My First Novel · 22 July 2012
I finally published a new book. While all those musings of the past few years could have been made it into a “best of” book by now, that is a project for a different day. No, the book I recently published is a novel. Or at least what might pass for one.
Most writers say that they want to write the next great novel. They hope for fame, fortune, and immortality. Of course, my wife, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, has often told me that most writers seem to enjoy those things after they die. (I am not really worried about those things, but if I do get any of the three, it would be nice if they happen while I am still around.)
I realize most would-be writers merely wish for the next great novel to appear on their computers. Often, that wish does not become a burning desire, so they get stopped by that most dreaded of four-letter words – work. Mind you, these potentially great writers could have great ideas. Many of them even start on what could be the next great novel. But when it comes to the day-to-day grind of piecing that book together, or when the fear of failure (or success) rears its ugly head, or when life gets in the way, many wannabe authors do not have what it takes to finish a project. I ought to know. I have been there for much of my writing life. And truth be told, those same excuses tend to doom anybody with any dreams if they are not ready to work.
Personally, I am just excited that I have gotten passed those excuses, put in the work, and actually finished something. I am glad I have a new book that is more than a collection of past writing I have done.
My latest book, Show and Tell & The Great Ice Cream Caper, is a middle grade novel, which has actually been sitting around gathering dust for the past few years. It is about me growing up so I had my boys read it first. Then, I gave it as presents to my parents, brothers, and sister one Christmas. They all indulge and endure my pastime with much grace telling me how they liked the story and much of my other writings. But I could not just take the biased opinions of my family as the basis for seeking publication of this short piece of fiction. So I went to other friends to see if I should make a go of it.
I must admit that even though I value his remarks, I did not take all of my friend Tim’s advice. I tightened up some of the story like he said, but was too attached to the words I had written to make sweeping changes. Still, his advice was invaluable and I always appreciate his frankness.
Recently, I asked a new friend of mine, Bernadette Pajer, if she and her son would like to read my book. Bernadette is the leader of our local writers’ group, Wednesday Writers, and even though her son is a little younger than my target audience, I figured he might enjoy it. She had brought him to one of our meetings and I thought he might be a good candidate to read my book since he did not know me or have a vested interest in the story.
Bernadette is an accomplished writer and I am sure she gets too many requests for evaluation of manuscripts or requests to forward material to her agent. I approached Bernadette with a bit of hesitation knowing that she had already said she would turn down most requests for reading our group members’ material. Thankfully, she made an exception because she likes my writing, especially the piece I wrote about Wednesday Writers, which was published in the local newspaper.
The endorsement of Bernadette’s son was the final piece that led me to actually publish my first novel rather than let it continue to gather dust. Bernadette’s first report was that he liked the book, but had other books he wanted to finish before getting too involved. Then later, without any prompting, he asked that they read it together so he could find out what happened next.
While preparing the book for Amazon’s self-publishing service, I found that I wanted to add detail and dialogue here and there. I know there is still much room for improvement, but I needed to be finished. I needed to be done because the next story was bubbling to the surface. So I decided to put Show and Tell & The Great Ice Cream Caper out there for the world to read and judge whether I can actually tell a story or not. The middle grade novel is intended to be the first in a seven part series called Autobiography of a Sixth Grader. I guess time will tell whether the whole story gets told.
Of course, the book is sprinkled with some true happenings (after all, it is ostensibly about me), but it is a work of fiction that is intended to entertain. It is also intended to fulfill one of my great desires. Like my fictional main character, I would like to be a good story teller like my father. Even if I can only do it in written form (digitally in this case) rather than orally.
Whether I ever achieve fame, fortune, or immortality, I am glad I finally finished my first novel. I know it could use more spit and polish, but I am ready to move on to the next book. I am ready for my character to grow up. And I am ready to move beyond my own excuses and inertia. I am ready to say again that I have a new book.
Note: Show and Tell & The Great Ice Cream Caper is available at Amazon.com. It is currently only available digitally for Kindle and devices with Kindle reader apps.
© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi
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