First off, sorry for my long absence. It was my intention to post several times a week on this blog, but life (as I’m sure all of you know) has a tendency of running away with us. Spades of car-related drama, managing three-ish jobs, family gatherings, holidays, two types of martial arts, and general exhaustion has been keeping me rather busy. However, as a soon-to-be full-time writer, I probably need to spend some time reflecting on my writing process and discussing it with all of you cheery people!
I am in the process of editing the novel that I intend to self-publish between August and December of this year. I finished the first rough draft of this novel last April. Then, I went through a line-editing phase before passing it off to my husband for his edits and notes. I received the manuscript again in January. I had many months to develop fresh eyes for this novel. I had time to think about what I wanted it to accomplish. A while ago, I decided that I wanted to turn the story and characters into a trilogy and began work on a sequel. After several months of work on it, I was unhappy. I kept trying to pick up the threads of the characters and their conflicts, but it did not jive with me. By the time I got the first novel back into my hands and started the second edit, I realized the sequel I had been writing was not really true to the spirit of the first story. I needed to re-write it.
“For shame!” I was tempted to declare. “I spent all that time writing and now it’s all for nothing! What are you thinking?” Again, these sorts of thoughts meandered through my mind, but my decision was the same. I would re-write the sequel. Some of you may have been in a similar position before. It is tempting to think all the time you spent writing a manuscript was wasted if you abandon it later on. However, no time spent writing is wasted. Though I abandoned that particular version of the story, I knew that I had grown as a writer. My prose had become more polished and my vocabulary had expanded. My ability to bring complexity into the plot had developed. In other words, my time was well spent. I like to think of it as a 20,000 word writing exercise.
For another few months, no new sparks of inspiration hit my brain for the new sequel. And then, a few days ago while I was sitting at my day-job desk, it happened. Lightning seared my brain and a new story idea lodged itself in my brain. Excitement flooded into my fingers as words spilled onto spare composition notebook pages. A new sequel was born. I even did the summary for it that might appear on the back of the book jacket. I have been a fiend thinking up new ideas and outlines and plots and characters and all the wonderful things that could happen!
So, in summation, don’t be afraid to scrap a manuscript if it is just NOT working for you. You can sit and struggle through it, sure, but it might not be the best idea. Sometimes, re-writing something from scratch is a better use of your limited time.
Have you ever dared to re-write a manuscript when things just did not go as planned?
Happy Tuesday and Happy Writing,