I have enjoyed both reading and writing since I was young. Much of my writing has been in the form of short stories, poetry, or blog posts. These things were small in scope, fun to write, and easy to finish in a short timeframe. Much of what I wrote was never seen by another person. And what I did share was with a friend or two. Maybe some family. Over the years, I have started multiple novels but Thoughts of an Eaten Sun (ToaES) is the first one I have completed.
My initial drafts of ToaES were written without much planning or plotting. This was the same approach I had used for my smaller projects. I had fun with it and got to see where the writing took the story. As I started to revise and rework drafts, however, I realized the limitations of my informal process. Revising a draft is vastly different from initially writing it. Consistency is perhaps the most challenging thing, and there are many areas in which one must be consistent: Narrative style, character traits, theme, worldbuilding, point of view, and grammar, just to name a few.
My goal for ToaES was also different from my other writings. I wanted to publish it. There’s more formality around publishing a book than there is putting up a blog post. I wanted to share the end result with more than just one or two close friends. I realized that if I hoped many others would read it, I needed to invest enough time and effort to make the manuscript worth their time. People want to enjoy the hours they spend reading a book, after all.
I was in new territory, and I found myself researching all sorts of topics. I wanted to know how other writers tackled various issues. How do people work on a large project? How do they structure their time? What did they find easy? What was difficult? How much of writing a novel is writing versus rewriting? What makes a story good? Am I doing things “right?” Am I spending enough time on this? Am I spending too much time on that? What goes into publishing?
I found articles covering many of these topics. Oftentimes, I researched just enough to get me heading the right way. At other points, there was never enough information to completely alleviate my uncertainty. I expect that’s normal. There’s no single answer to any of these questions. And at some point, you have to begin, even though you don’t know what you’re doing. Still, it can be reassuring and insightful to read an account from another author on how they handled something you’re struggling with. As there are so many topics with which a new writer can struggle, there is much to learn.
I still consider myself a new writer, but now that I’m close to releasing Thoughts of an Eaten Sun, I want to recount some of my own experiences related to writing, struggling, and learning. The act of writing these thoughts is a further way to process what I’ve learned and reveal connections between disparate ideas. I cannot provide surefire answers, but I want to add to the broader discussion in the hope that someone else finds value in it. That may be a person very soon, or a person some time from now. It might even be me when I’m working on my next project. Regardless, I look forward to exploring some of these topics in future posts and sharing them with others.