Second chance at a first book


“Fool, fool. Back to the beginning is the rule.”

Well, I’m finishing up the last of my edits. One last pass to insert a little more detail here and there and Butterfly 4.0 will be ready to be sent back to my editors. That’s not to say there won’t be another round of edits coming…apparently that’s not unheard of!

But that means, I’ve got no choice but to drag out Dragon Court. My first manuscript. It literally gathers dust in a box beneath my desk. I thought it cute that I continue to write with my first shelved project at my feet, like an ancient relic. I haven’t opened it yet, though I did brush the cobwebs off. I know what’s inside. It’s the first paper copy of that I ever submitted along with the rejection letter from the editor that earned me my PRO status.

It’s a nice letter as far as rejections go. It has a positive comment – good worldbuilding of 8th century China. And it has constructive feedback – Work a lot more on the romance. I’ve come to learn that in the world of rejections, this was a golden one.

I’m afraid of this manuscript like nothing else. I know it’s not good. Backstory, too many POVs, and the writing…I don’t want to look! It’s like the thing is haunted. I made up this curse around it and it’s my Achilles heel.

I know this is a big opportunity. I have a chance at selling my first book — heck, I have the chance to sell more than one book!  My Little Sis pointed out that this was the most complex of all three. Maybe it’s fitting that I write it again, now that I have more experience. To really learn how to write my first book — I need to write three. 🙂

So I’m going to call this my first and fourth book. What comes around, goes around. I think it needs a new working title now that “Dragon” has appeared in Book #3. I’m thinking of calling it “Across the Silk Road” or “A Dream of the Middle Kingdom”. Hee hee. Yes, they’re lofty non-romance titles, but those get changed anyway.

Maybe partway through, a better title will come to me. Or someone will just give me a title, like what happened with The Dragon and the Pearl.

Edited to add: By the way, that box in the picture really is my first manuscript. 🙂

No Comments

  1. Dara
    Sep 11, 2009 @ 10:38:08

    I like your titles. 🙂 But coming up with titles is a weakness of mine. My current WiP’s title was the only one that I came up with that actually sounds half decent.

    I’d quiver to look at my first novel. LOL, it was something I wrote when I was 11. So it’s obviously not all that great!

    I have it in a beaten up folder in a box somewhere…the first few pages were typed on an electric typewriter and the rest was hand written in pencil and pen on unlined typing paper. 😛 The last time I looked at it, I saw a few story elements that I may be able to salvage and turn into an actual readable novel someday. So perhaps it’s not lost forever…

  2. Jeannie Lin
    Sep 11, 2009 @ 10:43:20

    I don’t count any of the stories that I wrote on notebook paper!

    But all those words contribute to making us better writers, right? So nothing is ever lost. 🙂

  3. Victoria Janssen
    Sep 11, 2009 @ 10:50:31

    I find it helps, when looking at old work, to stop occasionally and thump my head gently against a smooth wall, while screaming.

  4. Jeannie Lin
    Sep 11, 2009 @ 11:06:41

    Victoria – I couldn’t have said it better. That’s why the box stays closed. 🙂

  5. Lisa
    Sep 11, 2009 @ 12:54:42

    Oh gosh, I can’t even imagine cracking open our first manuscript. I cringe just thinking about it. You’re so brave! You’ll have to keep us posted on your progress.

  6. Victoria Dixon
    Sep 13, 2009 @ 15:12:21

    I’m SO grateful my first manuscript is trapped within Macintosh discs that are too old to be read. It’s unsalvageable in any case.

    But I’m willing to bet a lot of $$$, your first ms is much better than mine! Have courage, pad the walls and get to work. LOL

    Good luck!