ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Your first novel is not any good. D is for Discouraged? or D is for Determined?

Howdy friends!

I'm just checking in from e-book Boot Camp. Had an introductory session last night and there's two long days to go. Today we get to try various digital media and tomorrow we get to format/publish our own work using Pressbook. I have so much to share with you already, but you'll have to wait! Now to my pre-scheduled post...

Well seeing as many writers may be busily tapping away scratching out that first novel during NaNo or just for their own tortuous needs, I wonder where those first novels will end up? Seeing as they'll not be any good!

You agree? There's no use looking for an agent/publisher for your first book because you know that you're no good until novel number three, right? Well, I've heard this a lot and it has affected my attitude to my first two novels knowing that they probably aren't any good 'cause people in the know say so. Better just leave them languishing on my flash drive.

I was browsing through a Writers Digest magazine when I should have been penning a novel during NaNo (and it is likely to be pretty darned good seeing it's novel number three) when I saw an interview with Sue Grafton (of the alphabetical series of mysteries, you know. M is for Murder etc). She ended the interview by declaring that first-time novelists shouldn't bother fishing for a literary agent because they've only written one book and therefore, "you're not any good yet." Well she's allowed to have her opinion but it is pretty discouraging all the same.

Has Ms Grafton forgotten first-time novelists Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, S.E. Hinton or Alice Sebold and that's just for starters? How about all the successful blogger/novelists we know like, well, lots of you! Give me some names in the comments just in case I haven't read your debut novel!

After I read the first article dissing first-time novelists some time ago, I've made a point of reading many debut novelists, and man, they've been good. So much blood, sweat and beers, er tears, goes into that debut novel, and judging by some second and third novels I've read by best-selling authors, the first one is sometimes the stand out!  I'm just reading for the second time, 'The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul' by Deborah Rodriguez as part of my Afghanistan research project. You guessed it, a stunning debut novel. So I'm not Discouraged, I'm Determined. How about you?

BTW, I set myself the goal of reading 100 books this year! I'm well past 100 and it's only November. 


  • Do you know any great debut novels?
  • Do you agree with Sue Grafton? Should first and second novels be relegated to our own slush piles?




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