When I say that this week has proved to be awesome, I don’t throw out those words lightly. Because if I had a dollar for all the days I’ve felt the Muse this week, I’d have a whopping seven bucks!
But all hyperboles aside, I’ve been killing it these past few days (not that I’m bragging or anything :D). I’ve been averaging a word count that ranges from 2500-3000 words, and this might not seem a lot, but if I keep this up for another month, I could end up with 90,000 words. Now THAT is Awesome. Aside from that, I’m already reaching that sweet spot between the 2nd and 3rd Arc, which means that my novel will actually be fun to write again!
Maybe it was my increased doses of black coffee per day, the fact that I was able to get back into reading consistently, or maybe I’m just that talented, but this has been my reason to be thankful on Thanksgiving. These are the kind of opportunities that us writers have to reach out for and milk to no end, because there’s no telling when this feeling might leave. But while it’s here, I might as well relish in it.
Or at least, that was my thinking until yesterday.
I, the QuestingAuthor, in all my Divine grace and foresight, decided to come to a harrowing conclusion. And this isn’t just any kind of revelation, oh no, this is a special kind of revelation. The kind of revelation that pushes you off the edge of your bed at midnight and throws you into an ice-cold shower right afterwards. What is it, you ask? In case you haven’t read the title of this post, let me inform you.
It turns out that there’s a 90% chance that I’m going to end up ditching my current WIP.
*Tortured, muffled sobs in the background*
While it is true that I’m making light of this decision I made, it is even doubly true that confirming that conclusion in this blog makes me want to gouge my eyes out. But since we all know that this is by no means a cynical, mean-spirited, or snarky blog about an author drowning in his own ego, let’s look at this from the bright side. Mainly, why did I think this was the wisest choice and what can we learn of this?
Well, since I desire to drag you all down with me, let me drop a truth bomb. No author is immune to this occurring. There’s no 12-step novel-writing program that you can follow that guarantees you won’t want to trash your work the second it’s done. Sure, the chances of it occuring can be minimized, but the chance will still linger.
But as miserable as this makes me feel, I know in my heart that this is the best route I can take for my series. I love my novel, but I love my characters more. And as it turns out, this book has led my characters down a path that I don’t really want them to go through.
Sure, it could be argued that I’m too close to the book right now, or that I’ll see the worth in it later. To those arguments, I say you have a point. Maybe I’ll end up cuddling with this manuscript once I’m done with it, who knows? But as it stands, I feel that if I make my current story into a canonical part of my universe, it’s going to distort my beloved heroes into warped versions of themselves.
But alas! There is no need for despair!
I’m still going to finish the first draft, I’ll probably just trash this piece afterwards. And even though this might seem like a huge setback for some, it’s proven to be a learning experience for me.
The problems in this book are mostly structural, and being able to see this, I’ve spotted a couple of mistakes that I will vow to never commit again. The following are just a few.
1. I had WAY too many characters in my story, and I could barely spare time to flesh them out.
2. Many of my plot threads are geographically separated, so it makes it harder for me connect them with the overall narrative.
3. My world-building is not developed enough for me to competently express the story I wanted to tell
4. My characters are overpowered! If I wanted to give them a challenge, I would have to create a threat capable of destroying a sizeable chunk of the world. And that’s fine for later books, but this is only the second book in what I want to be a long series.
There’s another batch of flaws that I noticed, but I think you guys get the gist of it. And while finding these made me question my abilities as a writer at first, later introspection made me realize that finding this out means that I’ve grown as an author.
I’m able to pinpoint what went wrong with my book’s structure. I don’t know about you, but that’s a milestone for me!
When I first started writing, I always had to take potshots at what I thought were the weak portions of my work. I always had a vague idea of why everything went to crap, but I had to shoot in the dark. But being able to make precise assessments of my problems? Well, that’s the first steps to fixing them!
So, if there was ever a message to any of the ramblings of this post, let it be this. If you feel that you have to scrap your work once you are done, don’t fear it. That just means that you know you can make a better version of your tale. And if you truly love your characters and setting, you’d be willing to rewrite the same novel six times if need be!
And I leave you all with a question (or two). Have you ever had to do something as drastic as this with your work? Did it hurt you as much as it hurt me? Does my list ring familiar for any problems you’ve had with books in the past? Feel free to share your experiences below!
As always, this has been the QuestingAuthor. Keep writing, my friends.