I wrote my first novel in 9th grade, and for those keeping track, it was 1998. Yeah… I feel old now. It was called Revelations.
I don’t even remember how long it was, but I do remember I wrote it as this sort of screenplay-esque thing, which was little more than dialog with basic description and action tags.
After that, I wrote a bunch of ridiculously bad fanfiction, but I fancied myself a writer because I could use words like reverberate.
A year later in 1999, instead of partying like it was said year, I rewrote the screenplay as an actual book and hit something like 25k words. It was bad. Terribad.
I then started working on this sort of sweeping space epic fantasy. Even though the only science fiction I had been exposed to was Star Wars.
I wrote about 5k, maybe? I’m not sure, but I stopped because we had to write an origin myth for my Sophomore English class. I remember writing the myth, creating two pantheons that warred over something or another.
I turned it in and my teacher commented that it seemed like I was one of the few students who had even read the creation myth the assignment was based on. I still have no idea what myth she was referring to because I wasn’t exactly the most motivated high school student. I still feel guilty about this from time to time.
When I inexplicably became a junior, I decided to write a sidestory to the original Revelations story. It made it to a whopping 811 words (I looked it up.) The reason it made it only that far was because I had envisioned this three story trilogy for Revelations. This was because, you know, Star Wars was a trilogy. Writing a side story made no sense, at least until the original three books were written.
I wound up writing the second story that year and the third my senior year. They are both horrible, but not that horrible, considering I was eighteen. I still have flashbacks to this scene where one of the MCs is fighting the Norse deity Fenris in the snow.
I graduated high school and started college. I also took this time to write about 5k of an actual swords and sorcery epic fantasy that was, in words, very bad.
I got worried I’d never be a writer at this time because of one teensy weensy fact. My stories weren’t very good. How could I become an awesome writer if my stories were no good?
In 2003, I went back to starting stuff and never finishing, mostly writing stories about a murderer named Donovan and a boy named Joshua. These… are not bad.
I got a little better and began rewriting the third of my novels, greatly expanding on it. Why? Because of the three, it was the best, and required less work.
It was a fool’s errand though because while I learned a lot from this process, I learned something else. No one is going to read book 3 first. LOL
I decided to bite the bullet in 2004 and rewrite the first book again. I added a llama as a character and because of that, called the draft Revelations llama. This story was the first one I actually showed people. Yes mom, it’s the ones where the kids fly over my high school.
In 2005, I got into fanfiction and wrote 850,000 words or more of that stuff. I’ve talked about this before, I think. Part way into this, I decided to redo my first story and worked on it until it hit something like 42k. This was a big deal for me because it was the longest cohesive story, I’d written.
My wife, who wasn’t my wife then, actually read this story in November of that year. She claims it isn’t terrible, but she has to say that.
I put everything aside then and worked on the first Dirge novel for over a year, until 2007. I gave up because it was just too bad. I still read this and cringe.
I wrote what would be the basis for Hatter is Mad next before scrapping it as unusable and wrote Kill it with Magic, hitting a whopping 55k on the rough draft. I wrote and rewrote this and in 2011 joined a critique group that tore me asunder. The book wound up at 67k despite me deleting seven chapters.
So what did I do? I put the damn book in a drawer after 150 plus rejections. I kept a spreadsheet. It was a little frustrating because of those 150 rejections only two agents even asked for pages. Evidently, I suck at writing query letters.
During this time, I decided to write Hatter is Mad. I took all the flashbacks from the pre-Kill it with Magic book and incorporated them into Hatter is Mad. I also wrote about 5k of Fairy Tale and 10k of Abby Banks.
Then I got distracted for a year because of, you know, work and life. It didn’t pan out, and I realized something. It was the end of 2013, and I hadn’t written a word in over a year.
2014 came and I dusted off Kill it with Magic and began revising, finding two awesome critique partners to help me. I picked this story because it was the most promising.
And by September 2014 it was released.
Cue to now, well not now, but like Mayish. I picked up that first Revelations novel and read it. I decided, “Hey, I’m a lot freaking better now. I can make this work.” I rewrote it three times until it made my eyes bleed. I deleted a ton of chapters and rewrote basically everything else. I solidified the mythology of the book and found it much more cohesive after I did so.
I guess all this is to say, I just sent my first novel ever to my editor, and I’m scared to death it’s terrible. But, assuming it’s not, you’ll be able to buy Death’s Mantle: The First Revelation in August.