Extreme Book Makeover

Have you ever gone to write something, be it a poem, essay, or book, and given up after the first draft? That’s where I am right now.

Now I know that, in order to create a great book, I need to edit it over and over and over again. What frustrates me is how much I change each edit. First I changed my MC. Then I changed her AND my love interest. Now, I’m changing the style. Yes, I said it. I’m changing the style.

What’s so terrible about changing the style, say you? Style is the manner in which something is written. For instance, rhyming or rhythm in a poem is its style. Writing in a journal is a style. In my case, my WIP (work in progress) was written as a fictional autobiography. However…after a month away from my beloved world and many Anne Rice/Sherrilyn Kenyon books later, I have realized that my attempt at the autobiography is just…not quite working.

Your comments to one of my posts helped immensely. You are right. Most people don’t want a placid, long-winded description of the background of the story. It takes away the mystery. Bores the reader. Drags on the mind. So, in an attempt to change the dragging boring intro part, I embroiled myself in changing the style.

Now, this wouldn’t be so terrible if I didn’t already have a third of the book written. A few chapters isn’t so terrible to change. 100+ pages? A little more terrifying. By scrapping the beginning, I have to go through, remove all attempts at autobiographical fluff, all references to deleted materials, and ALL possibly boring adjectives.

It ain’t easy, let me tell you. I feel like I painted a flower and the teacher tells me to paint a bird. Ok, bad analogy, but you get the picture, no pun intended. It’s annoying and time-consuming and hard. It isn’t something that I can tweak here and there like I was doing. No, this is a hands-on, full-bodied, Extreme Book Makeover. Where’s Ty when I need him?

In the end though all my griping and complaining is more because I’m worried. I know that the direction I’m headed is better than the place I was before, but a little voice inside my head keeps saying, “See? You couldn’t get it right the first time. You couldn’t get it right the second time. You won’t get it right this time either. Might as well give up.” The scary thing is that part of me agrees with that little voice. I mean, don’t good books just kind of fall on you? Doesn’t it just pour out of the fingers like literary ambrosia? What must be wrong with me that I had to redo this three times already? And that, my friends, is not counting the first attempt at this book nor the ORIGINAL book I wrote. Most of this complaining is a fear that I will yet again fail. A friend once asked me why as a writer I was so self-conscious. Weren’t all writers arrogant and overly-confident in their work? Alas, I am not one of the lucky few, I suppose. I have little confidence in my work. The small pieces I do have are gleaned from your comments and from the comments of those reading said failed text. As long as they love it, I can continue. As soon as they stop, I am doomed to fall.

So, I am standing on the edge of a precipice staring into the darkness. I am staring at a muddled canvas armed with only my wit and my paint brush. I am headed back into the world of my mind, praying to God and the powers that be that I might be able to make a masterpiece of my disaster before I lose heart. I’m not sure how many more edits I can take. In the least, the first 100 pages will be so perfect that any request for a partial manuscript I get will be terrific! (It’s the other 150 pages or so I worry about…)


About S. G. Ricketts

I am a dreamer. This page holds all of the dreams and desires and hopes and wishes of the first of my two dreams: to share my imagination with the world. For those of you who have read a book or written a book, these stories are not merely words on a page. They are living, breathing creatures, worlds so compellingly real that you can smell the sweat and feel the rain. This is what I want to share ...with all of you. Yes, becoming rich and famous would be fabulous. I won't deny that. However, it would be so much more satisfying to see my book in the hands of someone on the bus, hear my book talked about at a restaurant, see a cluster of fan-art. I want to inspire the mind to imagine different worlds and different situations. If I can achieve that, I will have achieved my dream.

Posted on March 27, 2010, in writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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