Novel approaches: part 1

My first novel, “Two Birds,” is scheduled to be published this fall. By “first novel,” I mean “the first book of the several I’ve written to be selected for publication.” The actual first book to be completed, “The Muralist,” came close to seeing the light of day several years ago, but in the end, was shelved. That experience led me to believe that getting published was not a total pipe dream, which is why I’ve kept at it.

If you’re a writer, or any sort of artist, you know the dichotomy of the writer’s mind: one side tells you your work has merit and ought to be shared with the world (a perusing of the first pages of the latest fiction being a surefire way to keep you on track); the other side informs you that sooner or later, people will discover you’re a fraud, wasting not only your own time, but that of those who love and support and encourage you. How I hate that side. Yet it never shuts up.

That dichotomy has been receiving quite the workout lately. I’ve been editing “Two Birds” one more time before it goes to Red Skies Publishing and the printers this summer. For the most part, I’m pleased with what I’m reading, and by “pleased,” I mean “aware that I can’t possibly make it any better by re-writing it.” There are even times when I burst out laughing at a particularly funny line, living up to the Kennebunk High School Class of 1982 predictions that in the future, “Dana Pearson will still be laughing at his own jokes.” Yes, mind like a steel trap.

That being said (by me), there have already been several passages that I’ve tweaked, finessed, honed, edited, and thesaurused into a more presentable state. Years after the Beatles broke up, John Lennon said he’d like to re-record most of his Fab songs, knowing he could do them better. In no way am I comparing myself with the great man; it’s just that I agree with his belief. It’s important to note that the belief is not that one could have done a certain work better at the time, but that it can be done better now. We all grow and mature and improve (if not…well, that would be sad), becoming capable of better things, with perhaps the notable exception being Adam Sandler.

So I’m reading this book I wrote a few years ago, making some adjustments, making it as good as I can today, and then – with some reluctance – I’ll soon sign off on it, knowing that years from now, I’ll pull it off the shelf with some unhealthy nostalgia, read a couple of pages, and mutter, “Oh come on, I can do better than this.”

But I suppose that’s what next novels are for.


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Dana Pearson is a writer living in Kennebunk, Maine.
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