WRITING A FIRST NOVEL
My first novel, a children's story called ANTics took 10 years to write.
Wow! I can hear you say.
Well, it's a bit of a story in itself. Here's what happened...
I didn't set out to write for children. ANTics is a fun, fantasy adventure involving three ants and is based on a dream after watching a group of ants carry a potato crisp back to their nest. They were amazing to watch and that night, they crawled into my dream and a story was born.
That was a decade before I published it.
Why did I take so long?
Well, it wasn't what I planned. I had written stories for newspapers for more than two decades and was used to writing quickly and to deadlines. I wrote the first draft in about 30 days. At the time, I had developed Repetitive Strain Injury, a condition that caused pains to my hands, wrists and arms, from repetitive actions such as shorthand and typing. As a newspaper reporter, I did both these repetitive actions on a daily basis.
How RSI affected me
Life was really stressful as I struggled to get through each day. My hand would go into a starfish-shaped spasm while clutching my pen and sometimes I felt like the top of my hand had been hit with a hammer while wrapped around the mouse. Everyday tasks like cutting vegetables or turning a key in a lock could cause a painful spasm. I like to play golf but it was a nightmare. I was terrified to hit the ball in case I hit the ground and hurt myself. That's exactly what I did. I would play three or four holes and have to come off the course.
My writing was put on hold
The upshot was, I had to quit my writing dream. It was just too painful to type during the day and again in my spare time. I retired a couple of years ago, rested my little paws for a few months and was looking for interests to occupy myself. As much as I love golf, it wasn't something I wanted to do everyday. So U decided to go back to my writing. I have lots of ideas for novels jotted down and tumbling around in my head but thought, hey, why not go back to ANTics as the first draft was already written. So I did.
Fulfilling my childhood dream
Children often have lots of ideas of what they want to be when they grow up. One of mine was to be an author. So I reworked the story, developed the characters and in the process learned a lot through editing, particularly from other authors I've met through social media. I am self published because I didn't want to waste any more years looking for an agent/publisher. I have enjoyed the experience, though formatting is not my forte, as I struggle with most things technical. I've had some great reviews for ANTics and have now written a sequel, which I'm editing. Ideas keep popping into my head and so I don't forget them, I keep a notepad with my at all times to write them down - even under the bedcovers by torchlight. It's a mad journey but a fun one.
If you are an author, I'd love to hear about your first novel writing experience.
To read a sample of ANTics clock HERE
Thanks for reading and don't forget to keep reaching for the stars