Friday, May 27, 2011

1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

Right now, I hate my manuscript.  I love it, but I hate it.  Confused?  Let me explain.

I’m back to work on Unnatural. 

I received a couple critiques, and the conclusion is it needs more.  This is frustrating because I whittled down from 155,000 words the first draft to 101,000 words the fourth draft.  I did this based on critiques I put a lot of faith in.  Well, 5 critiques later and 4 out of the 5 say it needs more, not less.  I had my doubts when I made the last round of revisions, too, so I’m mad at myself for not going with my gut.  *Sighs* Critiques are opinions, and everyone’s got one, and I also know they are only trying to help.  When critiques trend like that (and half are from agents lending me a helping hand), you should, at least, take some stock in what’s being said. 

It won’t be that hard to replace what was removed; I keep all my drafts.  It’s all a matter of rearranging, copy and pasting from old to new.  It’s just tedious.  My brain has moved on to the sequel, so when I have to stop that W.I.P. to work on something I was so sure was completed, it’s like stopping a freight train at full speed and reversing at full power.  There’s a lot of screeching, halting, smoke and a big jerking motion for all my passengers (meaning my characters). 

With the six other projects I’ve been developing, my brain is being wrung like a wet sponge.  I’m squeezing whatever I can out of it, poor thing.  It’s not functioning properly.  When I’m sitting at my computer, staring at a screen and begging it to send the signal to my fingers to start typing, it won’t.  It thinks about it, hard, but only one day this week was I able to get anything coherent out of its ramblings.  Even as I write this blog I can feel it yawning, nodding off, and then snapping back awake to complete the work at hand.  I gave it the chance to take a break, but it won’t shut down.  I’ve been hard at work for so long it doesn’t know how to. 

I have to find the off switch.  My tired brain had me convinced last week to give up.  Yes, you read the right, I considered quitting.  And for two days, I did.  I couldn’t eat, had trouble sleeping (more than usual), I cried and got angry.  Then I slapped myself in the head and said “Build a bridge and get over it, brain!” jumping back in.  I’m not a quitter, and I don’t have any reason to quit, either.  With the exception of editing some small grammatical errors, all the feedback on my novel has been 98% positive.  My brain is too tired to realize that though.  It threw a temper tantrum at the prospect of going back to Unnatural again and I indulged it--for a short time.  I’ll try not to make that mistake again.   

So my priorities have shifted yet again.  The sequel is on the back burner and my other projects are on the wait list.  I need to focus on this 110% because this needs to be ready for agent reviews.  I’m considering hiring an editor to give Unnatural a final once-over when I’ve put everything back where it belongs.  There is no such thing as perfect, but I have to get as close to it as possible--You only get one real chance to impress in the publishing world.


  1. Honestly, I think this is a good (although frustrating) sign! I had too many plot lines and not enough detail in mine, so I cut and added and ended up with 7k more words and one big plot line less. Then I was told "What happened to..." Yikes!!

    You'll get there. Keep pluggin'. :)

  2. Thanks, Erica! That makes me feel better, knowing I'm not alone. I feel like I'm never going to be done haha

  3. Hi K.T.

    It's really nice to meet you. Your blog is terrific. This post is just SO relatable and so well written, too. Good luck with all of your WIPs.


  4. Hi, Lisette!

    It's so nice to meet you as well. Thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoy it! I always appreciate positive feedback.

    Good luck to you as well and keep writing!