Most first novels are really second novels, since most first novels go unpublished.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. He was telling me to re-imagine my story, to try a new angle. Magazine editors did this all the time: rethink this, they say in the margins of your essay draft, redo that, go further, go deeper.