Well, I’ve currently found myself in a situation I never thought possible. I’m sitting on a plane and my four year old is quietly playing with her tablet and snacking on potato chips and my 22 month old is peacefully dozing on papaws lap. This is awesome except for one thing, I wasn’t prepared to entertain myself for three hours. I have a bag packed full of snacks, books, puzzles, and stickers. Everything you could think of for two small children to pass the time. Not one thing for mama. So, I figure I might as well write a blog post.
Last week I felt the quick thrill of validation with an amazing contest score. This week I was back to the crushing defeat of rejection. I’ll admit, the rejection was much easier to take while sitting on a beach in Mexico with a margarita in my hand, but it still sucked. It got my mind thinking, how do you know when you when you need to revise, rewrite, or just recycle and move on?
I think it’s clear to anyone who has written a manuscript that it always needs revisions. At least everyone who has written and then maneuvered through the writing world and had their eyes opened to all the work that goes into really polishing your work. I know I’ve made several revisions now and am so happy with where I am. But what if you still haven’t turned the heads you want to turn? When do you go from revision to rewrite? My CP has gone to this stage and I told her it makes me feel physically sick to think about starting my story over. To keep the main plot and flow, but just start over with a blank page and rework the whole thing?? Enter panic attack! I’ve sent out some more submissions in the last couple of weeks, and I’ve gotten back one rejection that came with some good insight. But it’s not the kind of insight that can just be worked into the existing MS, I’d have to do a lot of rewriting of work that I’m kind of in love with. At what point do you stop seeing your original vision and story and just write what other people ask of you?
I’m not an idiot, I realize there are industry standards and a way to write in which the readers expectations are met. The reason these exists, and agents and editors go by them, is because it’s a formula that works well. And has worked for years. I want my MS to fit that mold to a certain extent, but what if it doesn’t? And worse yet, what if it never will?
I’m currently working on revising my second MS, and I feel almost guilty saying I think it’s better than the first. It’s widely said that you need to keep writing because the more you write the better you get. While writing my second MS, I knew right away it was better work. My voice was a little clearer and I had started to figure out a better way to plot out my story. I’ve had a few people who have read both MS’s, and I think they’d all agree with me. Maybe this second MS will be the one that turns heads, but what does that mean I do with the first? Just recycle it?
This may sound silly, but I feel like if I did that, I’d be giving up on Jonah and Jillian. I love these characters like real people, and I love the story they tell. To recycle their love story would be like saying they don’t matter anymore, and that makes me sad. So what to do?
No really, I’m asking, what do I do? How did other writers realize it was time to move past one baby to concentrate on the next? When did you understand that rewriting was a scary step that you had to take? Or how did you know in your gut that you had something worth sharing and you had to keep fighting hell or high water to get it out there?
Sorry if this post has a rambling edge to it. Turbulence has a way of making my mind wander! Also, the picture doesn’t have much to do with the post. But if I’m talking about being on a place, I might as well share a picture of the paradise I left behind!