It's November...and people are writing novels

Storm is born into a world of secrets – an island no one visits, names no one will say, and deaths that no one will talk about. The answers are locked in his species’ troubled past, guarded by the fierce creasia cats. But when Storm’s friends are threatened, he decides that he must act, pitting himself against the creasia to show that they can be resisted and outwitted. To prove his point, he must stay one step ahead of clever hunters, who have more to lose than Storm imagines.

Hunters Unlucky is an animal story for people who loved Richard Adam's Watership Down, Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, and Jack London's Call of the Wild. The animals in this story do not carry swords, walk on two legs, or drink tea. They fight. They starve. Sometimes, they eat each other.

When I was 14, I started the first novel that I actually finished. It was called...well, it was called something silly. For short, it was called “Lidian” – the name of the world. I finished it almost exactly a year later. It was a bloated, lumbering beast, something over 250,000 words.

That book played a special roll in my friendships as a teenager and young adult. It became my letter of introduction to the world. I met people over that book who became lifelong friends and beta readers, people whose opinions still matter to me.

I went on to write other books, better books, different books. But every few years, I would return to Lidian, armed with more experience, and try to improve it. The story has been edited more than any other book I’ve ever written. It was submitted to, and rejected by, dozens of publishers--the old-fashioned way via snailmail and cardboard boxes. College teachers shook their heads over it. One of them told me it gave her nightmares.

Now that we’ve finally entered the age of self-actualization for authors, I have returned to this book again, determined to put it to rest. It’s not something I would write today, but I know it has an audience. People exist who will like this book.

But co-authoring a book with your teenage self is hard. I mean, it’s really tough. It’s tough to know what to keep and what to throw out, what to rewrite and what to leave alone. I am no longer the girl who wrote this story. She was charming in ways that I am not, and I am clever in ways that she was not. She did not know me, and I have half-forgotten her.

So the re-write process has been sluggish. I’ve been stopping and starting it for over a year. In addition, I’m worried about what my existing audience will think if I release this book without explanation. Anyone who thinks I wrote it after Cowry Catchers will wonder whether I have sustained a head injury.

I have been toying with the idea of serializing it on my site for a while, and I’ve also wanted to try NaNoWriMo. So here’s what I have decided to do – I will attempt to get through 100,000 words of this novel in Nov. I suspect that my rewrite will cut it down to 150K or less. I was pretty verbose as a teenager. I’ll polish off the rest in Dec. Most of it will be rewritten from scratch. I plan to reboot it, not just rewrite it. That means nothing is off the table. I’ll make drastic changes if I think I need to. But I will get through it.

You (any of you who are interested) will be my beta readers. I always have a few (usually half a dozen) reading a novel as I write. I actually have trouble completing things without these people. The version I release here will not be final. It will be near-final, but I reserve the right to make changes. Your comments/corrections are welcome. When I’m finished with all the editing, I’ll release the eBook for sale. I will probably take this version down at that point (or maybe not; I haven’t decided). You get to read it for free if you read it here.

Hunters will be released (along with possibly snarky commontary from me) in a separate journal. Follow the link or click the page in the far right corner above. You can add it to your feedreader if you do that sort of thing.