Accomplishments vs. Sensed Failures

I proofread chapters 1 and 2 of Devil’s Blood 2: Siren’s Snare this morning. I’m proofing the final draft in November, and my deadline isn’t until April 1. I might even push the book out early; that’s exciting.

I’m feeling accomplished today. I fell in love with the feeling of finishing a draft after I finished my very first draft of Devil’s Blood. I, a simple college student, had written an eighty thousand word novel. That’s a feat; everyone’s got an idea for a book, or a TV show, or a movie, but few of those people push themselves to see those ideas into dreams, and fewer still see those dreams into reality.

Compared to all the people who’ve written books, I know it might not seem like a big deal, but it is. Think of how it felt when you hadn’t yet put pen to paper (fingertip to keyboard), and there were all these other books on the shelves. Finished products. Polished stories. Interesting and loved characters. Did you feel envious? Did your inner writer pout because someone else had done what you wanted to do? I felt that way. Hardcore jealousy and downright spite at authors that were getting praise, glory, and money.

So, I set out to write my book. And I did. It wasn’t easy; that first finished draft was not a finished story. It was full of forced exposition, passive voice, adverbs, useless introductions, and lacked character development, a solid plot, and a put-together setting. It took several drafts and whole-novel revisions to get it from that point to the finished product. I went through several beta readers who told me the bad news straight – the story wasn’t good. The story itself wasn’t bad, but the way it was written didn’t entice.

Piece by piece, I rewrote, revised, deleted, added, and sculpted. My novel got a face-lift and a tummy tuck and a boob job. It barely felt like the same, but it was better. One goal of mine is to find that original draft and post it here for other writers to see the difference in where I started and where I went. I can preach about adverbs and folding exposition all I want, but examples and practice are better teachers.

I wish those “accomplished” moments lasted, but they don’t. Failure seems dominant. I’ve lost contests, received rejection letters from literary agents, and sat and waited for my indie writing career to take off like a rocket with the debut novel; it didn’t. I’m still a no-one on the indie writer sphere, but I published a novel that I’m proud of. That in itself is a major accomplishment, so why doesn’t it feel like it all the time?

Maybe it is because literally anyone can publish anything on Amazon; the number of badly written books makes it hard for good books to be seen and found. No one wants to wade through the ocean of bad to find the good.

Another of my goals of this site is to find those diamond-in-the-rough indie books and bring them some attention. Unfortunately, I’d rather not wade through the bad books, either.

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