Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Point of Crisis

I'm at a point of crisis with my book. I've been working on it actively for five years, at least. When I say "actively" I mean whenever I get a spare moment I write. I've re-written it umpteen times. I've fact checked until I was BLUE IN THE FACE. I've had beta readers give me feedback, and I've made major changes that have needed to be made.

I had a few moments to write this morning so I went through the familiar process of opening it up on my computer. At that moment I felt a disgust and disdain that one would feel toward their bitterest enemy. We're talking vomit-inducing. Maybe that's too strong. At the very least I am bored out of my mind with it and my characters and my plot and everything. In my heart, I still love it dearly, but for goodness sake, you can only re-hash something so many times.

Recently, I received the advice to let it go. (Darn you, Queen Elsa.) That if you've been working on a book longer than 2 years it's time to let it go. "Put it aside and you will be amazed at what your creativity can do." Even my husband, who has sacrificed all but his right arm so that I could work on it, is telling me to set it aside and work on other projects. It's true, I have gobs of ideas for books. But let all of it die? Five plus years of my blood, sweat, and tears gone just like that because I didn't have the drive to see it through?

I really want to cry when I think about that, which is appropriate since one of the themes in my book is about loss and letting go.

Gosh, there is so much I wish I would've known before I began this process. SOOOOOO much.

Honestly, I don't think I have the strength to let it go. I don't have the desire. I CAN'T DO THAT. That's where I'm at right now. Apparently, I'll have to wait out this storm because letting it die is not an option for me at this point.

Future Shelli, keep this in mind when you write your next book:

1. Write it ultra quick. The quickest I can imagine. One to three months TOPS. Don't worry about fact-checking, finding the perfect names, words, or phrases at this point. I shudder to think of the sheer hours I spent making sure all the words and phrases in the text were actually in the vernacular prior to the year 1860. JUST GET THE STORY DOWN. Work out the details later.

2. Keep going to writing conferences and keep networking with other writers. And, yo, I'm still in the market for a critique partner or writing group. So if anyone is serious about being successful in this department, give me a jingle.

3. Follow the principles in the Universal Story. The book that has caused the kerfuffle around here--the one that has really shaken things up and made me see all the flaws in my manuscript is Martha Alderson's The Plot Whisperer. For real, girl, where was this book five years ago? Not in print yet, apparently. It published in 2011 so finding it even then would've been helpful. Oh well, I can only move forward. (And if you didn't catch that plug in all my frustration, make no mistake. This book is invaluable. A MUST-READ for any writer. PURE GOLD.)

There are more, but that will suffice for now. And I suppose I'll find more things I wish I would've known (but still don't know yet) as I get into the publishing aspect of this whole thing.

Heaven help me. I really thought I would've published my first book by now. OK, cease rant.