Today, I am full of virtupitude
. It is not yet noon, and I have already gone to the bank, the post office, the FedEx outpost, and the pet supply store, PLUS caught Quicken up to date and stared with opprobrium at the mmpb page proofs of The Mirador
which the FedEx ninjas brought me.
If anybody's noticed a typo, please leave a comment.
Yesterday, the Post Office ninjas brought me a CueCat
. And I neutered it myself. Despite this amateur hardware hacking, it works like a dream. Expect my LibraryThing catalogue
to expand by leaps and bounds.
(N.b., since I feel like I should say it somewhere: I don't use any of LibraryThing's more social functions. Just the books, ma'am.)
Books read recently:The Order of the Death's HeadThe Architect of GenocideFlora SegundaDisapproving RabbitsNow We Are SickThe Wee Free Men
Currently reading:The Demon and the CityTalking to the DeadThe I Ching
So any number of people
are talking about first novels (and Jay has a poll!), and I figure I can play along with that game.
Novel -3 (as in, I thought of it as a novel at the time, although it was probably something like 8,000 words max): The Pendant Quest
. This is the one I wrote when I was twelve. It's the Belgariad with the serial numbers insufficiently filed off crossed with, um, A Little Princess
. Which tells you exactly what I was reading when I was twelve. I finished it, submitted it to a local children's writing contest, and took second place.
Novel -2: High Priestess of the Timeless Gods
(N.b., my complete suckitude at titles started young.) Same as -3 except substitute The Tombs of Atuan
for the Belgariad and Dragonsong
for A Little Princess
. And I was fourteen.
Novel -1: Demon's Rat
. This one is almost a real novel, about 40k. The adventures of a gigantic rat constructed by a trapped demon. There's also elves and minotaurs and Hell's voicemail system. It's completely cracktastic, but I feel relatively confident in saying that it's all mine.
Novel 0: The Fourth King
. Urban fantasy. I wrote this novel my senior year of high school as, basically, an independent study. 97k. Here's where the unlikeable borderline sociopathic protagonist first shows up. Also the trauma and the angst. Also some rather unpleasant misogyny issues (two female characters, one of whom is the villain and the other of whom is a gold-plated bitch). I submitted this one to Tor and got a very nice rejection letter. Subsequently, I have discovered that not only do I hate all of the secondary characters, but also that the book does not work. It has bad
parareality problems. "Write what you know" is problematic advice at best, but this one falls into the "don't write what you don't know" category. I didn't know the first thing about what I was writing about, and it shows. Excruciatingly. There are bits and pieces of it that actually seem to belong in a different book, and that
book may get written someday. We'll see.
Novel 1: [Mélusine
& The Virtu
]. I've told this story before; my first two books started off as one book. That's the book that got me representation.
Novel 2: The Mirador
. I wrote it while waiting for my eventual agent (who is not my current agent for reasons which, as Fraser says, do not need exploring at this juncture, because they're both complicated and actually not interesting--no drama here) to respond.
Novel 3: Mélusine
. A year later, having gotten some nice rejections on Novel 1, my then-agent suggested I might want to take a look at it and see if there was anything I wanted to change. I started a white-page rewrite. Mélusine
is longer than the original novel and has about half the material. This
is the first novel I sold.
Novel 4: The Virtu
. Ditto. I got the contract for the first two Doctrine of Labyrinths books while working on this one.
Novel 2 revisited: The Mirador
got extensively revised after it sold, including an entire new subplot.
Novel 5: Corambis
. First novel I wrote, ground up, after
selling it. Which has been a learning experience and then some.
The foregoing is only talking about novels that actually got finished
. There are several failed novels between -1 and 0, and at least one between 0 and 1. There are currently two half-finished novels, Cormorant Child
and The Emperor of the Elflands
, one of which is, so help me blue fuzzy thing, going to be Novel 6.
Also conspicuously absent from this discussion are my short stories, but I didn't start writing those successfully
until after I'd finished Novel 1 anyway. I wanted to be a novelist from the get-go.