Thought you’d all want to know :-)
Last Wednesday I took the day off work and pretended I was a full-time writer for the day, and by the end of it I had finished the sleeping beauty retelling.
Quick recap of the timeline here:
- Inspiration for idea in September 2010
- First draft finished in June 2011
- On Submissions August 2011
- Decided not to pursue a second round of Submissions in December 2011 in order to revise based on editorial feedback.
- October 2012 finished rewrite
Now, some of you may be thinking, ‘Submissions?? Whaaa?’ That’s because I was being all sneaky and not telling you about it. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Or something.
(Actually there are real and understandable reasons why writers don’t talk about being on submissions to editors. You don’t want to hype everyone up for no payoff, you don’t want editors to know how long you’ve been on subs or what round, etc. I just don’t really hold with all this secrecy anymore.)
Going on submissions was actually really great. I got to tell my friends at the LTWF Writer’s retreat in Florida, which was super special. There was screaming. When I was on submissions with Nameless I didn’t understand the significance of what was happening, but now I did. Oh boy, did I.
I’ll be honest, readers: We came close. There was some in-house conflict at a few places, and some other people had concerns about the middle bit. I decided I wanted to poke at the story a bit more before doing round 2, because I had an idea to make it better.
This turned into a full-fledged rewrite as I realized the editors were right and the middle did need a huge overhaul, which revealed a subplot that affected the whole book from beginning to end and gave a lot of the characters tons more depth. So that happened.
It was a really humbling, eye-opening experience, actually. It taught me a lot about brainstorming and how I will definitely not do another project until I have the whole plot set up. It really showed me how pale the first draft was in comparison to this rewritten draft. The story is deeper now; more fleshed out.
I’m very, very proud.
Or I was, until I actually sent the story to critique partners. I’m working with people I haven’t worked with before, because my standard CPs all have their own book deals and are very busy :-) And readers, I’m scared.
What is it about sending a book off to be read that immediately makes you realize every single flaw with it, and every single thought you had a few months ago to improve something but forgot until right now?
You start to get debilitating thoughts like, ‘I know I’m not a bad writer, but what if this is just mediocre? What if I’m a mediocre writer?! What if they hate it? What if no one likes my main character? What if I’ve put all my readers and friends through years of anticipation and it’s just a sprawling mess?’
Then one CP starts getting back to you with notes and you think ‘WHYYYY didn’t I wait and send this to one CP at a time?!!!?!’. Answer: Because your impatience made you forget the lesson you learned last time.
And then you realize that your CP has made wonderful notes and you are filled with SO many ideas for things to tweak and expand upon that will eliminate all those doubts you had, because the story is pretty good, and your MC is pretty likeable even if at times she over-analyzes, because you can fix that, too!
And you keep repeating to yourself another lesson you’ve learned, that criticism hurts at first, but soon the excitement replaces that because anything that makes your manuscript better makes you happier.
So here’s the plan:
Once I get all my feedback, I will implement changes as I see fit. Then the manuscript will go to my agent, and there will probably be more changes at her behest. Then we will go on submissions again. Then the book will sell (I know it will), and then you can read it.
In the meantime, I wish I could tell you about the stuff I overhauled, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t make sense since I only shared scenes from the beginning of the story before the main plot was established. But I will confess that the original ms was 70k and this one is, err, *cough*, 100k.
Let me also just say I think it’s the best book I’ve ever written, better than Nameless. I’m taking a breather but when I turn in the project I’m excited to get to work on Book 2.
I’ll update you as we go :-)