Hey, it worked for God!
Let me tell you a story about my first book: Until a month ago, it was a tragedy.
Jazrael and I have been together for nearly 2 decades. She’s had a couple of names, and the city that she’s lived in has gone through a couple of names too, but she’s always been the same person in that same city.
I started writing Phoenix Rising in high school. The early drafts are pretentious and horrible, but hey, you gotta start somewhere right?
For those of you that are not writers, you have no idea the agony of starting a book, especially your first book. You think it has to be perfect, so you write and throw it out. You write and tweak. You try a different angle.
It wasn’t till after college that it came to me how I was supposed to write that first damned chapter. I was working as a market researcher – it’s different than a telemarketer, but yes, I still called you during dinner – and I had hours where I just sat on my hands in front of the computer screen. Facebook was just beginning to take off at this point, and I didn’t have too much of an interest.
So here’s the deal, my favorite book of the Bible is Genesis, specifically the first 11 chapters. It’s a world building book. Literally. It tells how the world, according to Christians and Jews, was made. Fascinating stuff really. And there is tons of fantasy related things in it too. Demons sleeping with humans and creating super humans. Talking snakes that walk. A lady being made from a rib bone. A giant, world destroying flood.
But, the first chapter held my interest the most. I loved how the book told the story of creation day by day. It was poetic, literary, beautiful, and very, very fantasy like. So I decided to copy it.
It was golden. Beautiful. Literary.
And a big huge flop.
It’s the chapter I originally published. I could not get anyone to review it because the first chapter. Too slow, poetic, and literary I kept hearing. I’m sure it’s also what drove the agents mad too.
I don’t blame them; I was trying to sell a commercial, teen fantasy book to them and it started out with literary, biblical verse. So, I took the book off line, hired myself a publicist, and rewrote the first chapter.
And guess what, reviewers are lining up. People, the right people, get sucked in and can’t put the book down.
I’ve learned an important lesson in writing from this experience. There was nothing wrong with my chapter before. It just wasn’t the best first chapter for Phoenix Rising. I forgot who my audience was and fell in love with my lovely words, the perfect imagery, the illusions to the Bible, and nearly tanked my book.