Monday, January 18, 2010

Personal Favorite

A post to a loop on which I mostly lurk, DorothyL (for Dorothy L. Sayers) recently posed the question of published authors, "Which of your books is your personal favorite?"

Good marketing and craft development led a lot of authors to view their most recent as their favorite, but author Tim Hallinan's response caught my eye.

He gave me permission to share it here:

Mine is the worst book I ever wrote, but it was also the first I ever finished.

It's called The Wrong End of the Rainbow, and except for the title, it's awful. Not a likable character in it—they're like rejects who were turned away because they weren't cheerful enough to appear in a Patricia Cornwell novel. I did everything wrong: wrote a long (really long) prologue and put it in italics; started the book halfway through the action and then told the bulk of the story in flashback; cheated the reader regarding the murderer's identity. And did I mention the characters?

But I finished it, and at that point my life changed. I was someone who had finished writing a novel. It was a terrible novel, but it was a novel, and at least I didn't have to worry about sophomore slump, because the second one couldn't possibly be worse.

And it wasn't, and the third got me my first three-book deal.

I no longer have a copy of The Wrong End of the Rainbow, which is probably just as well. Some day, though, I'm going to use the title.

The key words for me are "at that point my life changed." I love it!

You can get Tim's newest, Breathing Water at Amazon or your local Independent bookstore. Or a chain bookstore. Pretty much anywhere. The thing is, Breathing Water, as well as the other's in the series have received amazing reviews.

CR: Dark of the Moon by John Sandford.

BTW, my rhythm is back. I'm rewriting my rewrites. Pretending to be professional. I only want to hurl every other day now.

It's all better with friends.


  1. I'm so new that it's hard for me to think about looking back on my early mistakes. It seems kind of premature. However, I did make so many that I can see a lot of progress.

    Since admitting your mistakes is one of the steps to healing and moving forward ~ I will be brave and say I totally messed up POV. I had the main character in 1st - the rest in 3rd. One re-write later, and I tackled redundant words (still a problem for me). I wonder whether practice will cure me of that particular ill. Then I mapped out the rooms and buildings I planned to use and realized they wouldn't work with with the scenes as written ~ yet another rewrite. When I delved into characterization - one more re-write had to be done. Then there is the biggest problem of all. I've always been the story teller in my family. Switching to being an author and writing with deep POV and active ibstead of oassive writing writing has been the mof difficult of all.

    Plus I have some problems choosing vocabulary that is is descriptive and yet not out of character or sounds like I searched the thesaurus for it.

    That's not to say it isn't going well. I guess it isn't quite what I exoected.

  2. For me, the idea is not to look back on our mistakes (there will always be something we could do better, even well into our published journey), but rather the signficance of our accomplishments.

    I loved when he realized what he'd done . . . written a novel! . . . and from there he moved on with confidence and yes . . . growth from making all of those horrible mistakes.