My first novel is a practice novel. Simple as. It is the first novel I have ever written so surely it is a warm up, an attempt to practice the craft of novel writing. And revising. And editing.
Just as the first child is the practice child. So it is with the first novel. And just when you’ve learnt something and it becomes a habit, something else rears its head for you to learn and you scramble frantically to figure that out. Then that becomes habit.
I think that the stumbling I have done over this first novel made it much easier to produce the first draft of the second novel. Now I’m not saying it’s that easy. I still have to come up with the words to create the images and sensation to help my reader see some of what I see, hear what I hear, feel what I feel or rather what my characters feel. But I do notice that I am more conscious of how to start and end a chapter. How to leave something hanging at the end so that the reader wants to read on.
In short, every time I write my novel I assimilate what I have learnt before from my previous writing, my reading of other fiction and books on how to write novels, books on plot, structure, scenes, characters, points of view, dialogue, viewpoint, descriptions, settings, beginnings, middles, ends, editing and revision, my tutors, my own writing and me.
In the end it’s all practice. I’m still just practicing.