Wednesday, June 19, 2019

This is the book that never ends...

🎶🎶 This is the book that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends. Some writer starter it, not knowing what it was, and she'll continue revising it forever just because...🎶🎶


🎶🎶 This is the book that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends. Some writer starter it, not knowing what it was, and she'll continue revising it forever just because...🎶🎶

Welcome to June, folks. In my neck of the woods, the weather is wet and the kids are home. School has ended and I find myself STILL trying to edit a novel and also parent at the same time. It's a mixed bag of Hell if I'm gonna be honest. It doesn't help that there are no snacks in my house and I find myself tossing croutons at my kids to appease them. Here, eat this.

Until recently, I'd never truly been in the query trenches. I queried a novel in 2013. Sent if off to 25 agents and then hit small publishers where it got picked up. I queried another novel in 2016, sent it to five agents, where is got representation only to have had that agentship fall apart soon after. Now I'm firmly in the trenches where most days it feels like rats are feeding on my face while I sleep (WW1 reference) and it's (understatement of the year) difficult. Because while I am the deepest I've ever been in the process, I still feel so far away from my goal.

Agents are (rightfully) finding flaws with the book. Things that must be addressed. And this novel has been revised a trillion times already. I've gone from two points-of-view to one back to two, and then to four. Agents (who offered feedback) said the same thing: I didn't connect with one character's POV and the pacing needed work. Also, it was too long.

So I cut it down to one POV, making sure my antiheroine was the focus. But then I ran into issues with her motivation and character development. And one agent suggested I consider changing the verb tense.

You might think, well, this is your book. You're free to make changes where you see fit. And that is true. But what also is true is that you want your work to feel accessible. Everyone says that it only takes one yes to get an agent. One yes to get a publishing deal. But the more yeses I get from agents, the more yeses I'll get from editors. The more yeses I might get from readers. I want yeses. Otherwise all this work will feel in vain. At least, to me.

My friend recently took a Twitter poll to find out how long it took authors to write and revise a novel before it sold to a publisher. For most, two years+. I'm going on sixteen months. This book is a toddler.

Some days, it doesn't feel worth it. Some days, I think, just chuck it. Shelve it. Start anew. And when I take too long a break, I feel like my characters are haunting me. Peeking out from behind tree trunks to scold me. Get-r-done.

In the meantime, as I go back to my revisions, I'll sing my version of the Shari Lewis Lambchop song with the hopes that this will eventually end. Because there's another book ready to take its place.


Mary Fan said...

I totally understand... sometimes it seems like this whole writing and publishing process is an eternal hamster wheel. But hey, keep it up! You’ve really got something there

Brenda St John Brown said...

Revision is hellish, but if your story is still calling your name even after you've tried to shelve it, you probably need to finish it. Or it will haunt you forever and ever, and you'll keep going back to it in your drafts folder thinking, "Maybe I should look at this again." Or maybe that's just me...?

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