Dellani's Quote of the Week, editing, falling in love with your book, futuristic romance, hate editing, hating your book, Lone Wolf, novel, sci-fi, Science Fiction, Shakazhan, The Maker, writing, writing novels
I found this article in draft form on my site and don’t know why I never published it. Although the book came out December of 2014, the sentiment is still apt. In fact, I’ve begun edits on book 4, The Kahlea, so this is probably appropriate once again.
My daughter said something very interesting to me tonight. She said, “I don’t feel like you love this book as much as the others.”
I hadn’t thought about it before, but she’s right. It’s not that I dislike the book. I think it’s a very good one. I just don’t love it. It has nothing to do with the story itself. The plot is solid, the characters interesting, but the love—it’s just not there and I don’t know why.
Writing a book is like having a child—a big, cumbersome, long winded, thoroughly frustrating child. It’s a part of the author like a child is of its parents—only in this case, generally a single parent riddled with a lot of blood, sweat, tears and angst. And caffeine. Don’t forget the caffeine.
The birth of the book is only the beginning. Then the book must be nurtured so it can grow, get stronger and eventually be published. Publication is like having the child graduate from high school. It’s ready and poised on the threshold of greatness. It’s exciting and utterly terrifying—rather like being a mother. Like that child, the author must coddle and cajole that unruly novel so it can reach its goal—sales.
It’s not an easy process, training a book. So often, the characters want to go off and do their own thing. They are far more worried about what they want than what the author or the other characters want. Other times, the plot takes a fancy for winging out the door. It takes off, scattering sub-plots like tail feathers.
The Maker is one of these unruly, immature darlings that needs flying lessons. I still haven’t figured out why and it’s bugging me. Right now, if anyone were to ask me how I felt about my book, I’d probably say that I’m ready to kick it down the block, wrap it in duct tape and pitch it into the Mosquito Lagoon. I need to find the joy. I need to fall in love with my book again.
Sadly, I’m not sure how to do this. I guess I’m still so focused on the big picture, I’m not concentrating on the details. I’m so worried about getting it done on time, I can’t see anything else. I know I go through this every time I edit a book for publication, but somehow this one feels worse. Is it because I’ve had to trim down sub-plots? Have I cut too much out? Am I trying to include too much in the plot? Am I more worried about word & page count than I am telling the story the way it needs to be told? Have I made a series of assumptions based on invalid data? Do I, in fact, have any idea whatsoever, what I’m doing?
I don’t know. I keep saying I don’t, because it’s true. I am clueless at this point. My daughter, God bless her, has made some amazing observations. Overwhelming as it is, I look at the story and know she’s right. I need to do more with it. I need to shape and mold this child so it grows strong and independent, able to carry on despite hardship. It must walk by itself (or maybe I’ll push it off the roof. Books can fly, right?)
The prospect of going back into the book, yet again, fills me with dread. There is so much to do and the clock is ticking. I begin to wonder if I will ever be completely done! Then I second guess myself by saying, “Every author feels this way. No work is every totally, 100 percent complete. We all do this!” It’s true. At least, I hope it’s true. I hate to think I’m the only one who doesn’t think my “babies” are mature enough to stand up and walk alone.
My goal for this story has changed. I’m not just looking at finding errors and sifting out sub-plots, I have to find a way to fall in love with my book again. I need to feel as if they hero is alive and ready to walk off the page. I must know how the heroine will react in any given situation. If I can’t figure these things out—I can’t bear to think about it.
I’m open to suggestions here. I don’t know how to fall in love with my novel again. I’d love to hear your opinions.