Monday Madness: The WIP from HELL

I’m rewriting my Monday post. Which is ironic considering the title and the topic.

Let me explain the short journey of SURRENDER.

2006: I get the idea for this book. I know barely anything about writing other than what I learned in school. I haven’t written anything fictional in years, only technical. I’ve also never written a book.

Instead of reading about how to write a book I just began writing something. I got through 4 chapters and then stopped. 6 months later I wrote another 4 chapters. 9 months later I wrote another 2 chapters. You get the idea, BIG GAPS.

2009: January rolls around and I’m like, “Hey I have a pretty decent story going on here. I might want to finish that.” I spend the next month slogging through it and end up writing 300 pages. I finished it.

I felt so awesome it’s not even funny. And then I read it and realized it was trainwreck.

2010: January comes along and I realize I need to rewrite it again. So, it takes me 3 months to get through it and reshape it. It then takes another 9 months of editing, beta testing and more editing and more rewriting to get it to where I want it.

I queried in 2010. I didn’t know what I was getting my arse into.

In 2010 I also began Warrior, the second book, in June. I finished it at the end of December. You want to talk NaNoWriMo? I wrote 78,000 words in December. Not even that I wrote 22,000 words on December 30th and 31st.

I finished the first draft of that book too.

2011: I waited, it was painful but I did. In March I got anxious and began the query process again. This time I did it differently. No casting wide nets it was all seek and destroy. Go after one person, wait for a no, go after another, wait for a no. I lucked out with a pretty awesome full MS critique from Jennifer Laughran.

But somewhere in the middle of all of this querying and contest crap I also decided that Surrender wasn’t good enough. I spent 3 weeks in March rewriting, and changing it from what it used to be. I don’t know if I regret that so much now, but it certainly didn’t help. It’s like trying to rewrite a play on opening night. You go too fast, everyone gets confused and the audience is like, “huh?”

That’s sort of where Jennifer Laughran comes in. No, she wasn’t so much a superhero as she was a very honest and awesome person. She listed the pros and the cons of the MS and made some very strong points about what was missing.

This has lead me to now where I sit with like maybe 20 – 30 days of work to do on this MS (100,000 words) to rewrite and a brand new outline.

What I realized from Jennifer Laughran’s critique was that SURRENDER was my first fictional book. The storyline might be awesome, but it’s the book I worked out all my writing mistakes on. I did everything wrong with SURRENDER. I had no method to my writing, I had no idea how to hook people from the beginning. I didn’t have good answers for what my characters were yearning after, it was all just a big mess of stuff happening, characters being confused and readers being confused. Between the lines there were glimmers of what it might be, but nothing was clear enough.

The end got better, and Warrior as far as I’m concerned is actually rather good.

Now that I can take a step back I can start with the process that works best for me, write it all over again from start to finish and turn it into something readable, loveable and oh yeah, PUBLISHABLE.

Still, it’s the WIP from HELL . . . anything you have to spend years perfecting, for a slim to none chance of it becoming a big deal . . . is insane.

Thank god I’m a writer, and thank god I do this because I love writing.