Great Books Need A Lot Of Work – The Climb #381

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Great Books Need A Lot Of Work – The Climb #381

Tuesday 6th February 2018

There’s this deluded hope you have as a writer.  It’s that, one day, you’ll be good enough that your first draft of a story won’t need any work.  That it’ll go to a beta reader, an editor or agent and they’ll tell you it’s perfect.

That doesn’t happen.  It never happens.  Great books need a lot of work.  But it never stops you feeling like you should turn in your writing badge.

At least for a day.

I have this agreement with myself.  Now, I totally get that it sounds weird to have an agreement with yourself, but I’ve found it to be very useful.

The agreement is this:  after any rejection or feedback, I’m allowed to feel as miserable as sin.  I can wallow in self-pity.  I can cry into a tub of ice cream.  But I can only do that for the rest of the day.  Come the following morning, I have to get up and carry on.

I’ve found this incredibly productive as a writer.  It means I don’t dwell, and instead get over myself pretty quick.

But it does mean that for that one day the rejection or feedback comes back, I almost force myself to be pissy.

Kate came back with notes on book 2 this evening.  I’ve been interested in her perspective.  She loves book 1 and has seen how that’s been the product of rewrite after rewrite.  So she knows, as I know, that book 2 wasn’t going to be perfect.

Yet there’s a part of me that feels to earn my writer stripes, it needs to be.  And so, getting her feedback on the book tonight, still feels like a punch in the gut.

Now, we both knew it would be.  To write at this level, you can’t afford to be precious.  I know that, she knows that, and the reason I get her to beta for me is because she does not hold back.

I’ve only read the summary so far.  I’ll dive into the document tomorrow or the weekend.  But from what I can ascertain, Book 2 is too dark.

There’s some interesting questions posed here.  Do I write the book I want to write, or do I write for my audience?  I think it always has to be the former, but that doesn’t mean I should ignore comments.

There’s this weird perception filter that goes on when I get feedback.  I try to stop looking at specific comments and try and gauge the overall impression.

I think it’s suitably dark for me, but perhaps too dark for other people.  That’s a difficult call.  It’s a book about the aftermath of book 1.  Characters are broken and I think I’ve been brave in what I tried to do with the book – making it a continuation of the characters, without making an obvious sequel.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not considering a complete overhaul of a major subplot.

That’s OK.  Editing has taught me how you can completely gut a novel.  Nothing is ever broken.  You can fix anything in editing.

We’re meeting Thursday to talk about it (and other industry gossip) but already I have an idea of where the problems lay.

Given that I’m starting to get the climax of book 3 together and am about ready to go from mindmaps into chapter outlines, I’m not sure when I’ll give it a serious look.  But this is all good experience where you need to write one book whilst editing the other.

So instead of doing any work on either I watched all the Cloverfield movies, 2 of which I’d never seen.  I quite liked 10 Cloverfield Lane but The Cloverfeld Paradox seemed a bit crap to me.

It kept me from dwelling on book 2, but given that I can’t strop about it tomorrow, perhaps I should have done.

I did buy myself ice cream though!

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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2018-02-08T17:57:10+00:00February 7th, 2018|Process, Publishing, The Climb, Writing|0 Comments

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