Last week I let you know that I’d officially started work on my new novel. You remember, the comedy/fantasy/satire/adventure/romance. Haven’t figured out a title for it yet, but that will come in time.
It’s a funny kind of feeling starting out on a novel-length work. Particularly since it’s not something I’ve done for quite a while. Almost ten years, to be exact.
To anyone who has followed my releases over the last few years, this might seem surprising. After all, since I first began publishing in 2011, I have now released ten titles. That’s an average of just under two a year. And three of those have been novels. So how on earth can it be almost ten years since I last began a new novel?
Numbers can be deceptive. While I’ve been publishing for around six years, I’ve been writing for a lot longer than that. I first made a serious decision that I wanted to be a writer well over twenty years ago. That was when I began working on my first novel, titled The Santa Project. It was a kind of scifi/comedy (surprise) and I produced a number of drafts. I sent it around to a few publishers (this was way before the days of simple electronic self-publishing) and actually got some quite good feedback, but no bites. In the end, it disappeared into the back of the filing cabinet. It was the first try – the practice run. I suspect all writers with some experience have one of these.
Taking the rejection in my stride, I didn’t stop. I continued to produce both long and short works over the next ten+ years. This meant that by the time I discovered electronic self-publishing, I already had a significant “backlist”, as follows:
– a completed first draft of A Fate Worse than Death – first begun in 1997.
– several drafts of Doodling – first begun in 1998.
– several drafts of Magnus Opum – can’t remember exactly when I started but I think it was probably around 2002.
– several drafts of Flidderbugs – first begun in 2007.
– around half a first draft of Through the Flame – first begun in 2008.
– several chapters of Scribbling – first begun in 2010.
– a heap of short stories for children, including the original draft of Thomas and the Tiger-Turtle.
This makes it easier to understand why I’ve appeared to be so prolific as a publisher over the last few years. Most of the works were already substantially written. They just needed to be finished off, fine-tuned and edited to be ready for publication. And the three works that I have begun and finished since the release of Doodling in 2011, Scrawling, Dinosaurs and Maddie’s Monsters, have all been shorter works.
Starting a longer work is different. Suddenly, I’m looking at things on a much larger scale. I need to invent richer characters, invest much more in backstory and settings, and develop a plot that will take readers on a far more substantial journey.
It’s been a while since I’ve had to think like this. It’s more than a little bit nerve wracking. But it’s also kind of fun. I think I’m up for the challenge.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as