When I was 15, I got the idea that turned into my first novel.
A wizard with self-esteem issues gets pulled into the middle of an assassination attempt on the king. She’s not with the assassins, though. She’s trying to save the king.
(Yeah, I know, the pitch needs work.)
I thought about the premise for about a decade. I added scenes. I added characters. I figured out the structure of the story. I built a world to contain it. And then I got up the courage to sit down and write the thing.
I wrote a first draft. I went back and rewrote the whole book a second time. I set the thing aside for a while and then went back to it. I’m not sure how many drafts I went through, but it was more than three. Then I knew I needed to get other eyes on the thing, and I looked for beta readers.
Beta readers are hard to find. The ones I used weren’t very helpful. They either told me that the book was “good” or all I heard from them was crickets. After waiting on them for a while, I decided that the book was as good as I could make it. It was time to see if I could sell it.
I wrote a query. I even wrote a synopsis. I did my research, followed submission guidelines, and I looked for an agent.
No one was interested.
While I looked for betas and queried, I worked on other stories. I’ve heard many writers say that they trunked the first book they wrote. They say their first book was for practice and isn’t good enough for publication. But I’m not ready to give up on my first. Not yet. I think there’s still something there.
Perhaps I’m naïve.
I don’t think I need to trash what I had and start over. But there are some decisions I made in this story that I now question. So, I thought I’d ask for opinions. And then maybe I’ll revisit this book.
Did you give up on the first book you wrote? Are you still working on it? Do you think a first book has a shot at being something worthy of publication?