Thursday, February 6, 2014

Be Very Afraid!

       I have to admit, I’m afraid to go back and look at some of my earlier efforts. I’ve been writing for over thirty years, so there’s a fair accumulation of unpublished works. I started off by writing full length novels, of course, didn't we all? One of my earlier efforts even got an "ask to see" by a publisher. (More on that one later.) Somewhere about my third try at a novel I decided to write a fantasy trilogy. When the first volume in the story didn’t sell, I decided I would have to finish the epic so that a publisher could see I was really able to complete three linked novels. So I did.

       The day job kept cutting into my time and energy and production and submissions tapered off.

       While all this was going on I was dutifully sending out manuscripts to one publisher at a time, (remember no multiple submissions allowed!) and while waiting for the inevitable rejection letter, which might take a year or two, I’d go ahead and write another novel. Between novels I’d dash off a short story on the theme of the latest anthology. I remember two short stories being rejected by editors with the comment ‘This sounds like it should be a novel.’ Eventually I won a short story contest, then made a sale to an anthology. When I sat down across from my current publisher I pitched a couple of completed projects, and strangely enough she asked to see them.

       When I first started writing, it was the pen to notebook method. This was quickly followed by a manual typewriter, then an electric. When my raffle ticket on a football game came in I splurged and bought a Commodore 64 computer. What a difference that made. Which reminds me, the early novel that was requested by a publisher (and sat there for a year or two) was finally rejected. There's a hard copy somewhere, but the original was created on the Commodore 64. To bring it up to date to submit now, I would have to either copy it from the original printed copy, if I can locate it, or set up the old Commodore, and try and copy it on to my laptop off the screen. Good grief!

       Then there's my original trilogy masterpiece. It went from typewriter, to Commodore, to my more modern Dell. It does exist electronically, but I’m afraid to look at it. I suspect it’s in serious need of a major overall before I'd dare show it to a publisher, again. After all, I hope my writing has improved somewhat in those 30+ years. Maybe I'd be better off burying it and writing something new, but then, I did spend all those years working on the thing. If I look at the beast now, I’m afraid of what I might find. Very Afraid.


The Dark Lady - February 2012
Housetrap - December 2012
Knight’s Bridge - March 2013
The Queen’s Pawn - April 2013
Dial M for Mudder - July 2013  
House on Hollow Hill - Sept 2013
Hounds of Basalt Ville - Nov 2013
The Housetrap Chronicles Volume One - Jan 2014


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

You might be pleasantly surprised. Aside from the usual beginner's mistakes and changes in the style book, the enthusiasm, infectious in your early work, can inspire you.

Jude Johnson said...

I have a friend who was able to mine her "put-aways" after a good number of years for at least five novels that are selling quite well. The good thing is, your stories don't rot. The bad thing is that there is no fermentation process to improve them--except in your creative mind. So be brave, take a look, scream if you feel the need--then let the muse take over.


Big Mike said...

I've done exactly that, and lord what a difference between my first and 20th project. I deserve some credit for polishing my muse but most of the atta girls go to my editors. What a wealth of knowledge.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Gabriella Austen said...

I agree with Julie, my earlier work may be loaded with all sorts of dreadful passive voices and overuse of conjunctions, however, (see I just love conjunctions) as I've reviewed them, some of them aren't half bad.