Saturday, May 24, 2014
Some of our constant readers may remember my monthly contributions titled: Writing This Novel.
The idea was based on a quote by Poppy Z Brite that a writer doesn’t learn how to write novels. Instead, they learn how to write this novel as they’re writing it. My articles followed my thoughts and struggles while writing a novel of erotic horror titled The Night Kreatures.
I completed the novel and submitted it to a publisher. They (rightly) didn’t care for the first two chapters and asked me to rewrite them. At the time, I was working on the second novel for a series (under a different pen name) and didn’t have time. I put it aside and figured I’d get back to it eventually.
Two years passed.
Several weeks ago, I submitted the third novel in that series to the publisher and was looking for something to work on when a friend mentioned that an agent would be interested in seeing my work. Ulp! I don’t have anything to show an agent! I haven’t written a short story in over a year. Aha! I thought, this is the time to grab out the trunk novel and fix it.
While reading through the completed third draft of the novel I wrote in 2012, I was grateful it wasn’t published yet. I still love the creepy story, but I hate where I started it (thus the problem with the first two chapters). The sequence of events through the middle third makes no sense, although I remember feeling it was vitally important to do things in that order as I wrote it in 2012.
*eye roll* Writers, right?
Why do we make those arbitrary decisions, and why do we get so stubborn about them? Those decisions often turn out great for me, which is why I’ll follow that instinct every time, but other times I mystify myself. Why would I struggle so hard to bend a story to an idea that clearly isn’t working? Every effort to force it showed so clearly on the page when I went back to read it. It was painful to slog through.
Have you ever gone back to a novel and tried to fix it? Were you able to? Or did everything you tried only make it worse? Do you have a trunk novel you’d like to get back to? What’s stopping you?
Posted by Kathleen Bradean at 5:00 AM