This morning I started Donald Maass's'es's's Writing the Breakout Novel. I finished Self-Editing for the Fiction Writer yesterday and figured I may as well dive into the next on my list. Self-Editing was good; it pointed out a lot of amateur mistakes I didn't realize I was making (always a helpful thing from a writing book) but didn't deter me from writing altogether. I'd say my overall experience was pleasant.
But Writing the Breakout Novel made my heart race! In the foreword! I know it's silly to get so excited while reading a writing book, but I couldn't help it. The foreword in my edition is written by historical mystery writer Anne Perry, and she basically just talks about the book's goals.
But I kept catching myself nodding enthusiastically* and fantasizing about the day MY book hits the bestseller list and is dubbed my breakout novel. Then I moved on to the Introduction by Mr. Maass himself and found myself agreeing with everything he said. (Of course I did, he's a GENIUS!)
Among his points is that word of mouth is the best marketing tool, but for that to work you must write a phenomenal book. No amount of publicity in the world will force people to buy a book that is below-par. I won't bore you with all his wisdom. Let's just say his pep talk really got me revved up. :)
Before my vacation I said that upon my return I'd start edits on my memoir. Funny thing, that. My novel will not get out of my head. I knew while writing the first draft that I'd have a lot of expanding to do: scenes I intentionally left short, characters that need deepening, one minor plot hole that my research uncovered. The solutions kept coming to me so I decided it'd be best to focus my energy where my passion seems to lie.
I have every intention to tackle the memoir edits - I even rewrote the opening to the final chapter on the plane home - and I may slip it in when I need a break from my novel.
All in all, not a bad place for me to be.
* This is an example of one of the things amateurs do. I included it purely to demonstrate a point. Mmm-hmmm.