My mind made up, in November of 2011, I wrote a novel , in a month: 50 000 words in 30 days (see NaNoWriMo for more).
It was hell. But it got me off my arse.
Now I know what you’re thinking. 50 000 words is hardly a novel, but believe me it adds up. That’s 1667 words per day and If you think interest compounds, you should try word count. Miss a day and suddenly you’re up over 3300. Chug a couple of beers on the weekend and you’re staring down the barrel of 5000 words while Sunday night’s KFC bucket churns your Monday morning guts to fish oil, easy.
It taught me a lot about discipline and zero about craft. In this game you need both. But first you need discipline. It was a valuable lesson for someone who put the Pro in Procrastination.
I spent over a year scrubbing that story before submitting it to an editor for review. He liked some of it but not all.
He was right.
I hacked out the broken bits and re-forged them anew, polishing the whole shebang until it glistened like the tears in my navy blue eyes.
And so, my life-long crusade complete, I submitted my manuscript to a couple of mainstream publishing houses and provisioned myself for the long wait. The time-frame they gave me for a response was anywhere between 3 and 6 months.
In fairness they rejected my manuscript well before that.
But, the rejections, while harder to swallow than a suppository, were very encouraging and I took a lot of heart from one in particular which read as follows (***titles and names cunningly removed***):
At our recent editorial meeting we spent time reviewing (***). Unfortunately we will not be offering to publish your novel – but only because we don’t publish (***) fiction. We thoroughly enjoyed your manuscript – the plot is compelling, your writing is original and highly readable, the characterisation and dialogue are convincing … I could go on. (***) is in the process of setting up an imprint that publishes (***) and (***) fiction, and we have sent your manuscript to the publisher there. I hope that she enjoys (***) as much as we did.’
I’ve retrieved my sword, dusted off my shield and straightened my visor. By the time you read this I will be charging headlong toward the E-publishing dragon…. ‘Yipppee ki yayyy!!’
Hang around, there’s sure to be more gore.