Of course, I wrote as a kid, because… I wasn’t much for drawing and something had to go on the fridge. I wrote stories, all the way through my childhood. I segued into poetry as a teenager, took some terrible advice and stopped writing in my twenties.
“Writing is something you do when you’re retired,” I was told.
And I retreated into the shadows, ashamed of my arrogance, at thinking I knew anything, and that might have been the end of the story…
I started writing my first novel about a year ago.
It’s shocking, really. And like everything else, it started with something fairly innocuous.
I hadn’t kept a diary in years. I always used to have one, even when I had almost nothing to write about, I’d make doodles of my days. Like everyone else, I got older, I became too busy to write it down, and I just stopped. No more diary.
I missed it. There was something comforting about writing down the contents of my brain on a daily basis.
Thus, about three years after giving up the diary, I took up my pen, and went back to it.
Within seven months, I started blogging. Just – a day in the life – type of thing. I don’t do health, fitness, or advice of any useful sort. If you want a good drinking game, or a decent date movie – I’m your girl; pretty much, I witter on about general embarrassment, typos and actresses.
Within three months of the blog, I had a first line. Now, I’ll point out, this didn’t come from nowhere.
I’d had a dinner party. I’d invited a few mates and cooked for a full day. I might have knocked back a glass or two of vino over the course of the afternoon, so… I was quite drunk by the end of it all. Frankly, I wasn’t exactly sober at the start. On the positive side: I didn’t poison anyone, and they all seemed to get along quite well. When I went to bed later that night, fighting the alcohol which threatened to burn a hole through my stomach, it crossed my mind that it could have gone a lot worse.
They might have hated each other. They might have wished death upon each other. There could have been a fight involving kitchen implements. And that was what started book one – ‘Sex, Death & Canapés’.
Of course, I was afraid of disaster, of failure, of having zero readers OR being pirated all over the internet (either/or, you understand, nothing in between). I was scared of no reviews, dismal reviews, and begging for reviews. I was worried that I wouldn’t have anywhere to go beyond the first book. I had concerns that it wouldn’t matter if I was writing this story for the rest of my life, because nobody would give a damn. In short, it took a lot of time for me to get past me.
True, as my first full-length novel, I laboured on it for months.
It went a lot more smoothly after I was happy with the first line. That happened about a year ago. I felt better about the whole thing once I’d hired an editor. Better still when I saw the cover my designer put together for me.
And here we are today. ‘Sex, Death & Canapés’ came out three months ago. The sequel, ‘Sex, Death & Scallops’ followed six weeks (and a smidge) ago and, fingers crossed, book three should be out in time for Christmas.
On the off-chance this helps anyone at all: in less than two years, I’ve gone from only writing shopping lists with any level of confidence – to two books out on Amazon.
And I’m participating in a terribly exciting blog hop right now, so do feel free to see what other lesfic writers have to say about writing their first novels, starting with…
Find out how writing her first novel hurt Chris Zett more than a yoga class and read about the lessons she learned from the process.
Chris Zett is the debut author of the lesbian medical romance Irregular Heartbeat.
Thanks, lovelies x