My first novel, my trunk novel, the one that will never see the light of day and that I’m terrified to go back and read, was about fairies, and music, and love, and the salvation of love, and the power of love to heal and restore faith just when you thought you had none left. (Drop the fairy bit and this description could be loosely applied to a lot of my writing. There are worse things.)
That novel didn’t totally suck. But it convinced me never again to try to write high fantasy even though that wasn’t what I was aiming for to begin with, anyhow.
I finished the draft. Revised it. Found crit partners. Revised more. I pushed the ideas for a sequel and a third book to the back of my head and moved onto something new.
But the accomplishment didn’t escape me. I’d completed a (rather long actually) manuscript. And while I was never going to query it, the experience convinced me to start a second WIP and a third (which got the attention of my agent and which is due out in 2015) and a fourth (which got the attention of an editor and is due out in 2014), and so on.
I knew that I’d done something BIG even if no one outside my small circle would ever read it. And I needed to celebrate that.
So I found myself doing something else I never thought I’d do. I got a tattoo. It was designed for me, based on an idea (wings — fairy not butterfly –, stained glass, spot color, inner wrist). And it’s stunning. Every time I look at it, I fall in love all over again. It was meant to be small. It isn’t.
I’ve joked with my husband that I should get a tattoo for every manuscript I finish, but I have no need to do that. Other manuscripts have gotten me agents and editors, other manuscripts will turn into books and fly away on their own wings into the land of readers.
But that first book, will always be the first, will always be the one that convinced me to keep going, will always be the one that gave me wings.