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Lucky Joe
March 9th, 2003, 09:14 AM
Reading a few of the threads lately a question springs to mind.

Just how much importance do you place on your first novel/story?

Have you got so much emotional investment tied up in the project that even if you can see it's not working you just can't let go? Or are you one the lucky ones who believes their first attempt is destined to be the next big thing? Or do you belong to another breed altogether who just shrugs their shoulders and moves on never to think about your early attempts ever again?

I worked on a fantasy novel for over three years and even though I 'sort of' finished it, I knew I could do much better, so I put it aside and worked on something else, I'm pleased to report I recently finished a stand alone Sci-fi novel and that I am extremely happy with the end result - of course I understand there will be a lot more work involved if I ever manage to get a publisher interested but still I feel like I've achieved something - however, I've never really been able to take my mind away from my first project and have attempted to start over, rewrite, come at it from different angles and so on and so on and so on. I'm now convinced that I really need to get some sort of closure with it and rather than attempting a new story with elements of the original I just need to actually finish the original (and be happy with it), once and for all.

Does this sound familiar? And if so can you recomend a good shrink?

March 9th, 2003, 11:47 AM
Strange you should mention this:

The first major project. Not the first story the burbled out of my brain, but the first thing that can loosely be called a "novel", I am at the moment trying to re-edit roughly.

I wanted to see if there is anything there worth saving. I was written mainly 3 years ago and not looked at for nearly 2. I am half way looking through it and have hit the wall of doubt that knocked me to the floor the first time out with this monster (I think it lurks half way through chapter 11.)

All I can say for the work is that the ideas are strong, the story has a beginning and end and isn't too dull. The grammar sucks and I feel the characters are too flat.

After I had finished it it took me six months of dithering and a mound of half started stories and outlines before I started on the next project. And that strangely was based on one of my first ever story outlines. The main plot was there it just needed a character to draw the others together and power them through the story. It turned from a doom laden high fantasy work to a tongue-in-cheek swashbuckler and I seriously think it is the best thing I have written so far...

March 9th, 2003, 05:20 PM
I haven't finished a whole novel yet.

But I have completed my half of two non-fiction books and I've also completed two short stories.

I try not to place too much importance on them as I feel that my writing is continually improving, and so I shouldn't get too upset if my earlier stuff doesn't work out - it's all practice after all.

My only stumbling block came with the last fantasy book (uncompleted). I spent so long worldbuilding and plotting it out that I just didn't want to let go, even when it became obvious that there were aspects of it that meant that at the moment, it wasn't worth continuing with.

However, I have managed to take bits of that book, and use them in my current work in progress, so all is not lost. But yes, I do feel that I want some more closure with the unfinished project than I currently have. So when I finish the WIP I'm going to take another look at the older thing, and see if it looks any better in a clearer, less emotional, light.

I, Brian
March 9th, 2003, 05:37 PM
I wrote my first novel 8 years ago. It was a spoof modern comedy of "Romeo and Juliet". In novel terms it was crap.

But it was the first of many attempted novels that I actually finished. Which was good.

That I sat down and thought really hard about what I would really like to write about most.

Writing that first novel was very useful experience. I never knock experience.

March 10th, 2003, 05:29 AM
My first proper attempt at a story turned into a lengthy novel I wrote in just over a year. I was proud of my achievement and still think fondly of it. It's not good enough to be published, but I know it's readable and far from crap. I've moved on to short stories (which are far superior to my novel) as a way of earning money for my writing, and having even more fun. My novel was a huge stepping stone and I learnt a lot from writing it.

March 10th, 2003, 08:43 AM
Author's as with all other humans, evolve. Your intellect, your vocabularly and your taste will advance. So it's human nature to look back on your older work, especially your first, and think it could benefit from being refreshed.

The first short story I ever completed has just been published, after re-writing, updating the grammar and expanding bits that needed work. It's all about ideas, if that is good the meat can be rejuvinated.

Now I'm trying to rejuvinate the meat in my first novel-length ms, WOW I need a literary abetoire!!!

March 10th, 2003, 03:41 PM
My first novel will never be published, nor probably ever read by anybody but me. It's written on 500 sheets of loose leaf paper sitting in a pile on my desk. I tried to type it, but was horrified at how .... well bad it was compared to what I think I'm capable of now. I've also tried to start to do a rewrite on it, but that's not going anywhere.

Now, as for how important it is, I haven't decided. I wrote that novel over 4 years from the end of high school through my sophmore year at the university. As I look back on what's there, I realize it's sort of as an unoffical journal of my thoughts on the universe and reality and everything else. Just for that, I'm going to hang onto it. I thinkt hat the story presented there has merit, but it's not really trying to get out like my others are so it will sit there for awhile longer.

March 11th, 2003, 04:08 AM
i dont think anything i write later will compare to the joy of finishing my first novel. took me four months of writing all day in a mad haze after about 6-7 months of research.

James Barclay
March 11th, 2003, 05:44 PM
I'm with I, Brian on this one. That first completed novel of mine is in a trunk in my flat and is poor. Idea: all right, execution: naive and derivative.

What it represents is a finished project and that is important. And it was valuable experience in construction. Beginning, middle, end. Building block stuff but I hadn't done that before with any success on anything more than a short story.

So I keep it and look at it every now and again. As a yardstick to measure my development over the couple of decades since I wrote it, it's very educational. Shows how far I've come and how far there is still to go on the journey that never ends.

I will always think of it fondly.

March 12th, 2003, 03:26 AM
I wrote my first novel in the age of 12. It was a Tolkien-clone kind of novel, with a Great Dark Sorcerer hiding behind some mountains, and an Aragorn-like main hero, some halflings, and an old wizard. Yeah, I still have fond memories of it, but the only thing I could use from there in later work is (1) the experience I got and (2) the map I made, which was quit nit! :D

After that I've writen other stuff, but I was still young and undisciplined (e.g., I skiped "not inetersting" scenes in some stories!), and had NO one to talk to about writing, no one who knows the basics to teach them to me. You know it's kind of hard to be self taugh. When the internet came, you can't imagine how many thing I learned (from this forum and from other sites also -- but this site was the first most interesting one I visited, truth no copliment ;) ).

Anyway, what I generaly use from my past work is the experience I got from it.