What I’m learning from rewriting my first novel

Abandoned Dreams

By (author): Rod Raglin

At twenty-seven years-old, George Fairweather is “the voice of his generation”, a poet whose talent has garnered him accolades from the literary establishment and homage from the disenfranchised “hippie” youth of the late 1960’s.

George is the embodiment of the times with his long hair, rebellious attitude and regular use of mind-expanding psychedelic drugs.

Then the sudden and tragic death of Fallon, his friend, his muse and his lover shatters his world, his sanity and nearly ends his life.

Katherine is the one person who stands between George and destruction. A hanger-on, a groupie, a go-for, she’s a woman George never considered – for anything. Katherine idolizes George and makes it her personal mission to keep him alive, doing whatever it takes, twenty-four seven.

Because of Katherine’s sacrifice and devotion George slowly begins to mend his soul and rebuild a life. But guilt and gratitude make it a much different life then he’d previously led.

Thirty-seven years later, George Fairweather is a husband, father and grandfather and a successful copywriter at an advertising agency. Another death, his wife Katherine’s, is about to change his life again.

Can dreams be resurrected? Can a live abandoned be taken up again?

Will they let him?

Is it worth it?

The Seeker of Abandoned Dreams

He is not now,
nor has he ever been
the person you think
you know.

What you see is
a complex compromise of demons, dreams, desires,
the blunted spear of passion, the dull edge of intellect,
an over-talked argument, the last guest
at a weary gathering.

Extraneous stuff slips away,
the affairs of friends hold little interest
and the lack of things in common
make conversation the killer
to his preferred silence.

The focus has narrowed, the journey closes,
the lack of purpose becomes

He’s going out there now
to slough off conventions,
become what wind, sun and rain would have him be –
beyond different.

He’s taking with him
something vague and inarticulate,
less than a memory, tinged with warning.

He’ll travel with no expectations
only to be
uncomplicated, uncompromised,

List Price: Price Not Listed
Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

What I’m learning from rewriting my first novel

I wrote my first novel, The Local Rag, in 2003.

Like most first novels it was a masterpiece.

I sent it out and as the response came in I decided maybe I didn’t want to be a novelist after all.

I hid the manuscript in the back of my filing cabinet.

Four months ago I dug it out. It hadn’t improved with age, but at least I could now read it without weeping and gnashing my teeth. To my surprise I discovered if you could overlook the very bad writing (which I admit was difficult, even painful) there was indeed a story buried in there, one even more in need of telling today than it was thirteen years ago.

I review quite a number of books by independent authors (see link below to my video book review blog Not Your Friend, Not Your Family book reviews) and most of them are making the same mistakes I made in my first novel. This means if you continue writing for ten more years you should at least achieve my level of skill, which, come to think of it might make you want to rethink your career path, especially if you consider the lack of success I’ve attained.

But I digress.

What the rewriting of The Local Rag (yes, I’m rewriting it) has done for me is affirm my criticism of the work of new writers – at least in my mind.

To put that another way, I am now rewriting The Local Rag in accordance to what I’ve suggested many new authors do to improve their work.

And what are those suggestions:

  • Begin with Goal, Motivation and Conflict: what does my protagonist want, why do they want it, and what is preventing them from getting it? Write your GMC down and refer to it each time you begin to write. It will keep your story focused.
  • Don’t over explain – especially simple actions and the description of characters. Leave it to the reader’s imagination
  • Use adverbs sparingly. Especially don’t use them to explain your dialogue.
  • Leave out everything (and I mean everything) you can’t attribute to developing character or advancing the plot.

In 2003 the word count for The Local Rag was about 82,000. The 2016 version will likely be about 60,000.

Of course, a significant number of the words deleted are “that” (used 910 times) and “just” (used 279 times) in the original manuscript.

However, I hope the new version supports the theory that less is best when it comes to writing.

Herewith is blurb for The Local Rag. I find writing the blurb before you actually begin writing the novel is another good way to keep focused.


Do you believe everything you read in the newspapers?

Jim Mitchell doesn’t.

He’s a journalist and the publisher and editor of a community newspaper, The Sentinel.

He gave up a career with big media because he couldn’t justify their choice of what to cover, couldn’t tolerate the way they edited his stories and would not be implicit in misleading the public to benefit some hidden corporate agenda.

When he bought The Sentinel he thought all that would end. Being owner of “the local rag” he could select the stories, edit the copy and make sure the interests of the community were served.

He would print the truth – no slant, no bias, no spin, and he’d make a living doing it.

He was wrong.

Right from the beginning Jim’s brand of reportage rankles some powerful people, people who pay his bills. Then there’s the new competitor, a multinational media conglomerate that’s expanding its generic community newspaper format into The Sentinel’s market area.

Soon it’s a struggle for The Sentinel to make a profit and for Jim to keep true to his uncompromising ethic.

When his best friend, Anthony Bravaro decides to run for mayor Jim’s hopeful for the first time he’ll see an honest politician.

Hope turns to dismay as Jim watches the quest for power turn a good man bad.

Tony’s campaign tests Jim’s professional objectivity and personal integrity.

 When Jim confronts him with damaging information that could end his run for public office he finds out how far Tony’s prepared to go to win the mayor’s seat – farther than he ever could have imagined.




Book Giveaway. 100 e-books of ABANDONED DREAMS ’til March 1





Layout 1


Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ






Rod Raglin on BloggerRod Raglin on GoogleRod Raglin on Twitter
Rod Raglin
I am a author, creative writing coach, journalist, photographer and avid environmentalist living on the west coast of Canada

Leave a reply


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Privacy Policy   |  ©2018 Promocave   |  All Rights Reserved


Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?


Create Account