A Brief History of My God Damned Novel

I am currently working on Rat v10.0. There is no fucking end to this. Why the hell did I want to be a writer again?

Before I jump into that, a few updates:

The Genre Hustle - I met with my Genre Hustle co-hosts to get season 3 rolling. We have an exciting season planned, including more guests, some special episodes, and a new release day. More to come on that, so be sure to stay tuned at www.genrehustle.com or by following the Genre Hustle social media accounts (Twitter and Instagram).

Murder Park After Dark, Vol II - My friend Karter Mycroft put out Murder Park After Dark Volume II and made Volume I available in paperback form. My short story “Seeds” is in Volume II and “Funeral Director” is in Volume I. If you’d like a quick spook, check out Volumes I and II on Amazon.

Now, back to this novel.

I started writing Rat in August of 2016. Jesus, writing that out is painful. Coming up on three years. Anyway, started writing it in August 2016. I finished my first draft some time in early 2017. I printed it out, all excited and bright-eyed, and began my first edit. I was submitting chapters to my bi-weekly critique group, Speculative Ink, while going through with a pen and marking the thing up like I was a three year old with a sharpie.

I lost steam, though. I wasn’t happy with the draft and wasn’t sure where I needed to take it. I spent that summer re-thinking everything and then when NaNoWriMo 2017 rolled around, I set myself up for my first re-write. And guess what? I did it. I did the whole re-write in November 2017 and had a shiny new draft. I gave it a once-through and submitted it for beta read to my critique group.

In January 2018, my critique group and I met up for my first beta critique. It was rough, but it wasn’t terrible. I got some great feedback, but I did feel like the wind had been taken out of my sails. It took me several months of writing, submitting, re-writing, and trying to figure things out before the next NaNoWriMo (November 2018) rolled around.

Once again, I banged out a whole, outlined draft. By this point, I’d learned so much through my critique group, the podcast, reading, researching, and just steeping in the writing community, that I felt much more strongly about my draft.

But I wanted to do better.

A couple more rounds of edits, and Rat v8.0 was ready for beta critique. Once again, I submitted my draft to my critique group for beta reading, as well as about 20 other friends and family. Check out my blog post from June 14th titled “Betas” to read how that went.

Fast forward a couple weeks and July starts. I dive into the re-write/edits. And I lose all steam. I hit this wall and lose all motivation. Am I ever going to see the end? Is this worth the extra work I’m going to have to put into it? Will I ever get it where it needs to be? Am I good enough to get it there?

I know. Yikes.

So, I took a step back. Or away, rather. A week or so later and I’m just now getting back into it. I came back and realized I didn’t need to make as drastic a change to the story as it seemed. I mean, it still is a bunch more writing, but I can save about half of what I’ve already written. Then I have to write more on top of that.

I re-re-re…-outlined my novel, taking into account what was already there and what I wanted to change based on the beta feedback, and I feel like I have a solid outline to work with now (again). I’m going to submit it this Sunday for critique and then give it another week to foment and to process the feedback I get from my writer friends and then I’ll jump into Rat v10.0.

Look out for my novel coming Fall 2099.

Just kidding.

Anyway, I hope me sharing my awkward, annoying process with my first novel gives someone out there a little… shit, not hope, necessarily. I don’t know how anyone could get hope from that story. But maybe commiseration? Maybe there are those of you out there struggling, too, and knowing you aren’t the only one could help. I know hearing that from my writer friends helps me.

And why do I write? After all this? It’s a bit of a rhetorical question, really. I’m never actually going to give up. I write because it’s literally the only thing I want to spend my life doing. Even cooking, which I am super passionate about, doesn’t rank in comparison. I’m not out here taking cooking classes and trying to be a chef. But I am out here sweating and bleeding into my god damned keyboard for my god damned novel.

Rat is going to see the light of day.

Hit me up on Twitter, Instagram, or in the comments below and let me know how your Camp NaNoWriMo is going. Or, if you’re not doing NaNo, how’s your WIP? I want to hear about your energy levels and what your progress has been.

Be good to one another and good to yourselves, too. Until next time.

A.P. ThayerComment