Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Worried my Best just isn’t Good Enough


I don’t think it’s any secret, I just finished a revision on a project. No one asked for it. No one said “Hey, Rena, you know what would make this better?” I decided to do this thing on my own. I poured myself out into a novel that was probably too broken to receive that level of revision. I probably should have left this book behind.

But I didn’t. Inexplicably, I chose to pour months of work into a novel I thought was broken. I chose to put in more work on the novel that had already received more full requests than any manuscript before. And so I did. I changed characters, I added scenes, I deleted whole chapters. This great bit didn’t work? GONE. This character too unlikeable? Change it. No chemistry? CUT!

I was ruthless. I did my absolute best by this novel in that revision. All I have to do now is proof the new chapters and send it on. It is the very best I can do with that novel at this time.

If I lived in an 80s movie, I’d have a contract, an agent, and someone hounding after the movie rights by the end of my 90 minutes, but alas, this isn’t a movie. In reality, it doesn’t really matter unless that one person falls in love. In short, my very best, may not be good enough.

Ah, the cruelties of reality. I have seen people get agents with books that they thought were cast offs and only sent out query letters because, why not? I’ve seen people toil for years and years, then not have anything to show for it when their book is considered not good enough, new enough, romancy enough. And these are my fears.

But whenever I get to the part where I’m staring down the possibility of retiring yet another project, I look back and ask myself what have I learned from this? Was this all a waste of time?

What I learned is that I have a stubborn streak that will serve me well. I’ve learned that I am capable of things I didn’t think I could do. I didn’t think I could push through. I wanted to quit, but I kept finding the place to do the work. I remembered how to write for me because the idea of leaving my character in a substandard novel when I knew a way to fix it, bugged me. So I fixed it. 

I learned that my other projects will wait. They are beautiful shiny things, but I’m giving this one a shot.

So there it is, three months of editing a novel and it’s within 500 words of the length of the previous version, but I’ve cut and changed ~30,000 words. I really hope it’s good enough, but it’s already making the next book better.


As always, check out Mr. Linky at the Ninja Captain’sHideOut. Say hello and thank you to this month’s co-hosts: Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte.

6 comments:

  1. This sounds like me with the book I've been querying. I've rewritten and revised it more times than I can count. But there is a difference here. You received full requests (and a lot of them) for your book, and I never received a full request for mine. haha

    ReplyDelete
  2. Patience and stubbornness are two necessary qualities for a writer. I'm glad you listen to them. Always strive to improve. Good luck with the revision.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Now just hold on to that stubborn streak and send out some queries! You never know...

    ReplyDelete
  4. There must be something that's making you stick with this novel. Stubbornness wins! Also, go with your gut.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Like others have said, stubbornness is an important quality in a writer. Well done on the rewrite - you obviously knew that it wasn't quite working and did something about it :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I hear you and I've been there on all of this. >_< Here's hoping all the hard work you put in pays off in good and unexpected ways.

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! Let me know what's on your mind.