On Saturday, August 19, I finished my first full-length novel. Despite the fact that I’ve written, edited, and published three books in collaboration with my mom and sister – the Seeds trilogy – as well as a solo novella in the same series, this is my first solo novel.
POROUS began in January of 2014 as a reader-driven serial on this blog, with a new chapter released every week. There was a great community of writers and readers who followed the story, voiced their opinions, and helped me move it forward. But eventually, without the steady hand of a navigator, the plot disintegrated. I was in love with the concept and committed to bringing the story to life. But in order to do that, I had to take it offline, refocus, and figure out how to make it work.
On one hand, finishing this novel feels momentous. I’ve crossed the finish line on a novel! That I wrote myself! No one wrote any words in this book except me! With my background in collaborative writing, there were days at the beginning when writing a book myself, alone, without help, seemed incredibly daunting. Who was going to help me if I couldn’t figure out what should happen next? Who would I turn to for brainstorming help? What would I do without my co-pilots to temper my crazy ideas?
But as I continued writing, I realized that the answers were out there. Instead of turning to my co-authors, I turned to the local library. I turned to other novels. I turned inward. In due time, the answers to all my questions took shape. And the story revealed itself to me.
On the other hand, finishing the first draft of a novel feels almost insignificant. With three novels and four years of writing experience behind me, I know how much work has yet to happen before this book ever sees the light of day. There will be a half-dozen rounds of editing, from developmental editing all the way through proofreading. There will be book covers, interior layouts, marketing plans, and possibly publishing contracts. There will be mishaps along the way, whether in the form of formatting problems, delayed contract negotiations, or missed typos.
And, of course, I have to start writing Book 2.
Yes, friends, POROUS will be a series! In the course of drafting the first book, I realized that Noomi’s story would end in such a way that more books would be necessary to finish the story. My Muse has informed me that POROUS will be a tetralogy – meaning there will be four books total.
Along with my revelation that the story would be a series came the slow realization that POROUS doesn’t work as the title of the first book. I struggled with this for a while, as I was very attached to the name, but didn’t think the word itself was rhythmic or descriptive enough for the final title. A few days before I finished the draft, I had a thunderstruck epiphany! I’ll share the new title with you soon – and those of you who read the original story back in the day will be unsurprised to learn the title of the first book.
But for now, here’s a hint about the direction the series is going. I drew this up yesterday while I was thinking about my main characters, and it might give you a clue as to what to expect. Please ignore the scribbles! I am a terrible artist and I was too lazy to make an entirely new copy after I made a few mistakes. So what you’re seeing is the first draft – which is appropriate given the circumstances!
The terms “Nurturing Generative Adult”, “Innocent/Sage”, “Wild Indigenous One”, and “Muse-Beloved”, are from a book I’m reading by Bill Plotkin called WILD MIND. This book has been hugely inspirational for me as I’ve finished the final third of my manuscript, and it has helped me map and outline each character’s personalities via traditional storytelling archetypes.