I have made the terrifying decision to commit to writing a novel. I’ve successfully been writing, submitting, and occasionally getting accepted to short story anthologies for a few years now. I feel like I can legitimately call myself an author.
I have grown tremendously as an author these last few years. Every story has been an opportunity to grow, every rejection a lesson (sometimes you own that a story wasn’t ready, or that sometimes a story is solid and just didn’t work for this anthology), every acceptance a special thrill.
When I was a child, I loved books. I still do. I’ve always looked at authors as magical beings-they create worlds and populate them, they invent people who I care about as if they were real, and best of all they share those people and worlds with me.
I regard authors like Anne Bishop, Maureen Johnson, Alison Tyler, Susan Kay, Lillian Jackson Braun, Mercedes Lackey and countless others in the same way other people sit in awe of athletes, musicians, actors and so forth.
I respect them, but like a sports team, there can be bad seasons. Mercedes Lackey-every Valdemar book after either the Winds or Storm trilogy depending on my mood has sucked to the point where I’ve had to abandon the series. Yet her Vanyel trilogy of Magic’s Pawn, Magic’s Pride and Magic’s Price remains a pivotal series in my development as a person because Vanyel was the first gay person I’d met and cared about.
Then there are the amazing seasons. I reread the Jewels series by Anne Bishop regularly because I’ve grown to love those characters so much I want to visit with them regularly. I reread Gone With the Wind every few years because my opinion of Scarlett and understanding of her actions has changed dramatically as I’ve aged-what I found impressive as a teen looks the poorly thought out impulses of an idiot 16 year old from the lofty age of 34.
I want to do that. I want to be the kind of author who leaves you wanting to know what happens next, to see more of my worlds, and inspires you to care about my characters. I truly hope that people feel that way about my stories, especially my new acceptances when the anthologies they’re included in come out.
But the dream has always extended past short stories. I want to write a book where I’m not one of many, and you buy it because my world intrigues you.
That is what I’m embarking upon-writing my first full length novel. I’ve hired Jessica, who is both a personal friend and a professional editor to figuratively crack the whip-giving me deadlines and feedback. Obviously I hope the book will be published. Even if it isn’t, I know the experience will be invaluable in the lessons I’ll learn. With hard work and persistence I believe I will publish novel length stories as well.
I still plan to work on short stories. They provide a break from the world of the novel. As stories are accepted, they help build my resume. Writing credentials may help my novels’ odds of getting fished out of the slush pile.
Wish me luck.