Several agents have said to me that to be taken seriously as a writer; I would first need to write a novel.
That advice haunted my thoughts for months. I began my career as an author penning short stories, and over time, I became well versed in their construction. My third collection Neverlight is to be released by Spectral Press next month, and I am already halfway through penning my fourth.
Still, in the eyes of the agents, to be taken seriously I’d need to write a novel. Was it not that I could ever establish myself as a writer penning solely short fiction? I immediately disagreed with that idea. There are a multitude of fantastic authors at work in the field of short fiction, and many of the authors that inspired me to write, have released numerous short story collections. When I posed this question to an agent, they replied that although this was true, the authors in question had made their name initially writing novels.
So, to be taken seriously I’d need to write a novel.
Those that have followed my career know that I rarely shy away from a literary challenge. I’ve penned award-winning screenplays, turned my hand to stage plays and also had a try at poetry. A novel was the always going to be next on the agenda. So I began to write one. Several months ago in fact.
I’ll admit it; progress is slow. The construction of a novel is a vastly different process to that of the short story, screenplay, and stage play. I was required to learn a new set of skills, some of which I am still to acquire.
The hardest part of the process in my opinion, is being able to see the overall project through the eyes of the reader. What I mean by that is, I see all of the joins, the flaws, the hiccups and the stutters, all of which will be polished out in the rewrite. However, what I do not see (and I never had this problem with short fiction) is how well the overall novel fits together regarding the narrative. Of course, this might be because the first draft is still just over halfway complete, and I might be needlessly worrying. However, it is a tangible worry all the same. A writer only gets one chance at a debut novel, and I intend to make mine as strong an example of my work as possible. I have a unique idea that I believe to be well executed. They are layers to this piece; history buffs should lap this up, at least that is my hope.
Anyway, enough of this chatter and worry, I have a novel to write.
For more information about Dan and his work visit http://www.fatherdarkness.co.uk