distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

Before the Novel was THE Novel

Today, there was a click-through to my blog from an old post I wrote here in 2008. That post was about Imaginary Girls (formerly called Mythical Creatures, so in the old post I called the novel “M”), which I had just begun rewriting from scratch. At this point, I had no idea what would come of the book, and I said this:

M … does not have an official schedule. No deadline. No editor waiting to read it. No outline I am forced to write per the contract, no contract at all. I am writing M for myself only, and nothing may come of it after—I have to know that. That’s the reality of writing novels.

If my previous experience writing novels only for myself is any indicator, I could go off on a bender and spent FIVE YEARS writing a novel that’s too bloated and personal to get published. Or I could spend three years writing and rewriting a novel with a ridiculous concept that I will later use as a doorstop.

No. Not this time.

You know, that could have turned out terribly. I could be sitting here now with my heart broken (again). I’m so grateful that novel turned out to be THE novel, that the moment I was in then was THE moment that changed so much of my life.

The doors that had been closed to me were beginning to open. And I had no idea. You never do, do you? That’s why—if you want to be a published author—you can absolutely never stop trying.


The novel you start (or re-start from scratch!) today could be the novel you publish tomorrow.

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10 responses to “Before the Novel was THE Novel”

  1. Thank you so much for your blog; it continues to be so inspiring to me. I’m currently rewriting (yes, from scratch) a novel about sisters that I started years ago. The writing format is one I’ve never done before and though I don’t yet have a deal or an agent… I love this book. And knowing — however remote the possibility — that someday it might be THE book is incredible to me.

  2. This is so inspiring! Such a timely reminder for me, as I’m about to begin a series that I hope will turn into something worth reading. All the best with your book. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the great post! I think my new novel is THE novel, so it’s excellent to hear that such optimism sometimes pays off in actual success instead of another crushing round of manuscript heartbreak. Congrats! And I’m going to keep writing… and hoping… and doing my best to avoid the five-year bloat you mentioned, since I’ve already done that once.

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