Posts Tagged: first novels
The stories are woven together with my life and my life moved across the globe as I wrote, so the stories too took that long journey. My map of becoming a writer goes all the way around the world.
Lit Hub asked the seven first-time novelists shortlisted for the 2015 Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize what book inspired them to become the authors they are today. Sophie McManus says,
I was ten and reading A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K.
Electric Literature’s editor-in-chief Lincoln Michel released his debut collection of stories, Upright Beasts, earlier this year. For the Quivering Pen, Michel explores the challenges first-time authors experience in writing and submitting their work to publishers:
It would be nice here to craft a story of how those first publications inspired me to new heights of creativity, or else imparted an unrealistic idea of success that sent me into the artistic wilderness for years that I came out of with important life lessons to give you now.
I think she’s half pursuing these conventions of romantic love, and half rejecting them. Which produces this kind of contrariness. There’s this line in the first chapter where she says, “I only want what I hate.” These contradictions of desire and behavior run all the way through the story.
When my wife proposed writing a novel together last year, I was initially resistant but not for the most obvious reasons. I wasn’t worried about our ability to work together. I wasn’t even worried about whether we could actually produce a good novel....more
2014 wasn’t just the year of the debut—plenty of authors released their second novel, often considered the most challenging for writers to write. Slate sat down with some second-time novelists to discuss their sophomore efforts, like Family Life author Akhil Sharma who spent a dozen years on the novel:
If you write for two or three years and don’t make much progress, you begin to think that there is something wrong with you.
It took Gene Oishi 50 years to write his debut novel, a story about Japanese American identity and family during and after World War II. Over at The Nervous Breakdown, Oishi interviews himself about the process of writing Fox Drum Bebop:
I had a lot of excuses, but the reason I didn’t want to write about the war years was because I was unsure of who I was.
Contrary to the mission of National Novel Writing Month, most novels take far longer to complete, as stay-at-home dad Ryan McSwain learned when he set out to write his first novel, Monsters All the Way Down. The book, due out next month, took more than three years to write and another year to finalize....more
I always think of you as a more novelistic novelist than I am. I’m not predisposed to like poetry. I’m not the kind of person who thinks of poetry as charming or who says of something, “it’s like poetry,” as a turn of phrase.
At Buzzfeed Books, novelist Catherine Lacey writes about an interview she had with a reporter who assumed Lacey had based the protagonist of her first novel on herself. To an extent, Lacey finds this frustrating, but then she considers the way all writers are and are not their characters:
What I should tell anyone who might ask again is that no fiction writer can honestly tell you what parts of her characters are mutations or facsimiles or pure inventions of the self.
Julia Fierro has a debut novel Cutting Teeth, but for much of the last decade, the writer was so dispirited by the rejection of her first manuscript that she stopped writing. Instead, she launched Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, a Brooklyn-based writing institution that has helped introduce a generation of successful novelists....more
Most first novels are really second novels, since most first novels go unpublished. Writing for ZYZZYVA, Rumpus contributor Aaron Gilbreath talks through his experience having his debut memoir rejected, eventually leading an agent to suggest he write a novel instead:
He wasn’t telling me to call a novel a memoir, or to capitalize on a hot genre.