Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Is Writing A Novel Worth It ($)?

I tried writing my first novel about two years ago.  It's currently sitting at around 40,000 words.  It's stuck there because I made the mistake of writing about a character who's a job injury lawyer. Part of the plot involves him coming to the rescue of his estranged father, a victim of shoddy labor code at the San Diego Harbor.  There's more to the plot of course, but the reason I stopped writing the story after nearly 50 hours of work had to do with my need to read-up on injury law or at minimum, consult with some of my lawyer friends.  And I got lazy so it didn't happen.  Moral of this story: If you're endeavoring to write your first novel, start with a subject you don't have to research, i.e., make it easy on yourself.  K.I.S.S!

Now I'm onto novel number two.  The title of this novel is, La Buena Hija or The Good Daughter.  I really, really, like the plot I've sketched out for this novel.  But I'm conflicted.  I think many writers, especially those that are just beginning, have a constant thought in their mind:  Is it even worth it?  I'm a published short story author.  I don't even think twice whenever I sit down to write a short story.  I just do it.  But writing a novel is like writing 13 to 15 short stories!  You will spend a considerable amount of time focused on a single product.  There are no guarantees that your efforts will make you any money.  Sure, you can self-publish your novel, but don't expect to hit a home run your first time out at the plate.  You will most likely not pay yourself back for all the time you spent typing away.  I did a Google search using the query: "Is writing a novel worth it?"  I got some decent answers on this page.

I'd like to share the first several hundred words I have for my second novel attempt.  Let me know what you think!


Mrs. Garcia’s rooster anticipated the sun’s rising by forty minutes, letting out a loud cock-a-doodle-doo from where it stood.  It set off the bark of Satanas, the Hernandez’s black lab in the neighboring yard.  The old dog stayed in his doghouse, buried his head between his forelegs, and shut his eyes once again.  Campanita, the neighborhood’s stray cat, ran cautiously across the street.  It stopped on the sidewalk directly in front of the Ramirez’s and froze.  There was movement inside.  A light came on, showing Mrs. Ramirez fully dressed, standing still near the switch.  She stared for a few seconds at the children pictures that hung along the wall.  She made a sudden move toward the window, spooking Campanita away.  “Que calor,” she said, sliding the window open all the way.
            Mrs. Ramirez walked hurriedly into her kitchen, flicking on the light.  She grabbed a pan from the cabinet directly under the stove and set it on a burner.  From inside the pantry she grabbed the canola oil, and the salt-and-pepper shakers, setting them on the counter.  She stepped with haste to the refrigerator, opened it, and saw the carton of eggs under the deli ham her husband picked out at the Super Mercado.  While shutting the refrigerator door, the face of a man revealed itself.

“Good morning,” said the man smirking.
Ay dios mío, Martin,” said Mrs. Ramirez, “you scared me.”

            Martin chuckled as he walked toward the coffee maker still in his underwear.  “The kids up?” he asked, lifting the filter lid.  “Big day for them.  Especially for Elizabeth.”
            “I woke them up,” said Mrs. Ramirez, “but I’ll go check on them again in a minute.  Let me get your breakfast started.”  She walked to the stove, made a lake of canola oil in the pan, and turned the burner on low.
            “Okay,” he said, placing a new filter in the brewing cup.  “I want to be out of the house a little earlier today.  There’s always a ton of traffic at the schools on the first day.”
            Mrs. Ramirez left the stove unattended, walking out of the kitchen with purpose.  She got to her two son’s bedroom first.  She swung the door open and saw that both her boys were still in their beds.  “Junior, Daniel,” she screamed, “get up!”  She flicked on the light, causing both boys to get their heads quickly under the covers.  “Tu papa wants us ready to go as soon as possible,” she said, walking inside and taking a seat at the end of Junior’s bed.  “Besides, aren’t the two of you excited?  First day of high school and first day of middle school!”
            “No,” said Daniel slowly sitting on the bed.  “I liked elementary.  Now I get to have a bunch of teachers.  They’re probably all stupid too.”
            “Stupid?” asked Mrs. Ramirez.  “What do you mean, stupid?  You haven’t even met them yet.”
            “I don’t have to meet them,” said Daniel.  “Junior told me they’re all lame.”  Junior poked his head out from under his blanket and gave his little brother a mean look.  He moved his head to face his mother behind him.
            “He’s lying,” he said with a mischievous smile.  “I told him all the teachers at Lincoln were excellent.”
            “Really, Junior?” said Mrs. Ramirez with a straight face.  She held her stare a couple of seconds without blinking.  “You’re going to ruin what Daniel thinks of his teachers before he even starts?”  She turned her head to face Daniel across the room.  “And you,” she said disappointedly, “believing your older brother!”  She stood up and gave the boys her back.  “You two wear me out,” she said emphatically, walking out of the room.  Junior and Daniel faced each other once their mom was out of the room.  Junior grabbed his pillow and flung it violently at Daniel.  “Snitch!” said Junior.

 What do you think?  Leave a comment or question behind, please.

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