Archive for the ‘If at First You Succeed’ Category

If at First You Succeed is finished

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018


Ball in hole

It’s always exciting to finish the manuscript for my next novel. It’s such a journey to cook up an idea, create the characters, map out the story, and then write the novel. There is a moment of sheer relief when you type the words “The End.” I say “a moment of sheer of relief” because the journey isn’t nearly over yet. My twin brother Tim is almost always an early reader (along with my wife, Nancy), and he’s already nearly finished it. As usual, he’s had some sound editorial suggestions, most of which I’ve already executed. But still, there is a certain satisfaction at making it this far.

You’d think on my seventh novel that it might be getting easier. But I’m hard-pressed to say this novel was any less challenging than the six that preceded it. In fact, I encountered a rough patch on this novel that I’ve never experienced before. When I’d written the first half of this manuscript, I read it over before digging in to write the second half. For the first time in my writing life, I just wasn’t satisfied with what I’d written. It just didn’t feel quite right. I wasn’t happy with it.

So after thinking long and hard about the story, I made some changes. I performed some surgery on the first half that may have lengthened the novel a tad, but I hope also makes it a faster read. Seems like a contradiction, but it’s not. After recovering from this surgery, I barrelled ahead with the second half and finished it last week. I’ve now gone through the entire manuscript one more time, fixed some small things, and made the solid edits my twin bro proposed.

Now it’s off to my editor at McClelland & Stewart, Bhavna Chauhan, and the editorial process begins afresh. I’m sure she’ll have some helpful suggestions at various levels of the story that will make this a better novel. But, we’re getting closer. This post is just my way of pausing for a moment, and feeling good about finishing the manuscript, at least for the first time. I’m sure I’ll be “finishing the manuscript” a couple more times before it’s well and truly ready for your favourite bookstore. As far as I know, we’re on track for its release in August 2019. Seems so far away.

Onwards…

manuscript

We have lift-off on my seventh novel

Friday, May 4th, 2018

Blogpost photo

I’ve been remiss by waiting so long to post about the state of my seventh novel, If at First You Succeed. Actually, being remiss is kind of a perpetual state of being for me these days. It’s a busy time. But the good news is, I’m deep into writing the manuscript for my seventh novel. I’ve been working on it reasonably steadily since February. If at First You Succeed is now about half-written. I’m up over 50,000 words. So far so good (I think). The novel deals with a central issue in most of our lives. It’s about finding happiness and fulfillment and doing what our heart tell us to do, even if the head has other ideas. I think it’s an issue many struggle with, particularly as it relates to our careers. People often simply fall into their first job and discover that they’re actually pretty good at it. By all of the standard measures of success, they’re doing very well. They get promoted. They get raises. They’re headhunted by other companies. And before they know it, fifteen or twenty years have passed and they’re well entrenched in what seems to have become their career.

Here’s the tricky part, even though they’re very good at their job (or in the case of my narrator, the very best in the world), they don’t wake up on a Monday morning entranced by the idea of going to work for another week. So this is a funny (I hope) novel that wrestles with the idea that even though you may be very good at what you do, maybe even the best, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what you’re meant to do.

The current thinking of my publisher, McClelland & Stewart, is that it will hit bookstores in the late summer or early fall of 2019. And yes, there is a reason for the golf ball graphic. Now I must get back at it…