Fix the Unfixable?

There is no achievement so imbued with pride than publishing your first novel. Invested with high hopes and what feels like your entire being into this monumental project. Even if it turns out to be a failure, rejected and unappreciated, it will always hold that special place in your heart. Yes, a lot of emotion tied up with that debut work. So it has not been easy to confront the admittedly very considerable failings of The Hidden Realm.

Twelve years from first published I finally removed it. Well, mostly; it ended up on numerous sites since I made it free. Possibly exceeded 10k downloads. Clearly some readers liked it, but unfortunately those who didn’t made it known. This was in the days when competition on virtual space was nowhere near as fierce, so getting attention was far easier. But that kind of attention carries risk. And my request to delete all reference to it on Goodreads was rejected.

Here’s the dilemma. Should I do an extensive re-edit/rewrite of THR? Or just carry on with my fifth novel (second, third draft etc)? It’s a question perhaps only I can answer. A cursory re-read of my debut I soon got a sense of its failings: too many character POVs with all their narratives; clunky dialogue – which has been my weakness for many years. In the end I did my best to tie everything up to what felt like a neat resolution. Written in the noughties, maybe it seems dated in more ways than just the science&tech.

The most common problem with that first novel is, bursting with ideas, you want to throw everything in, without the patience to think: I can leave that character’s story for the next volume. So the next (Time Over) was like a reset in the series.

Anyway, I hope not to simply disregard THR without some attempt to salvage it. Because, surely, you can never forget your first.

My published books: Worlds Beyond Time (UK) Worlds Beyond Time (US)

The Captured (US) The Captured (UK)

Success, Finally?

Imagine. You’ve been used to failing for such a long time. Then success, finally! That day when you can go out and celebrate, and all your friends and family (who, frankly, doubted you could achieve such greatness) will congratulate your marvellous achievement.

But what does it mean to have made it? Finding an agent? Getting that publishing contract? Those first four-figure sales? The good reviews?

Perhaps there is no point where you think I’ve made it! And in any case there is something in my British psyche that would tell me: now hang on just a minute. You’ve been making it clear, at least to anyone who cared to ask, that writing is what you do. But haven’t you implied to them: “I am special, I have talent, I was born to write novels, that is what sets me apart (from you no less); and now that declaration (however subtly I implied it) is going to be rubbed in your face – because you doubted me and I’ve proved you wrong.”

So there is something in my psyche that fears the downside of success. That the possible sacrifices I have made – the relationships never pursued, the work (employment) never sought – cannot be enough to make it worth while. After all, success means exposure, the spotlight of scrutiny with the inevitable criticism it brings. Sure, everyone, however acclaimed, has to be prepared for the dissenting voices; you are told as a writer how important it is to develop a thick skin. But many of us writers are naturally sensitive creatures.

I wonder if fear is holding me back somehow. Stuck in a certain belief because of bad experiences or just bad luck.

Failure is familiar, an old friend unafraid to dish out a harsh dose of reality – to keep you grounded. Success is the exciting stranger, promising to take you to incredible heights. But one day that stranger will tire of you, and leave you precariously on the mountain ledge.

Finally, I wanted to come up with some definitive advice – to others, and hopefully to myself. But all I could think of was the following. Don’t let that old friend failure drag you down; overcome the fear of success.

Links to my fiction:  The Captured (US)  The Captured (UK)

Time Over (UK)     Time Over (US)

http://www.adriankyte.com/