How I Became a Writer: Introduction

Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2

After years of quiet failure, I finally got a book deal. Farrar, Straus & Giroux will publish my first (technically fourth or fifth) novel, Fellow Mortals, in early 2013. My editor’s great. She’s had terrific insights about the book, she answers emails fast, she tolerates my woeful attempts at levity, and she’s leant a warm touch to what is potentially a stressful, long-distance professional relationship. We seem to click. I couldn’t ask for more. I’m sure I will, but really, I shouldn’t.

“And where is this book you’re working on?”

I hope to begin revisions next week. I finished plotting/planning another novel three weeks ago (200+ pages of notes, and a plot summary so detailed it almost qualifies as a first draft) and feel great about that, but I can’t start anything new with the impending edits and I’m left with loads of nervous energy.

I’ve never worked with an actual editor before and don’t entirely know what to expect. She’s awesome, though, so there’s that, and I have enough distance from the book to make whatever bloodthirsty changes it requires. I do enjoy tearing manuscripts apart if I can recognize ways to make them better. I always find something embarrassingly wrong with things I was certain worked perfectly just a few months ago. That’s a troubling thought as I face publication, but I figure I’ll be able to use my typeset, public embarrassments as whips for future efforts.

Along the way to getting a book deal, I enjoyed stories of published novelists who also had a tough time breaking in, and I plan to share my own crooked path to publication in the coming weeks. It will feature the fabled Massive Number of Rejections, crises of faith, and belligerent perseverance of a young writer’s hopes, long after that writer really should have become a responsible adult. There may be a Shawshank Redemption analogy. There will certainly be a Rudy reference.

So check back soon for when I start at the beginning and see if I can make sense of the whole comical story.

Continue to Part 1: Girls and Dead Poets 

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