In 2014, I started writing a romance novel. And here we are now. Three years later and a whole ton of coffee later, still unpublished.
When I completed writing the first draft of my novel, I felt like the image on top of this picture below….What now seems like such a minuscule task then felt like a huge accomplishment.
I went through the procedure of letting the draft sit for a bit.
I left it alone for the recommended time, came back to it with fresh eyes and read it from beginning to end without an editing pen. Naturally, it was a painful read that had me cringing all the way through. The first draft is SUPPOSED TO be crap, so I didn’t feel too shitty about it.
I knew the process ahead was about to make my hair turn gray.
I pretty much rewrote the story with the second draft. In 2015, I gave myself a time limit to complete one chapter each month. You would think I’d be done with the damn book by now! I did okay with sticking to the schedule. By the end of the year, I felt ready for betas!
I sent the WIP out to a few people and waited. Weeks turned into months. Months turned into “Oh I’m so sorry. I forgot, but I’ll get to it this weekend” sort of responses that sometimes faded into no responses. It sometimes felt a little disheartening, but people are busy. I understood. Asking someone to set aside hours, days, weeks, or even months of their time to read over and critique your work (for free) is asking for a huge commitment that can easily slip away towards the bottom of the priority list. People have jobs to sleep through. People have families driving them up the wall. People have boyfriend/girlfriend drama. People have vacations to go on. People have Game of Thrones to binge through. I get it. People be busy.
But honestly, when I heard back nothing, insecurities started running through my head….
-Did my story put them to sleep?
-I guess it wasn’t a page turner… I need to fix it up to add more suspense so that they’ll keep wanting to read further to the end and actually give me some sort of feedback.
-I wonder at which part I lost them.
-Why did I ever think I could write a book?
-Maybe I’ll need to rewrite this crap at least 50 times for it to be even somewhat decent and readable.
I didn’t want to continue until I got some kind of feedback (any feedback at this point) to get an idea if my story was flowing in the right direction. Somewhere down the road, the waiting eventually paid off and I received some feedback (thanks and much appreciation to those that took the time to get back to me with SOMETHING). I had pulled up my big girl panties and was prepared to hear the worst. My skin was thick enough to handle everything about my writing being picked apart and be told to fix. But the feedback I received was mild (but helpful) compared to what I was expecting. Each set of different eyes brought a unique perspective and attention to what I might have missed or what I can add or omit to make it better. I took with me everyone’s insight as I continued rewriting/revising.
And at this point, I feel like if I quit my day job, committed to writing this book full time, it’d finally be publishable in about ten years. Ha!
It’s like…. I’ll get a brilliant scene idea one day…..two days later, the same idea only seems like utter crap. I’ll finish pulling apart a few chapters…a few months later, I have a whole new set of ideas, go back and change the entire story.
I feel like once I finally publish the book, a month later, new ideas of what I wish I could have done will trigger. And I’ll be sulking because by then it’d be too late.
I still struggle with my opening chapter. No matter how many times I’ve revised it, I never seem to feel 100% satisfied on if it’s interesting enough to hook the reader. *sigh*
I read Stephen King’s On Writing around the time I was on the first draft. It’s a book that every aspiring author must read (I’m sure most already have). It’s inspirational….it’s insightful…..it’s a page turner. #Love
I have my moments of wondering if I’m ever going to finish. Most days, I stare blankly at the screen, getting distracted with internet-ing. Ideas flow through my head, but sometimes I have a hard time putting them into words.
But….the journey continues……
We all need inspiration sometimes.
I know I probably shouldn’t, but here is a little sneak into my first chapter.
And if you remember my dreadful first draft (for those of you long time, loyal readers), there have been changes.
The heroine’s name is no longer Tiffany. She’s no longer mainstream White. When I began writing this book, I figured, mainstream White would appeal to a broader audience. But my fellow writers pointed out that ethnic characters are in high demand in the literary world. An ethnic character would be unique and a breath of fresh air. So….Tiffany Hansel is no longer a White woman.
She is a Korean American adoptee named Jisu.
Fufu, her tiny pooch, has been changed into Marshmallow, a Baekgu Jindo who is fierce, aloof, affectionate on his own terms, and loyal as fuck.
I never had intentions to add a murder or an attempted murder scene into my story…..but as I was rewriting, it just went in that direction. The first chapter starts off with someone having been shot.
There are times I wonder if I should just stop dragging it on into a lifelong project and be content before I think it is perfect to publish it. Even when I do feel it’s perfect upon publication, the next month, I might end up wondering WTF I was thinking. New ideas will always pop up and I’ll be wishing I had waited.