Sunday, April 17, 2011

Your First Novel

As an aspiring middle grade fiction author, midway through renovating my first novel (and I say renovating because it's not revising; it's major overhaul), I'm curious how many writers queried their first novels. In one regard, I can't imagine not querying it simply because of all the time, effort, sweat, and soul poured into it. In another regard, I know first attempts at anything can be horrendous, or even worse.

Since my current WIP is a renovation, maybe I already wrote that first frightful novel, and the reno is now my second. Just for interest sake, no, I did not query that first version. I knew it was dreadful, and shockingly so the more I read it. But its premise seems strong, so I didn't trash it altogether. I kept the foundation - the premise, three characters, and certain historical references.

So today this novel and nouveau writer is seeking advice. Did you query your first work? If so, why? If not, why not? If not yet, will you one day? I fully realize every writer has a varied path. What you do, what others do, and what I end up doing may be disparate. But hearing other writer's stories helps me digest my new surroundings.


  1. I'm currently renovating my first novel as well. So much so that the people who read the first draft will barely recognize it, aside from the names of the characters/setting. I've heard to never query your first novel, but I think if you put the time and effort into making it as polished as you can then why not? My first novel is my baby, and I'd love to share it with the world.

  2. Stickynotestories: Yes! Mine will barely be recognizable as well. And I've heard that same advice on first novels, but I share your view there. If it was worth the work, it's worth moving beyond the work - sharing. Thanks for chiming in.

  3. I trunked my first novel. Sometimes, I might sneak out to the garage and pull it from its resting place, if only to remind myself of what NOT to do. I groan about three pages into it, shove it back in the drawer, and go back to working on its stepchild.

    Maybe someday.

  4. Thank you for the insight, Bryce. That's what I'm hoping this reno is - the stepchild. Only time will tell.

  5. I spent a ton of rookie bucks querying my first draft of my first novel. It is a horrible no good story. But three stories later and a renovation on number 1, I feel I'm almost there. I haven't queried any of the stories. #2 helped me develop characters, #3 is just a draft and #1 is enjoying a comeback ( I have 2 requests for partials after a pitch session). I think you can always reno a story if you love your plot/characters. It's just your writing/storytelling that needs to improve.

  6. The time it takes to make a story really worthwhile is what I'm beginning to see. It's both disheartening and enlightening. Writing is most definitely a process not to be rushed.


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