One of the reason there are far more people who want to write a book than there are those who actually do it is that it’s hard. People who have not written a book don’t realize how hard it truly is to finish.
That’s the kick. There are a lot more partial novels than completed novels. The first 20, 50, or even 100 pages are easy, especially for the writer hatchling because the story has usually been stewing for years. The problem is, once you reach a certain point in the story, things get hard.
We call that the “middle muddles,” and that’s what usually derails people. I went through countless false starts before I finished my first novel. It takes a concerted effort to sit and write, to keep going no matter what. Even if it sucks.
The very act of finishing a novel means a graduation. You finish a novel, you finish armed with the knowledge that a novel is possible, and that’s everything. Subsequent novels may get derailed by the middle muddles–Lord knows A Darkling Nine and Rigel Kentaurus were–but those novels can be picked up and finished by writers who have completed novels under the belt.
The secret is to go into page one with the attitude of finishing, and being determined to see it through to the end. The first novel is probably not going to be the blockbuster best seller. That’s not what it’s for. It’s for getting over the hurdle of proving you can finish something, and that’s all it’s for.
I wrote my first novel from scratch a second time, and that’s the verison that is available to purchase. The first version is archived deep on my hard drive, where it will stay.