Monday, September 13, 2010

How Do You Persevere?

Writing a novel is one of the hardest things I've ever done. The manuscript I'm working on now has its hands around my neck and is choking the life from me. I want to set it on fire and if it wasn't for the support of my critique partners I might do just that and bag this writing thing forever!

I've edited this nemesis I call my WIP at least six (yes, I said SIX) times and it's still not done. Editing isn't just changing grammatical mistakes or coming up with a better word choice. It's having your characters make different decisions which leads to a different plot line, a different setting, a different outcome. You add characters and delete characters, but that leads to other characters having to say it, do it, feel it, see it. And after all this changing around you have to go back and fix the things you missed like telling the reader who Gayle is because you've edited the book so many times you don't realize you've cut out the part where you mention she's your protagonist's life long friend!

As I write this post I'm faced with almost another complete rewrite of the novel and frankly, I don't know if I have the energy to do it. And what if after all is said and done I still can't get someone to publish it? (Ah, the real issue I think.)

I know, no one said this was going to be easy and anything worth having usually isn't. Any pearls of wisdom from those of you out there? How do you keep going in the face of challenges?

I'm going to borrow a good idea from a friend. I'm going to eat a bag of peanut M&M's and maybe by the time I'm done this book will have written itself!

Talk to you later...


  1. Stacey,
    As one of your critique partners, I am qualified to say that your WIP is bound for greatness. In its former stages it had all the makings of a good solid tale but now, as you've chiseled away to the masterpiece within it, I anxiously await its rightful destination-- on a shelf in Barnes and Noble! xoxoxoxo love you!

  2. Does she seriously rock, or what? I'm soooo lucky!

  3. I thought the same thing about my manuscript currently being shopped. I had to revise it so many times and it took so long, and other people have suggested why not put it away and start a new fresh idea? Because I was close. I felt it. I knew that if I could just rework the first damn chapter (first chapters are always the toughest for me) and tweak my heroine then it might find it's place. Why start a new one when this needed a little more cooking before it was ready to come out of the oven? When I was finished, I was right. It found an agent. Crossing fingers that it will find an editor. Moral is, I'm glad I stuck with it. I believe the frustration came from being "almost there". But that's' merely my experience with THIS manuscript, you and your blog readers' mileage may vary. Good luck with whatever decision you choose.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story, KM. It's always inspiring to hear what other authors go through with their manuscripts. It makes me feel less alone in the big, bad world of writing! I have to admit, this manuscript is the closest I've ever been. I've written two others and some how I know they need to stay hidden, but this one...Maybe there's still hope.

  5. Sorry I'm so late w/this, Stacey! I do try to keep up, lol!

    I'm always a fan of 'going with my gut' even when popular opinion might say different. There's something to be said about instinct when it comes to our 'babies' (human or other forms they may take, lol).

    I do understand about wanting to shelve the whole idea--which might not hurt for a little while, just so that it feels more 'fresh' next time you look at it--but if your heart of hearts believes this is the one, keep at it until you feel you've exhausted all possibilities. Maybe submit to a contest? Or even a trusted 'first-reader' close friend beyond your wonderful CPs (just for a separate perspective).

    BTW, Amy Tan supposedly revised 'The Joy Luck Club' at least twelve times. I never count my revisions but figure I'm at least double that for each ms I've completed (let's not discuss individual scenes).

    Good luck and keep at it the way YOU best see fit!

    Joanna Aislinn
    Dream. Believe. Strive. Achieve!
    The Wild Rose Press