A novel revelation

It hit me a couple of nights ago that I no longer want to pursue publication for Lifelines. It’s not that I think it’s bad, because I don’t: I think it’s a good novel, a very enjoyable read – but it’s not what I want to be known for as a writer.

At best, Lifelines is a mainstream novel with very mild fantasy elements. The bulk of what I write is firmly entrenched in the realm of speculative fiction. Lifelines was the beginning of novel writing for me, and from there my style and tastes have evolved. I’m proud of it, but it’s not where my passions lie and I can’t see myself writing anything else along the same lines.

It’s been a wonderful learning curve, and I really enjoyed my time with all the characters involved but I don’t want to invest any more in it. I was planning on giving it another polish before starting to submit it again. Then I started thinking that right now is not the best time to submit it anyway – if by some chance miracle it got accepted by an agent/publisher, I’m not really in a position to devote the time and energy to it that would be required with revisions and edits, or marketing.

Which led to me realizing that I actually don’t want to publish it anyway. It was something I was doing as the end of the natural cycle: write, get feedback, revise, edit, submit.

Lots of friends and family have enjoyed the story, which is more than enough for me. I can consider Lifelines a success because it pushed me in ways I hadn’t experienced before, and gave me back my lust for telling a good tale, for entertaining an audience.

I’m quite sure it will see more readers – I’ve yet to get the revised edition out to the people who wanted to see how I rewrote it, and hey, maybe I will knock it up into an ebook at some point and offer it for free. Who knows.

All I know is that this is one novel I’m not submitting to agents/publishers. It has served it’s purpose well, and for that I am grateful.


9 thoughts on “A novel revelation”

  1. Maybe it is the framework for something else – a novel which hasn’t (as yet) presented itself to you. Don’t discard the work you have done on it, because you might find yourself returning to the story with a new element which brings it closer to the other material you are actively pursuing.

    1. It’s not being discarded: it’s been well loved and will continue to be read by friends and family. I may even offer it for free from the blog or something, who knows? I can’t rule out other things happening, but I have to be clear about my goals and this particular novel has completely served it’s purpose, for which I will always be grateful.

  2. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a writer is that not every single manuscript needs the public eye. Some are meant for other things, and the acceptance of that fact is as important as the writing itself.

    Writing is a craft, each individual project with its own merit and place, like rungs on a ladder. In this day of instant gratification, self-publishing, etc, the realization of just what sort of writer you would like to be is a precious notion, the awareness of career path (and genre) clear in your head. Well done in discovering that gem of knowledge… πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Anna πŸ™‚ I feel completely at peace with this decision. I had a lot of fun with Lifelines, and am pleased it has had some readers who’ve enjoyed it too. That’s enough.

  3. I think writers write a ton of things that are never published, or are even meant for publication. So much of it is personal, or experimentation, or sometimes jsut not something we want to share. What I find interesting about your experience is how our aims can change.

    1. Life is about change isn’t it?
      I used to be a writer who believed that I could write whatever I wanted to in any number of genres, but now I know that’s not really who I am. That was me trying to assert my freedom, and me being aware that many of my friends and family are just too squeamish for some of the things I will write. Me being worried that if I tapped into the deeper stuff, the more confrontational, uncomfortable, truthful stuff, they’d look at me different.
      But I write for me, and they’ll just have to take me as I am. I think this is an inevitable part of being more comfortable in my own skin.
      Which is not to say that I’ll only ever write speculative fiction from now on, but it’s where I’m drawn to most and we have to follow our passions when it comes to things like writing.

  4. Interesting post about a well thought-out decision. It can be hard for us writers to abandon our “babies,” but I admire you for making the hard choice to do just that. I especially appreciated your comment that, should you get an editor or agent, you’d rather have them take something that is more representative of the writer you are NOW. Something that you will enjoy working on and promoting. Good for you!

    1. Thanks Julie πŸ™‚ I think I’ve been subconsciously considering this for awhile now, but it was time to make my decision official and to explore the reasons why I was making it.

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