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Joe DeRouen, Author of the Small Things trilogy: National Novel Writing Month

Monday, September 18, 2006

National Novel Writing Month

I've done National Novel Writing Month (or Nano for short,) in which you do your dead-level best to write a novel in thirty days, every year since 2003. Small Things was my first effort, though it required a good two years editing and rewriting until it was up to snuff. Next came Threads, the second book in the eventual Small Things trilogy. Last year I tried something different, a stand-alone, as-of-yet-untitled novel that I'm still working on.

So why am I tell you all of this? To inform you about Nano, for certain, but also to vent about my frustration over having not yet gotten the first book published. Certainly there's some hubris there - why should I, my first novel out, get published, when it takes some authors virtually dozens of books before they finally sell even one? But I'm confident in the book, and have revised it and revised it, and I know it's a good read. And so I keep trudging along, trying to get an agent (I'm just targeting one in particular right now, waiting to hear back from her) and continuing to write.

So will I do Nano again this year? Sure, I will. It's September and I haven't quite decided what to tackle yet, but I'm for sure going to do it. For one thing, it'll be my third year being the Municipal Liaisons for the Northwest Arkansas area, and I've got to set a good example. But that's not the only reason I'm doing it.

As frustrated as I am at not having an agent, at not selling the first novel, I love to write. Though I still have high hopes for a career as a novelist, I imagine I'll keep writing forever, published or not. I'm a writer, after all, and that's what I do. I'm still confident that I'm going to sell that novel - or another novel - but until that time (and, I'm imagine, well after) I'll keep plugging away, putting words down on the page and dreaming of walking into Borders or Barnes and Noble and seeing Small Things or another one of my books on the shelf. And then I'll cackle like a madman, kick up my heels, pull out a sharpie and sign every last one.


At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Mela said...

Oddly enough, when I first read this, I had just recieved a rejection letter for a query I sent out. I admit, it was my first, and I recently (today) sent out another, but . . . I'm not sure where this comment is going.

Do you mind if I ask how long the agent has been looking? And what phase of the process are you in, right now? I think that's enough for now.

At 11:39 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Hi Mela! Well, she expressed interest in January but said she was super-busy and asked me to write again in a few months and she'd officially request the manuscript. That eventually turned into July 4th, when she finally asked me to mail the whole thing to her.

The last I heard, she still hadn't had time to read it but had given it to her associate, who was also interested in the novel. It's been frustrating, but I also understand that agents are flooded with queries and manuscripts.

I've talked with the associate who'll actually be reading the book and think I'd do well to have her as an agent - so wish me luck!

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Mela said...

Good luck! :)

I don't have a lot of patience myself, so I must be crazy to get into this.


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