So as the title states, today we’re going to talk about conclusions or rather, the conclusion I’ve come to. For those of you just joining us you can check out my last few posts to figure out what I’m talking about, or you can know that I’ve tried to decide between starting a new book or rewriting my complete novel.
So here it is, I know you’ve all been waiting for it…haven’t you?
There will be no rewrite. I’ve weighed my options and I’ve come to the conclusions that I think it’s best left alone for now. I’m going to continue submitting it to agents and start on a new project. Should any of the agents I’m submitting to show interest, I’ll come back to it. As I said yesterday, I already have the outline done for SHIFT (Book 2) so I can jump right into it and I’m ahead of the game.
Yesterday’s post put you inside my head to let you know what I thought on the matter and how I was trying to decide the best way to move forward. Today’s post is similar because you get to come back inside my head. WOOHOO! Lucky you. Today we’re going to talk about why I made the decision to start a new novel.
I’d been pondering all of this for a few weeks now and one of the major mistakes I made in process of writing EXILED is I didn’t make it a standalone novel with series potential. I made it the first book in the series. For those of you that don’t know, the reason this isn’t a great idea is because it’s easier (according to some agents) to get a single book published than it is to get a publisher to commit to a multi-book deal for a series, at least for first time authors. Now I was nearly done Exiled by the time this information reached me and I liked the way my story was going and how it was ending. I wasn’t ready to revamp my novel to that extreme unless an interested agent thought it was best for the book/series. All this has been the reason I’ve delayed starting SHIFT (book two).
The reason I don’t want to continue with Shift is easily described as fear and/or insecurity. I don’t want to spend the next 6 – 12 months working on the second book in the series if the first book isn’t ready or marketable. That would be a year wasted writing characters and stories that only myself and a few close readers would enjoy.
My dream to be a published writer, and if what I’ve written isn’t publishable, then I don’t want to continue the story. Not yet anyways. My goal now is to write a new novel. This one will be a standalone book with series potential. When this book is done and I’ve started to submit it, I’m going to come back to Exiled and read it again. By then I’ll be a better writer – having now written two books, done more research, and read more books – and I’ll have stepped away from this book for a year. I’ll have really gotten away from the story and be able to look at it from a reader’s perspective. After writing two books and having even more knowledge under my belt I should be able to decide if I need to rewrite the novel completely, if it only needs some fine tuning, or if it’s great as is. All this is under the assumption I don’t find an agent to represent it, but I still have faith I will. I still love the story I started and I look forward to finishing it, but for now I’ve made the decision to stray from the series and focus on something different. Whether that decision is right or wrong I’m not sure. Heck I’m not even sure there is a right or wrong.
All this might seem like I’ve lost faith in my novel way to early. For those of you that follow this blog you are well aware I’ve only actually received 8 or 9 rejections so far. Or as one writer likes to call them, agent ‘declines’. Check THIS out if any of you are writers and hate the word rejection. I haven’t lost faith in my novel at all. In fact, I have more faith in it now than I ever did before. What I have lost faith in is my expectations.
Very few first time writers get published with their first book. This is my first book, and I love it. I think it’s fantastic and I’m happy with how it turned out however, maybe in 10 years I’ll look back and laugh at how terrible the writing is. Right now I think it’s great but who knows what I’ll think when my craft really starts to mature. So please don’t mistake this for a loss of faith in my story, it’s just a loss of confidence in my expectations, or more so a change in my expectations.
I’ve not taken any of my rejections to heart, I can stay that truthfully. That’s not to say they don’t hurt a little, but I’m not overly upset about them. I understand this is part of the business and I take them with a grain of salt. I’m just not holding my breath any more. Which is probably the smartest thing I’ve done yet, otherwise I may start to turn purple. This my friends is really a business decision.
I want to make sure I’m not investing in something I can’t sell. I hope of course, that an agent picks it up, loves it, signs me, and sells it to a publisher and I can continue with the series but, I want to make sure I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket. Meaning I don’t want to spend two years writing two books in one series, only to find out I need to write something different. Something standaloneish (it’s a real word I swear) that has the potential to be more. And in a perfect world: I start writing this new novel, find an agent for Exiled and go back to working on Shift. That may put this novel on the back burner, but at least I’ll know I have something else in the works and when I need it, I can come back to it.
Writing this new novel is going to be great. I’m excited to get back to work. I’ve been dying to start a new project, whether it was book two, or something new. Anyone who’s written a book knows writing it’s an exciting, fun, and a truly mind-blowing experience, but the downside of all that is the editing. Revisions are a…. well let’s just say their time-consuming and mentally draining sometimes.
I’ve been working on characters for the new book and I’m going to be using an outline this time around which I hope will save me from the many revisions I had to do with Exiled. I’m also going to try a new method of writing/editing with this one and see if it helps the process. Every few chapters I’m going to go back, read what I’ve written and make changes as I go. With the outline I’ll be able to avoid major plot holes and by reviewing my work every few chapters it should make the editing process move faster and smoother…I hope.
So for the next week – or more – I’m going to be working on creating some lovable characters that readers can relate to. Write their back story and descriptions, start working on the main story conflict and developing subplots and start an outline. I’ll be creating a writing schedule for this book and I’ll be sure to stick to it. I never had a schedule with the last book, I wrote when I had time. This book I’ll be making time to write, whether I want to or not. It’s going to be great to get a new story started and watch the blank white pages fill themselves with creativity. Stay tuned for more on the new book and congratulations, you’ve survived another trip inside the mind of Matt.