>Lessons Learned From My First Novel

>After a year and a half of false starts and missteps, revisions galore, and quite a few smackdowns from my sister, Dead Locked is finished and for that I am extremely grateful. I’m the first to admit my little book has a lot of imperfections – some bruising here, a scar or two there – but it came time to send it off into the world and now there’s no looking back. Well, almost.

I still think of things I could or should have changed. But in the end, there’s no denying (or faking) that I’m still learning how to construct a well-written novel. I keep reminding myself that I could rewrite for all eternity and it would never be perfect. And as it was, I was ready to take the hard-earned lessons from Dead Locked and share them with my next novel.

And learn I have. At times, I really thought Dead Locked hated me, which is absurd of course. (Books can’t hate their authors – can they?) And the problems often came down to my own neuroticism. But I do love to write and I take a lot of pride in writing well. So though I know DL will hardly be my best work ever, I put everything I had (and more sometimes) into it.
So other than learning (again) that writing is hard, what else have I come away with? Well, I learned a lot about my novel writing process. I discovered (as a life long pantser) that a little plotting is a good thing, but too much plotting for me is very, very bad. I started walking the tightrope of tension and pacing. And unwittingly, I took a crash course in handling a heap of necessary background information in the form of flashbacks (hopefully with success!).
I am most proud, however, of my character development. With each project, I often have a focus, something I want to improve. With DL, I wanted to create the most alive, vibrant characters I’d ever envisioned. And I definitely succeeded in that department. Overall, I understand a lot more about how to make a novel tick now, and I’m looking to the future to apply what I’ve learned more fully. I’m also buckling down on things I know I need to work on.

My next book is already well underway and I’ll unveil the details about that in December. Until then, there are still two days left to download Dead Locked for free by entering KR98Q at checkout. The response has been awesome and I appreciate all the fabulous support and encouragement. And I do hope you enjoy my first, slightly imperfect, novel.

Photo by Seth Sawyers

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