Finished First Draft

andyBig day! I finished the first draft of my novel last night (though with the way I’ve been editing as I’ve gone along, it feels like maybe a second draft). Many folks have asked me what happens now, and here’s the answer:

  • I get some people to read it and give me feedback
  • I do a little more research to make sure things are set
  • I continue to polish, polish, polish
  • Once I feel like I’ve got something good, I start shopping for agents

I’ve always known that I wanted to go the traditional publishing route, for many reasons. I’m absolutely not sure of the timeline on this. I keep saying I’ll polish this winter and spring, and start looking for agents in spring/summer. Then we’ll go from there!

I’ll write about this in another post, but I managed to write this novel while working fulltime (40 hours) and doing a parttime master’s degree. Still not sure how I managed that. And this novel only took me 14 months to write, too. I started it last October while I was in Chicago at the STORY conference after having taken a whole year off from writing. This is what I jumped back in to, and I never looked back.

More news to come!

3 Rules for Writing a Novel

maughamI came across this quote the other day from W. Somerset Maugham: “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” (To be clear, I came across this quote on Pinterest, so who knows if Mr. Maugham even said it…) First, there is truth to this. Writing a novel is a completely subjective experience, and every single person will do it differently: at a different time of day, at different speeds, with different prep work, etc. But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t try to give you three rules for writing a novel. Here goes: Continue reading

Cure for Writer’s Block: Training Your Novel

Thinking. Daydreaming. Imagining. Reenacting. Always priming the pump.

Often, when we sit down to write we put our fingers to the keyboard and expect the story to come out without doing the legwork to bring the story about. Are you constantly thinking about your characters so often that you know them, that you know how they would react in a scene? Continue reading

Never Lose the “What If”

How do you go about coming up with the idea for a novel, or any creative story for that matter? The most important tool in a writer’s toolbox is the question “What if…?” and I am not the first to give this advice. The creation of a story happens when you ask “What if…?” What if a stranger appeared in this person’s mundane life to challenge him? What if a normal voyage suddenly went terribly wrong? What if people lived forever? What if these two types of personalities were put in a room together?

targetship1That’s how the idea for my novel came about. Growing up we would vacation on Cape Cod, and we would always see the Target Ship, which was an old World War II Liberty Ship that was scuttled in Cape Cod Bay in the ’50s and used for target practice by the Navy before it was left to rot. So every year we would go to the beach on the bay and see this old, rotting ship in the distance, and it became a source of fascination for me. At the beach we happened to go to were a few houses with unencumbered views of the water. One time I thought, “What if there was a man who had served on that ship during WWII, and who loved that ship and was obsessed with that ship so much that he moved to one of these houses to be near it?” And my novel was born.

What situations do you find yourself in? What things fascinate you? What can you ask “What if…?” to? You may find yourself suddenly with a story to tell.

Writing Tip: Enough With the TV Already

retro-tv-1161476-639x825Here’s a writing tip: Stop with the television. I’m serious. Turn it off. Walk away. Call and change your cable subscription. Smash the damn thing. This goes for Netflix and Hulu and all the streaming services, too. You need to call it quits, it’s killing you as a writer. Here’s two reasons why: Continue reading

Writing a Novel

cropped-typewriter2.jpgSo, I’m writing a novel. I’ve been working on it for the past year, and as I’ve been talking about it to friends, they’ve asked me about what it’s like to write a novel – some are readers who are curious about the process on how a novel gets created, some are fellow creatives who have different approaches towards writing and creation. I’ve been writing for a while and it seems to me a pretty unromantic process, yet there’s so much passion and research and creation involved in it that people either don’t know about, or know about and are interested in learning more. So I figured I would write about that process here: What it’s like to write a novel, what it’s like to time manage writing a novel (I’m doing it while working full time and doing a master’s degree), what my research has been like (Baltimore, WWII Liberty Ship tour), what making narrative choices is like (POV, etc.), what it’s like to completely change an ending and why (yes I did), and more. Hopefully some of these posts will be interesting to those who are curious what the process is like, and helpful to those who are going through the process as well. And I definitely welcome questions – if there’s something you would like to know, drop a question in the comments.

More to come soon.