I know writers who wrote 10 or more novels before they sold. I know writers who wrote for 20 years before they sold. I know writers, including myself, who sold their first novel. I also know writers, including myself, who sold a few books and then didn't for a while and then did again. There are writers who hit a bestseller list with their first book and others who wrote twenty or more before they were selling a lot of books. I even know traditionally published authors who never hit a list of any kind until they self-published. There are writers who had to change their names to salvage their careers and THEN they had sales success. The progression of a career is as varied as the writers who have them.
One thing just about all writers have in common is their doorstop novel. The one that could not, cannot, or perhaps even should not, be brought to life.
I myself have such a novel. It would have been my third one. I was struggling as a writer at the time, primarily, I believe, because I was trying to plot and plan and structure my writing when, actually, that is not a process that works for me.
The working title was A Stranger's Heart and it's about a man who unexpectedly inherits a title. When he arrives at his estate, the housekeeper is a breathtakingly beautiful American woman with a dark, dark secret. Alas, most of the story is deadly dull except for a few parts that glow like that peacock when he's looking for chicks.
I think about the story every now and then, and I remember why the peacock is running away from home. The boring exposition. The parts where I refused to deviate from my 70 page outline even though there were passages that, in retrospect, were calling out to my subconscious: This way. Follow THIS thread. But I didn't. Because I believed at the time that I had to have outlines and plots and character charts.
Casting my doorstop novel as the sheep here, all the tools in the world can't fix you. You are not a butterfly or a peacock and as long as I am (was) broken as a writer, you, poor novel, are also broken. You are a sheep and I have written you into a position that is just damned undignified.
If I tried to write you now, I'd be better at it, but it would not be you, poor sheep. I would be something else entirely. But I thank you for the lesson.
A note about the picturesI took these pictures with my Nikon D-80 SLR.
The Swallowtail photo is, in fact, a butterfly that had just emerged from its chrysalis. I was holding that stick and the Swallowtail was staying still because it was waiting for its wings to dry. I got several excellent shots as a result.
A few years ago, peacocks moved into our neighborhood. This is Angus and I took this picture of him walking down the bottom half of our driveway because it was just so odd to see.
I'm ashamed to admit that when I took the shot of the garden spider, I didn't realize it was wrapping up dinner at the time. It was only when I was back at the computer looking at them that I saw the meal. These spiders are large but harmless by the way. But they eat bugs and that's good. I have several really great shots of some Black Widow spiders, too.
The sheep being sheared is Ian, a Welsh Mountain sheep. The man in blue jeans is the guy we call to shear our sheep and the neighbors. He has a PhD in Medieval history. The other is my father, now a retired physician.
I just like the sunflower picture and I love taking shots of them. I have yet to get the perfect one.