First, let’s back up. My writing took rough shape when I won a writing contest at age 12, It was a short story about my cat, called Mog and it won me a year’s pass to our local movie theatre and a little publicity in our local paper. I don’t remember all the details, but the movie pass was wonderful, and opened my eyes to cinema, stories and characters. My next claim to fame was a high school textbook, co-authored and well received with several reprints. I wrote my first novel – 3 WISE MEN – following an idea about the power of perfume and the details fell into place after a trip my wife and I took to Europe. I self published and was able to revise and improve over several months. So, what did I learn from writing this first novel:
Start you second novel as soon as possible as it will always be better
I guess I need to qualify what “better” means. It can be summed up this way; a second novel will most likely have more nuanced themes and a more interesting/complex plot with improved conflict, characters with depth, and be a more fulfilling story for your readers. I can remember being quite angry at the thought that “your first book is always your worst’ but, in some ways, it is. In my case, I made several re-writes of 3 WISE MEN that improved it. However, even after several great reviews, I agree that first books are lacking the quality of subsequent ones. My second manuscript was built on the lessons of the first and, by this stage, I had a greater sense of my personal writing style. Yes, my first novel was not bad at all (based on reader feedback), but my second has a quality that I know is better, even before an editor gets his or her scissors to it.