My name is Drew Hester and I am a first time novelist. WOW, sounds like an AA speech is pending. I am currently navigating the roadmap to this crazy ride of getting a first novel published. And trust me when I say – at least for me – Writing is the easy part!
I am old enough to be seasoned as a person, and young enough to have immense creativity within my active mind. My drug of choice is the realm of the supernatural. Therefor, that is the genre I am drawn to as a writer. Ghost stories, witchcraft mysteries, heaven vs. hell, demons and angels – you name it…I crave it! I finished the last edit (at least the last and most polished edit I intend to do until someone shows interest in my book) in December of 2015 after a year and a half of writing, editing and more editing. I was thrilled, and assuming I’m like most other new novelists, screamed to the world – “okay world, it’s finally finished. Come and get it!”
Oddly enough – no one called, emailed, texted or knocked on my front door. (insert sad face emoji here)
Now, let me give some background information on my behalf. I graduated from NKU in 2002 (Outstanding Senior in Journalism I might add – sorry, have to brag here) so I am confident that I possess a pretty good grasp of sentence structure, spelling, grammar, etc. That combined with my strange imagination in all things supernatural made me a great fit to write the first book in my trilogy. The Welling: Creations (YA supernatural thriller). It took time, several edits and incredible guidance from my straight-shooting, AMAZING mentor Wendy Vogel (http://www.wendyvogelbooks.com), but I did it.
And now the REAL work has begun – and trust me, it is tough!
I have started the process of querying agents at this point and apparently being a decent- or even good – writer is no where near enough to make it to the publishing stage. Now, with the amazing (and some say tedious) world of social media, having a good book completely written is only step 1 if nobody knows your name. No, you have to have a noticeable presence online with preferably the following: active twitter account, a current blog (hence this beginning), a web site and a proven following to ensure a good fan base. Well hell, that’s a full time job!!
I decided to start with small steps, specifically this blog to new writers from the somewhat biased viewpoint of a new writer. I’ve had a Facebook page forever, and registered my twitter account when it came out (assuming that someday I might find the urge to join the revolution – flash forward 4 years and I still haven’t tweeted), and I don’t know what in the world I would put on an entire website about nothing but me. Even I’m not that narcissistic; now maybe if I had some books published that would be a different story.
So……this is my first blog (have to say, I don’t hate it, although I’m not sure who out there would really give a crap about what I have to say??) and I intend to document my “process” at least weekly, if not twice a week.
As I said, I knew how to write, and pretty much what to write – but I made 2 major pitfalls that cost me a lot of extra time in editing. Don’t make the same mistakes!
~ FIRST LESSON: FIND YOUR VIEW POINT
I started writing the book in first person view (which is really difficult turns out) and then about half way through decided the story was better told in third person view. I switched mid stream and decided to chug along and I would go back and fix the first half in editing. HUGE mistake! You see, it is not as simple as changing “I” to “He”, you have to change complete sentence structure and storyline in many cases. Took me about 3 months just to fix the mess I had made, and trust me, it was a mess.
~ SECOND LESSON: WATCH YOUR POV
Thanks again to my amazing Mentor (or sometimes referred to as my tore-mentor – love you Wendy!) it was pointed out that I had made yet another critical error. Point of View (POV). It is very easy when writing third person to have every character talk to the reader personally, meaning that instead of having only the main character share his/her inner thoughts with the reader, the writer switches the POV constantly and the reader gets confused. The main character’s thoughts/feelings are the only ones to be written directly to the reader – every other character and the story line needs to be understood through dialogue. That took another 2 months of editing.
Learn from my mistakes and start out fresh, trust me, there are plenty of other pitfalls you will endure throughout the process that will set you back!
That’s it for now…my next blog will be about querying agents/publishers.
Be well and be wise!