Finished with My First Novel

I am finally through with my novel, and it is such a relief.  Oh, wait a minute…You think I meant I am through as in I completed it and sent it off to an agent, right? No, I mean I’m through with it as in I’ve washed my hands of it. Stuck it in a drawer where it will sit and rot for all eternity.

It’s such a shame because it was a terrific idea… absorbing, really…and it had complex characters and an intriguing plot and subplots. When I printed it out and read through it for the first time in nearly a year, I couldn’t put it down. In fact, I laughed out loud, guffawed, in fact, all throughout it. You might think that is a good thing, except that the genre of my novel is dystopian literature and political thriller. Not supposed to be hysterically funny. It’s as if Fanny Flag tried to write Fahrenheit 451 or a Tom Clancy novel. The  characters couldn’t really do what they needed to do because they had to have good manners and love their mothers.

The problem is that I’ve been me for too long now, and channeling Ray Bradbury just doesn’t work. Not when I’m more of an Erma Bombeck sort of gal. Am I disappointed? A little because I hate to waste such a good idea. So I’ve been wondering…You know how you go to see movies and on the screen you read, “Based on a novel by________”? Why can’t I sell my idea to some writer who can handle the subject matter, and he or she can write the screenplay? In the opening credits, there could be a line that says, “Based on a great idea by Susan Okaty.”  Do I have any takers?

I really thought this novel was going to propel me into fame and fortune in my elder years. Not that I care about the fame part, but I really was looking forward to the fortune. No, I don’t care about taking fabulous trips or driving fancy cars or living in a mansion. I’d just like enough to buy new cabinets for the kitchen. See? I’m too domestic to write a political thriller/dystopian novel. At least my experience writing 50,000 words in one month showed me that I can write a novel. I just need to find a subject that is more my style. How about this title: “Murder in the Parish Bookstore”? I’ll think about it. Until then, I guess I’m back to blogging.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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55 Responses to Finished with My First Novel

  1. Robin says:

    I do hope you find your buyer. Kitchen cabinets, in my opinion, are not too much to ask for. 🙂

  2. Claire D says:

    I have 3 of them sitting in an old gift box from Macy’s and actually have a red ribbon tied around the box. I have written a novel every ten years for last 30 years and while I find them humorous when rereading them (they are romance and mystery novels not meant to be funny) I can see the evolution of my writing and take satisfaction that I finished each one. Given some time I think you should consider starting a new one – it’s good for the soul!

    • Coming East says:

      I’m looking for a rd ribbon right now, Claire. I like that idea. And I think I will go to the craft store and buy a pretty box for this first manuscript. Maybe I’ll start a new one this winter. Not much is happening around hear after Christmas.

  3. My oh my! Look at all the comments you have on a post about your perceived failure. You lucky old crone you! Maybe your novel is better than you think. Check out SheWrites for some editorial help. Also there is a market for “ideas” in the movie industry. I think it’s called a treatment. You get paid for fleshed-out ideas. Besides I like the idea of dystopia with good manners. Sounds like a leave-it-to-beaver-back-to-the-dysfunctional future. You go girl; you lucky bird.

  4. Pat says:

    Hi, I have several books finished and rotting. We write them because we have to and maybe they’re not our stories to write so they don’t work so well.
    But you finished this. What an achievement! Give yourself a pat on the back, a cup of tea or a glass of bubbly and time to rest. Maybe another idea is in that head, a murder in a bookshop or the supermarket or the Mother’s Union. Maybe you write ‘cosies’ and not futuristic dystopian Ray Bradbury stuff. Or maybe there is a romance busting to get out. And maybe you just got bored with it and need to give it some space before you edit?

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks for the insight, Pat. It was a fun adventure to write it, and maybe I will tackle another idea some day, if the right idea comes along. Actually, I think it doesn’t “come along.” I have to go and search for it, and maybe I’ll do that after Christmas. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  5. judithhb says:

    Hoorah Susan. i had to look up dystopian humour so am impressed that you knew enough about it to write your novel. Do you know that David Baldachi had many rejections before finally having a manuscript accepted and what about that Harry Potter author woman? Look where she has landed. So congratulations on completing your novel and welcome back to our club. 🙂

  6. So PROUD of you! You did it! Who knows where the future may lie? Agree with Patti above. Good to have you back from break, too.

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks, Reeling. It will take me a week or so to get back into the swing of blogging and catching up in what’s been going in with everyone, but I’ve missed y’all.

  7. Great to see you back to blogging! And congratulations on the book! Actually, I’ve heard it said that the best thing you can do with your first novel is put it in the bin. Seems harsh but the reckoning is that it really will be rubbish. The process isn’t a waste though. Getting the writing done, knowing you CAN write that novel and so on is a very important process. and just because THIS draft was not what you wanted it to be doesn’t mean that the NEXT draft won’t be! I would encourage you to write it again now missing out ALL those bits that made you laugh so much last time and changing your plot, characters, timelines etc as you need to. You’ll probably come out with something that is quite a different beast in the end but you never know…it might be that moneyspinner you come up with as a result! Best wishes and great to see you back! 🙂

  8. sliceofshanghai says:

    I have no book in my drawer! You’ve done something great!
    So glad you are back!

  9. Amy says:

    Welcome, welcome back to the blogging world, Susan! You’re making me smile. But, why put it in the drawer…?

  10. Leah says:

    Congratulations! What an accomplishment. I so admire you!

  11. pattisj says:

    It’s nice to have you blogging again. It seems I read somewhere that many write their first book, put it in the drawer and start the second one. The first one provided experience and you learned much from it. I wouldn’t give up on fame and fortune just yet!

  12. Welcome Back!! You have been missed. I think every writer I’ve ever met has at least one novel in a drawer, every painter a drawer full of sketches and paintings that never see the light of day, every composer music hiding in the piano bench. Some works are the great American novel, or on their way to being, some are the means by which we learn lessons needed to write the great American novel.

    • Coming East says:

      Thank you for that great comment, Carol. I can guarantee that this novel isn’t the Great American Novel, but you are right about it giving me some skills. It’s good to be back.

  13. gaycarboys says:

    I forgot to add that I have had the same problem. I have given up on my novel, and I have gone back to it again in a slightly different way. I keep thinking that Jo Rowling is just beneath the surface. The difference is you have been a professional and your writing shows it. I’m jealous. It’s good to have you back.

  14. gaycarboys says:

    I feel your pain. There is at least one novel in all of us.Agatha Christie once said write what you know. Perhaps a novel of a different genre would simple fall out of you if you gave it the chance. It’s just a thought

  15. I’ve seen a lot of good movies based on bad books and read a lot of great books that turned into bad movies. I’d say you’ve got a shot at making fame and fortune one way or another. 😉 Welcome back to the blogosphere – I was just thinking of you yesterday.

    • Coming East says:

      Yes, I fit in there somewhere, SC. It made me smile to hear you we’re thinking of me. I hope to get caught up on some of my blogging reading this weekend. I want to see what everyone is up to.

  16. Oh dear but I’m glad you’re back! How’s that baby blanket coming along too?! 🙂

  17. dorannrule says:

    I think you should break out the champagne! Finished a novel? I am impressed. And I’ll bet it’s not hysterical and I’ll bet it’s publishable. So CONGRATULATIONS SUSAN on a magnificant accomplishment. And the other good news is you are back in the blogusfear! 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      I love you, Dor! You are so good at spinning the truth that the TV news networks could have used your commentary during these elections. Your take on my having “finished with my novel” is perfect.

  18. Margie says:

    I always thought that an Erma Bombeck type person authored the “Murder, She Wrote” TV series. So maybe “Murder in the Parish Bookstore” is where you want to be (as a writer I mean.)

  19. Shary Hover says:

    You have to have at least one book in the drawer. Who knows… you may figure out a way to revise it to become your brilliant masterpiece. Or you might just leave it alone while you come up with a new brilliant idea. Either way, I’m looking forward to reading your “first” novel when it comes out.

  20. Al says:

    Aw heck, I was looking forward to saying “I know her” when the movie credits were rolling, but your loss of a fortune is our good fortune. Glad you are back amongst us.

  21. I feel your angst. “The characters couldn’t really do what they needed to do because they had to have good manners and love their mothers.” It’s a process. Just keep your antennae up and the niche just may find you. Now you know you can do it–write 5 digits of words, map out characters, plots and subplots, juxtapose scenes, insert humor. You learned a lot I’m sure in that process.

  22. I started a novel with a wonderful idea about 20 years ago. I have one chapter written. I think on it often and yet, have never gotten any further. Another book in mind I have had rambling around for at least 35 years…. hmmmm…. I think you are much further than I am… Well done you, you never know a politcal thriller/comedy may be the next new thing. After all Star Wars started somewhere..
    Glad to see you back, DAF

  23. Yay! Back to blogging! As for the book in the drawer, I can relate. I have several. And I’m still working to find my voice and style, too. As for dystopian humor? I think it sounds refreshing 🙂 Great to see you Susan, I’ve missed laughing with you!

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