I have been a bit busy… really. I took my wife Jennifer to Hawaii in May to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. It was incredible. I would highly recommend the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu. That place is a tangible, breathable, wonderful slice of heaven. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed myself more with a “leisure activity”.
That seems like a really good excuse to be distracted, but the real cause of my lack of attention to this blog has been my novel. On April 24th, sometime around 12:36 A.M., and after several hours of marathon writing, I finished my first fiction novel. It took me over 5 years to do it. Granted, there was one point in the writing where I hardly touched the manuscript for almost a year, but it did take me a total span of 5 years to finish it.
I can’t really express what that felt like to write the last few words of the final chapter that I was working on. Maybe it would not be surprising to other authors who are more experienced than I, but the last few words I wrote in those early morning hours were not in or part of the last chapter. The final chapter of the book was written at least a month, if not two, before I finally got to the second to the last chapter, where I truly did tie it all together. At any rate, it was a very exciting moment in my life.
Several friends have read the manuscript, and so have some family members. I want to thank my wife Jennifer (she caught many hard to find errors), my oldest daughter (she was actually the first person to complete it), Stef Fresques, and Eric Schroeder for being my first readers. Their comments and editing notes were very helpful. I am also excited that a few other friends now have the manuscript copies, and more importantly, the first 3 chapters are now in the hands of a professional editor. I should get the hoped for, unbiased, professional opinion (with editing) in another week. Once that is done, I will make some changes to the manuscript as appropriate, and then the editor will get the whole book, all 88,825 words of it (latest count). I am anxious to get through that process, as I have found that most publishers take about 3 months to accept a manuscript, and then it takes another 6 months to a year just to get it on the shelves of book stores.
Interestingly enough, I have also been a reading fiend lately. Since about March, I have read Harry Potter 1, 6 and 7, part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Return Of The King”, almost all of the Narnia books (I skipped “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” because I had recently seen the movie), Orson Scott Card’s “Seventh Son”, all three of Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven books, and Gregg Luke’s “The Survivors”. The time I have spent reading various blogs has also been of note.
I happened to hear a great BYU Devotional talk by an English Professor a little over a year ago where he talked about “ways to improve your writing”. The thing that stood out to me the most about that talk was the fact that he encouraged writers to constantly be reading. I had never heard that said before, but it makes perfect sense. So much sense, in fact, that when analyzing my earliest memories of my desires to write in Junior High, I realized that I was also an almost rabid reader at the time. I rode the bus to school, a good 25 to 30 minute trek each way, and consequently, I was completing 1 to 3 books every single week.
The other things that have been occupying my spare moments of thought have been the many blogs from authors where they have described the publishing process… how they got published, how they got their name out, how they persevered in the early days when they were new authors. I am grateful for them all. May my experience down this exciting path be as fruitful as theirs.
Wish me luck in my quest.