I finished my second novel tonight, though the term second is misleading. In many ways, this is my first novel — or my first legitimate one not counting those I began as a kid.
I started this novel back in either 2000 or 2001, just shortly after a novel I co-authored with a friend of mine was turned down in New York. That novel was something that my buddy and I foolishly thought shouldn’t be changed when a New York agent called asking us for changes.
Yeah, we were that young and stupid. Cocky, really. But we were convinced we’d soon be finished and how dare someone ask us to change a couple chapters and plot points.
Yet after we had no other takers on the co-authored novel, we were stuck. And feeling pretty stupid and suddenly exhausted.
I eventually picked myself up and started on yet another one, and that one is the novel I’m referring to in this post.
For more than ten years I’ve worked on this novel and I poured a ton of my soul into it. It’s a complex thriller that involves a former Marine Sniper and an arm of the CIA, who eventually goes after him for something they think he’s done.
I’m not going to say more about the plot for now, but I did want to say that this book took all I had in me to finish it. Between launching a business, surviving a divorce, and only barely avoiding bankruptcy, it’s been hard to fight with this novel. Plus, it’s complex.
One of the number one rules in writing is, “Finish what you start.” And as part of that, you’re never supposed to lay something to the side or delay in finishing it.
Doing so makes the task of completing it monumentally more difficult. You lose your enthusiasm. Doubts creep in.
Both of those things happened with this one, and I want to publicly say that my wife Danah deserves an immense amount of credit for encouraging me to finish it. Even the past couple months, just pages from the finish line and with thoughts of giving it up, she helped push me to the end.
I’ll never have another novel that proves this difficult. I’m certain of that. I’ve grown as a writer and learned a ton of tricks and principles that must be followed. This one was birthed the hard way, and it was quite a fight that I nearly lost.
But I’m certain it’s a great book and I can’t wait to get the cover done and complete some final editing.
Stan R. Mitchell
Oak Ridge, Tenn.
P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give.
P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novel Little Man, and the Dixon County War a huge success! It’s gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here), landing smack dab between a Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey book. Learn more about it here.