The first novel I wrote here in Washington was a cliche fantasy I serialized on a blog early this year. I felt good about the book as it went on, but gradually as comments started to come in (most supportive, some not so much) I began to lose confidence in the story. Then I began to hate it. Then I became grateful I was writing anonymously and stopped posting.

I wasn’t quite expecting the response I got. At first nothing much. Then someone posted a link wondering what was going on, and then my mother-in-law asked if she was ever going to finish, then two friends from California, and so on. People I didn’t know, past reviewers, tons of people, tons of talent, all looking at a story I thought was invisible.

My sister made me promise to post the rest of it up, and today I did. As I was going through it, looking at each chapter, I found to my surprise the ugliness I remembered wasn’t there. I loved the book. Sure, it needs work. I can see lots of room for improvement, but the hopeless feeling I got when I looked at it is gone.

There’s some very good parts in it. I found myself wincing in sympathy for my poor character, and the trials I forced her to face. I actually can’t wait to go back and revise it, to turn it into the novel it was meant to be. It’ll be a great break from Life of a Suburban Unicorn, once this almost-revision is complete.

Distancing yourself from a book can be so hard, but it’s worth it. I feel better about my writing looking at it. Better than I have in a long time. How do you feel, when you look back?

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