Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 4 - Guest Post by Kevin Hearne

Completing my first novel changed my life.
It is an utter piece of trash that will never, ever be published, but its importance as milestone for me cannot be overstated.
For the longest time—most of a decade—I couldn’t finish one, and I beat myself up about it. How can I want to be an author, I asked myself, if I don’t feel strongly enough about my work to complete it?
I think part of my problem was taking those writing advice books to heart. I read too many of them and it damaged my brain. All their guidance about how to write, market, and sell your novel—sometimes with competing ideas—banged around my head and had me writing things I didn’t care about for an audience I truly didn’t know. I must have abandoned ten different manuscripts trying to follow their advice on how to write a bestseller.
What changed things for me was when I decided to write for myself. It still took me six years, but I wrote some crazy shit about an eco-terrorist who used those Coleman propane lanterns to firebomb fast food restaurants. The media dubbed him the Green Lantern, and I thought the comic book joke was funny. I threw in a history professor who was trying to find some Aztec gold buried in Arizona five centuries ago. Oh, and he was running from the Russian mafia too.
It made no sense. It’s truly awful. But it had a beginning, middle, and end, and I was highly amused while writing it. Most importantly, I learned that I could finish a book, and that gave me the confidence to start another one. I wrote my next book in half the time. My third book was the one that got me an agent and a publishing deal—and again, I wrote it to please myself. My fourth and fifth books were written in five and six months, respectively, and now I have the confidence to say I can keep up that pace. I owe that confidence entirely to just getting through my first book—my first, unpublished horror of a book. I will always look back on it fondly.

Kevin Hearne is the author of The Iron Druid Chronicles, to be published in Australia by Voyager. You can visit him at http://www.kevinhearne.com and follow him on Twitter @kevinhearne.

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  1. I can actually relate to that... I have many ideas and get really excited about writing... until I actually start to. I can't finish anything I start writing...LOL
    But I must persevere. :)
    Thanks for the advice.

  2. I can so relate to that. I am trying my hand at writing and I am horrible. I just keep writing a few scenes here and there over and over again. I hope that one day I have a finished project that I am able to show off.


  3. I'm right there with you. It's been 10, almost 11, years since I started my first YS book. It's still not done. I'm going to write my first FastFraft pretty soon. When I'm done with that one, I'll finish it, but not before. I think it's important to do what you want. Handle your writing career your way. It can't be about everybody else all the time. It has to be about you, your goals, your life, your limitations. I look forward to finishing a MS and I really enjoyed reading this post.

  4. Sometimes just accomplishing something can boost the confidence in so many ways. Great post!!

    books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

  5. I enjoyed your column. I am a reader (and not a writer) and I do so admire the sheer grit and stubborness it takes to stick with something you really want to achieve. Congratulations.

  6. forgot my e-mail... duh. :P
    kah_cherub at hotmail dot com

  7. thanks for sharing your story. I'm just a reader not (yet) a writer :)

    uniquas at ymail dot com

  8. I think that's a pretty typical story for many writers. Readers can usually tell when the writer is really invested in the story as opposed to just going down a checklist and trying to write what is marketable. I'm glad you have found your voice and I'm looking forward to reading Hounded.

    jen at delux dot com

  9. i can relate to that i have so many idea's i go off into a daydream i try to get them down fast enough. sometimes i can just write at will but i always think things. while all my friends and family are encouraging me. im actually thinking maybe just maybe i can do it.

    im glad you found your way and im looking forward to checking out your work for sure


  10. I can relate to that as well.. I am mostly a reader but do enjoy writing on my spare time. Thank you for sharing your story! I cannot wait to read Hounded and the other two novels in the series!!