Way back in 2010, I completed the draft of a book which had the provisional working title of “A lethal Legacy”. This was a thriller, written as part of an original “plan B”. It was attempted as much as anything, just to prove that I could do it. As with so many writers’ first books, since then it has been consigned the back of a drawer. At the time of writing, the publishing industry was going through the biggest changes since the invention of the printing press, with the advent of e-books and with it, self publishing. In the initial phase, I chose not to go down that route and stuck with the traditional method of punting the draft around various agents. No agents nibbled, so into the drawer it went and I got on with other projects.
The publishing world has stabilized somewhat since then, with self publishing of “e-books” now the established norm, rather than the exception. There are also boutique publishing houses, which may be the way to go. One day it might be fun to self publish, but let’s see.
One thing that writing a full length novel, as opposed to a novella or short stories, has taught me, is just how much work is involved. It took the better part of six months and eleven re-writes to get the book to the stage it was then. A lot of the work was put in to ensure continuity and to make not only the plot, but also writing style, hang together. Writing my own book enabled me to better appreciate not only the hard work, but the skill of other writers. It also made it easier to spot the short cuts some writers take to churn out a book, without going through the rewrites and paying attention to continuity. I am sometimes left feeling cheated when reading a book that has obviously been pushed out there before it has been properly reviewed and edited. Some of our best known authors are guilty of this. You know who you are!
The current status of the book is that it has undergone re-write number twelve, after which it has a new title (“The Lotus Legacy”) and some renamed characters. Re-reading the draft after the intervening period, I can see that I committed a few rookie mistakes. For one, I thought I had removed all those annoying cliched phrases and circumstances, but a fair number were still there. For another, I struggle with the pace of a thriller, specially in the opening chapters. The re-write dealt with some of the issues, to the extent I don’t feel embarrassed to show people, but some would require too much alteration to be worthwhile. I will move on to the next project and learn from my mistakes.
I have since made a start on a new book. This one will be in a different genre, forsaking the thriller in favor of comedic writing. The working title is “Plum Posting”. More about this as it takes shape.