Another book just about ready to publish

Posted on October 25, 2015 (Subscribe to Blog)

I'm just about finished with editing work to Caleb's World, the third installment of the Sleep Writer series. I aim to publish it before the end of October, and I'll post links when available.

This will be my 15th novel (or 16th if you include a novella), totaling about 1.3 million words. Whew!

When I was at the Dragon*Con convention in Atlanta one year, a panel of editors had some advice for newbie writers. One said, "Write a book, then trash it. Write another book, and trash that one too. Write a third book, and that's the one you should submit as your debut novel." Another was a little more brutal, saying, "Write at least a million words before you try to publish a book."

I agree with the sentiment. I've definitely learned a lot since Island of Fog, and listening to the audiobook version highlights some clunkiness I've moved beyond in more recent writing. But a million words before you try to publish anything? That seems harsh.

Is it, though?

Strictly speaking, Island of Fog wasn't my first written novel. It was just my first published one. I completed a novel before that, along with a novella, several other half-written novels, and numerous short stories, all totaling at least 300,000 words. So you could easily consider Island of Fog my "third" book, making it eligible for publication in the eyes of one of those editors.

Would I ever considering publishing that previously completed novel? Absolutely not. The Secret of Gromble Gorge is kind of a nice idea, if a little too cute. It's like a precursor to Hal and Abigail's adventures: a girl named Rebecca Tinklepott (!) comes across a sad young dragon named Snap (!) who yearns for adventure outside his parents' territory. The world is completely flat with a chasm across the middle, and it turns out there's another world on the underside, accessible only by those brave enough to drop into the chasm.

Looking back, there are a few ideas I'd be willing to salvage from this novel, but there's a lot more I'd ditch in a heartbeat. So it's not worth trying to do anything with. The writing itself is so painfully bad that I'd end up rewriting every single sentence, therefore it would be much easier just to start over with the general plot in mind. Which I sincerely doubt will ever happen.

Anyway, the point is that I wrote (and trashed) quite a bit of stuff before I ever published my first novel, and I think the first few books in the Island of Fog series pass muster despite some clunkiness. I've improved ever since. Nowadays, my writing is much leaner and more tightly polished, and therefore shorter.

Caleb's World is another novel that I never published despite several revisions. Now it's a Sleep Writer book, and much of the content is entirely new. Probably about half of the finished product was in the original in some form, but even that has been thoroughly polished.

Look out for this latest addition to my personal library sometime over the next week!

Comment by LYRA on Monday, October 26, 2015...

Yay! Excited to see what happens

Comment by BRIAN B. on Monday, October 26, 2015...

1,000,000 words? 3rd book?
"Hmph," he said, thumbing the worn pages of his first draft, and realizing how much he hated what he wrote.

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Monday, October 26, 2015...

Oh, I know, Brian B. I know. But it's good that you're thinking that way. Some writers don't, and that's a problem.

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