I wrote the first draft of a novel two years ago. It doesn’t have an official title and it was only after I hadn’t written a word of it for a year that I started thinking of it as Tillman Park. The project name is of course one of the fictional locations in the story. It was my first and last “completed” effort to be written during National Novel Writing Month, or Nanowrimo as I’ve grown to allow myself to call it. Click the link for more information about the event. It’s a great group and a wonderful thing to participate in. The gist is write a 50,000 word novel in November. My draft went passed the finish line, ran for an extra 200 or so words and then collapsed in a puddle. I was very happy to have completed what I did but have said time and time again that I will never make it public.
Everyone who is a writer would read this and immediately agree, “of course, you shouldn’t share a first draft that you wrote in a month.” Others don’t seem to agree or understand this. Like I said in my last abandoned blog (which I’m sure still exists because as we know nothing that’s ever been on the internet ever truly disappears), the story was something in my head that needed to be exercised so that I could move on to the next story. The second part of that hasn’t been going so well.
There are writers with stacks of unpublished novels hidden away somewhere. I’m sure I will add to my own stack. But completing that first novel and having it be just for you is oddly satisfying.
Tillman Park is my Prince Jellyfish.
Hunter S. Thompson’s first novel, Prince Jellyfish, was never published. Very little is known about it and only an excerpt is featured in Songs of the Doomed. He had his reasons for not publishing it even after people would have craved for glimpses at his earliest work. I know I have my reasons for not sharing mine, even without the fame. All that matters is that despite being a horrible mess of bleak, sometimes-sappy, “doomsday” fiction, I’ll always love it in my own way. I’m sure bits of it will find its way into later works because there are some good bits. I can admit that much.