A belated Happy New Year to Everyone!
Last October I finished writing the first draft of a Women’s Fiction novel which I affectionally refer to as the Rock & Heartbreak book. It was my plan to put the book away for a month and then dive into it in December.
For November I thought I would go back and do few edits on my last book, the mystery novel about Witchy Women. After a few notes from agents who requested the full manuscript convinced me to restructure the beginning of the book (again). But November sped by, during which I enjoyed the company of my family on our first trip back to California since our move and then a full, extended table of friends on Thanksgiving. During these events people expressed interest in reading my Witchy book, to which I promised to send off to them before the New Year, once I completed my planned edits.
I don’t think I touched the Witchy book until a week into December.
I found myself wondering if it was worth it to dive in and edit again. Since editing it last year and querying I made some major changes after no one was requesting more pages. Listening to and reading different things about novel writing made me realize my beginning wasn’t where it should be. The things my beta readers had suggested echoed through my brain, some people enjoyed the first beginning with my character arriving to her new home but the action wasn’t there. So I chopped off the first 3,000 words and wrote a new beginning with a character another Beta Reader had expressed curiosity in. Then I moved up the introduction of what seems to be most people’s favorite character, Nina.
Once I made those changes I received six requests… which all led to eventual rejections. I listened and reviewed more feedback and decided to change Chapter Two, which gives the book a different tone. I then went through the rest of the book, making changes to reflect the events of Chapter Two. I was able to successfully get the edited version off to those friends who requested it by my deadline, but just barely. Whew!
But now my Rock & Heartbreak novel is tapping its fingers at me. I look at it sitting there on my desktop, waiting for its first read. It seems so daunting to start poking at a new book, considering a year and a half later I am still poking at the last one. How long will I be editing this one? The tone and characters are so different from the first I worry about the books bleeding together if I end up reediting the first.
I wonder how the Rock & Heartbreak story will change through edits. How will my beta-readers feel with these kinds of characters? I am trying different genres to see what I am good at, also my brain really likes to plot while I sleep and apparently it likes all genres.
When I began the Rock & Heartbreak book it was hard starting over again with a blank page after sorting through the 100k words of the last one. It felt like being plopped in a desert after making my way through the Amazon. But one day at time (okay maybe sometimes just once a week) the forest started surrounding me again. Now I have to get the machete and make my way through it.
This week I spontaneously opened up a puzzle I got for Christmas while I waited for the kettle to boil. Puzzles are a big time-sucker for me because I have a seriously hard time walking away from them unless they are complete. I had things I planned to do, but I found them loose their priority as I constructed the edges. Two day later I finished it.
It was very satisfying to put in the last few pieces and somewhat comforting to know they would all fit. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get that feeling when I write a book.
After I finished and admired the puzzle for about 30 seconds, I walked away from it with a less clouded perspective on the Rock & Heartbreak book. I am going read it and take a crazy amount of notes. Then I will pour myself a big cup of coffee and slash, rip, yank, and pull it apart until it fits.