My first attempt at a novel lies buried in a computer file, sort of like the way the house in which I was born is now buried deep under an Interstate slope in Pennsylvania. Working at a more moderate pace following a National Novel Writing Month marathon, in a few months I had a manuscript of 95,000 words making up what I thought was a complete story. I tweaked it through three or four drafts, then printed it out and gave copies to two friends who agreed to critique it.
Two or three weeks later Helen Wood and Celeste Neuffer, both of whom were capable editors, sat down with me and began by saying, “This is not a novel.” Some words of a more encouraging nature followed, but the gist of their assessment was: too many plots, too many characters, too many settings. An epic, maybe, but not a novel.
I’m a tolerably good listener. I learned a lot from Helen and Celeste that night and in the months that followed. I also took a course at the University of South Alabama, bought and read eight or ten books on writing, and started my second novel—actually my first, if Address Unknown is counted out.
Twenty months and many drafts later, my volunteer editors judged Parson Campbell’s Breakthrough worthy of consideration by a publisher. Publication is easier desired than achieved, of course, but the novel now seems destined for publication as a paperback by a division of amazon.com. What it still lacks is a satisfactory cover design. If you have a p.c. or a Kindle you need not wait. You can download from Payloadz or Kindle Books today.
Now I’m writing Megachurch, and I hope to have a publishable manuscript by the end of this year.
If there are any other late-blooming novelists within the reach of this blog, I would enjoy hearing from you. Indeed, I’d be happy to hear from any reader.
~ Bert Johnston, author of Parson Campbell’s Breakthrough
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