Like most people, I jumped into writing with the intent of publishing thinking that the world was about to show me all the unicorn riding kittens wrapped in rainbows.
Let me start by saying that publishing did not turn out like that.
At every turn the journey has been hard--wonderful, but hard (sound like that speech from A League of Their Own? That's because it's right). I struggle with a lot of things, but the realization that my good book must be somewhere between great and spectacular to get anywhere has sent me back to the revising trenches.
And every time I go back I'm caught in a trap. I've written a quarter of a million words since I wrote the first draft of this book. That's somewhere between a sneeze and a ton. The real problem is that my written voice has shifted. It's closer to my actual voice. And this means that even though my book is good, if I could put my current voice into my old book, it might be great.
Edits should be the answer. Should. My problem is that I'm one of those terribly inefficient creatures for whom nothing short of rewriting will straighten out my writing voice.
That's right. I'm thinking about starting at the beginning and just rewriting it. AGAIN.
I rewrote the first chapter and Krakatoa! that's better. It's better in that relieving sort of way. It's like having two clarinet players*, the really good one, and the one with a lot less experience. The two are never in tune. The playing isn't bad, the timing is pretty close, but it's never quite in sync. Alone, most people would never see that the inexperienced player had some issues, but when the master plays it's clear.
I'm not saying my first chapter is like the master playing--actually maybe I am. For one brief moment it was really good. Like really good. (Why is it hard to say that about my writing?). But now it's clear that the first chapter is awesome, and chapter 2 isn't. Nor is chapter 3. Which means, I have to rewrite the whole thing. Anything less is going to look like a bad patch job where I threw in that "new" voice all over the place.
And anytime you write something, it must be edited for all the things. It's not quite starting over at least, but it's going to need time. Like lots of time. Like handing it to beta readers time, and that's hard because I thought I was done with that step. It's frustrating. But I think it's better to believe in something, especially this story.
Which leaves me at frustrated that writing takes so long, and excited for what this story really could be. In short, I'm totally ready for my 80s Movie Music Montage. Maybe we could go with a snappy pop song about working for your dreams or something.
Have you ever had that moment where the story you thought was ready for prime time came back with a seemingly subtle change that was really "here change the whole thing"?
*I chose clarinets because when played badly they sound like the noise my vacuum cleaner would make if I accidentally sucked up a set of bag pipes.