when I finished it. It was only 100 pages and I called it a short story.

Yeah.

I'm happy with how the story turned out. It would take a lot of work and I'm afraid I might lose the heart of the story in all the revision trenches if I were to go back and revise it. So it sits on my computer where I can read it if I want and smile and remember the good times when I cranked out a novel in a month to a month and a half.

Like I said, I'd no idea it was a novel when I wrote it.

Then this summer I returned to my novel I've been working on and I think that I would move on when I felt that I could no longer see the heart and soul of the story in it anymore after all the revisions are done.

Jill Kemerer said...

I'm ready to move on from my winter boots too. Sigh...

My first attempt at a book "got lost in one of the moves." (That's code for I-tossed-it.)

My first real book is printed in a binder. No, it wasn't publishable, but I'm very proud of that old gal.

Good luck moving on!

Dawn Simon said...

Excellent post. There comes a time when we need to move on to our next book, regardless of what happens to the first.

I hope you get to pull out those flip-flops extra early this year. I don't like super cold weather!

Julie said...

I would love to stuff my first novel in the drawer but I still have 4 full manuscripts in the agent world.

It took finishing another project to make me move on. I think its probably that way for most people. You're so happy to have written a book a second seems impossible.

Once i finished the second i knew i would keep writing and getting better, that's when I was ready.

Name: Holly Bowne said...

When I finally finish my first novel (which WILL be in 2010!), I plan to do exactly what you're doing, Susan. I'll edit it. Polish it. Send it out--most likely over and over again. But I'll definitely move on to the next project while my first novel awaits its new home. (Hopefully on bookshelves and not under my bed!) ;o) Writing a novel isn't only about the end product, right? It's a journey.

storyqueen said...

I think that I knew it was time to move on when I couldn't figure out what to do with it anymore...or maybe it I knew the problem, but had no solution...or...I dunno....there's still hope that some back burner books might move back to the front burner someday...you never know...

Shelley

Girl in My Own World said...

Love those boots! They look really comfy. Uh, I don't think that under the bed is a place for any of your novels. I am just saying. :oP Do you want to know that I wrote my first novel in High School? Yeppers. 12 chapters and then I just stopped. I moved on, but have decided to go back and finish it and make it into a YA novel. I guess that I will not be moving on from any of my work until it is done and out there. I see that as the only option for a gal like me. lol. Good luck Susan!!! Cannot wait to read your novel!!!

Erica said...

Sounds like the weather around here! I've been wearing my boots a lot too :o)

Hmm. My first novel. Well my first couple were so bad, I didn't finish them. I know, I know, we're supposed to finish everything, but really, I didn't want to. So they are happily sitting in a defunct ibook in my closet.

I'm editing my current draft, so we'll see how that goes.

Good Luck with your goal! You can do it :o)

Sara McClung ♥ said...

I'm still in that sticky place where I'm hopelessly in love with my novel... I don't know that I'd ever find myself in a place where I'd give up on it. But if I needed a break I'd find other projects to work on before going back... OR while waiting for progress with the first novel...

Jennifer Shirk said...

My very first book is saved in a file in my computer. I didn't really know about revisions and had no critique partners or had joined any writing organizations. So I was ready to toss in the towel on writing until I got another idea and decided to give it another shot.

I recently looked at the opening chapter of that old first book. I was VERY smart to give up on it. LOL

WhisperingWriter said...

I actually just finished my first novel and am working on revisions. Very tedious at times. Sometimes I'm all, "I am so SICK of reading what I wrote! If I have to re-read this chapter one more time I fear I mean scream!" So I'll step away for a bit and come back to it.

Lily Robinson said...

I'm still on a break from it. Just about ready to get back and finish it. My goal this year is to have it ready to query and start my next project.

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

I've also been wearing boots similar to those since Christmas. I even bought a cheap pair to wear as slippers indoors.

My first book is now being read, but I've since published 2 other books myself. I'm going to do the same with a third soon. Meanwhile, the first one is still in waiting....

Dara said...

My first novel is still hanging in limbo. I haven't given up on it, but I needed a break from it after working on it for three years. I've found that working on my latest WiP has also helped me gain fresh perspective on my last one. I have a feeling I'll return to it when I'm done with my current WiP.