My Journey to Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch ...

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I arrived in Narnia the evening that I joined my first writing class – never to return.  And what a journey!

I’ve always had to have my daily fix – reading.  As a child, I would be outdoors, playing with friends, but if I didn’t have a book waiting patiently by my bed, then I would feel a little out of sorts.  But the solution was easy – I just began another journey between the pages of a book.  Often, my parents would find me late into a school night, with my head buried beneath the covers with a torch, just finishing those elusive ‘last few pages’.

Although I’ve always written a little, it was when I joined my first Creative Writing Class that I felt as if I’d entered another world – my own, personal, Narnia.  Only this time, there was no wicked witch!  Instead, fellow writers I’ve met, at every stage of their career, have been nothing but a delight.  In Narnia-speak, pure Turkish Delight – but without the catch.  Every one of them has offered nuggets of advice, at the exact moment I needed them most, to push me forward.

And so, armed with all this knowledge, I talked about writing a novel, incessantly.  Then I finally began.  Taking on board, tips from Alex Barclay and John Connolly, I began again – this time changing the location from the streets of Dublin to those of New York.  It is October 2012 and I’ve finally done it – I’ve finished my debut novel!

Now, before we all get too excited – I do know it’s still only the first draft.  I know that I’ll probably have close to ten drafts before I’m entirely happy with it – so still a lot more work to be done.  BUT, at this moment in time, I am so happy to have 90,000 words which I have managed to spin into a story, printed and sitting on my kitchen table.

Maybe you’d care to follow my journey through Narnia as it continues or comment about your own writing journey.  I’d love to hear . . .

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About Susan Condon

Irish Writer and Poet. Award winning, published short story writer.

Posted on October 13, 2012, in Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Susan, I am joyful you have finished the first draft. Years from now you might look back and see you have a really good base of a story. Now for the hard part:

    I “finished” my first draft (60,000 words and 200+ pages of dystopian thriller) of my debut novel in August of 2011. I really believed it was ready when I sent query letters to four different agents, and all four were rejected. In February of this year I attended the San Francisco Writers Conference, where there were dozens of writers, editors, reviewers, and agents. All but two said my work needed work. Two agents wanted to read it, and while they said the premise was sound, I needed to seriously edit the WIP.

    Now, seven months and twenty two re-writes later, it still is not finished. At 82,000 words and 350+ pages it is better, but still not finished. But it is very close.

    Advice (you will get this from lots of people, and you can easily ignore mine): Take a break, say a month. Don’t think about that writing piece. Write something else. Pick it up in 30 days and don’t read it. READ IT OUT LOUD. You will see a different side of your work, and flaws you never dreamed of. Start there and be brutal.

    If you have and questions or comments, let me know.

    Tim Lewis
    timlewis@timlewisauthor.com

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    • Thanks Tim – I’d heard that advice a couple of times and seems to make a lot of sense, but I’ve just entered the Novel Fair in the Irish Writers’ Centre so I think a week or two will be all I can manage. Hopefully, even that, will make a difference. Best of luck with your novel – keep me posted 🙂

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      • Thanks for the reply, Susan.

        As to conferences, faires, etc., when I attended my only writer’s conference this year, I thought I would take a break from my reading/writing routine and just absorb as much as possible.

        And then I met Lisa See.

        She scolded me. My goal is to write 500 words every day, and read at least one chapter in a book. Lisa said I should meet that every day, no matter what day it was (certain holidays and special days being the exception). I stepped up my efforts and by the end of the four-day conference I had read one book and written more than 10,000 words.

        Seven months have passed since that conversation and I have achieved and maintained my goals. It has not been an easy journey, but it has become necessary. Aftermath is in its final stages of edits, and the commitment of my time is critical.

        I am going on vacation to Hawaii in two weeks, and we’ll see how I stick to my goals.

        I have taken a break from my blog, but I plan to begin posting again on 31 October, the day I fly to Maui. I recommend you check out the blog on 1 November for updates.

        All the best,

        Tim

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  2. Great news Sue. Looking forward to reading it.

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  3. Michelle Moloney

    Well done! That’s a great accomplishment and you have the joys of redrafting till it sparkles more.

    I can’t wait till I have a first draft!

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    • I’m looking forward to that sparkle Michelle! Good luck with your own writing – one of the best tips, for me – was to forget the editing and just keep writing until it’s done. Otherwise I’d still be at 7,500 words – maybe perfectly edited – but with no end in sight . . .

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  4. Well done, Sue! I like what you say about nuggets of advice, at the exact moment you needed them most. I’ve been lucky that way too over the years and have met some wonderfully generous writers

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  5. Congratulations! I’m sure the book will be a success. Try the novel fair if you don’t have a publisher yet. And I still have my dad’s old set of Narnia from before the dawn of time – great books.

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    • Believe it or not, Janet – just hand-delivered to the Irish Writers’ Centre yesterday – their deadline was just what I needed to spur me on. And ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’ was my all-time favourite childhood book. Re-lived the chronicles again when my kids arrived 🙂

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  6. Susan – I am so excited for you! Well-done! The editing part’s not always fun but trust me, you’ve already done the hard work of creating. I can’t wait to read your best-seller 🙂

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  7. Brilliant news Susan! Congratulations and best wishes on getting your book over the finishing line. Enjoy the editing process! I look forward to reading it – I’m sure it will be a bestseller.

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    • “Over the finishing line” – hadn’t thought of it that way, Joe, but you’re right. I’m leaving it stew for a few days before really getting stuck into editing. And love your prediction! So kind 🙂

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