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Honesty- The Best Policy

Recently, I started revising my YA epic fantasy, Origins. Some beta readers graciously pointed out the stark differences of the first and second half, and I knew the first part was backstory to incorporate elsewhere. I'd noticed this in the middle of rewriting Origins, and had waited until I finished the whole thing. I found the right place for the story to start, and then tore out 32 pages from the beginning.

But I didn't relish it, and I normally do.

I'm sadistic, I love revisions. Completely restructuring the text, tossing scenes, mercilessly yanking words and sentences from their overwrought perches... it's an art form, a flow of ideas somehow more satisfying to me than writing the first draft. It's my favorite part of working on an essay or term paper, and with the extra material of full length novels, I should be deep into revisions by now. Still, my heart isn't into it, despite how I insist to myself this is what I want, what I'd waited for.

I'm not ready to revise Origins.

I'm still too close to my characters. To the world I'd created. Most of all, I still know every word, sentence, scene and chapter. No matter how I try, I'm not ready to pull Origins apart by the seams and polish it. I spent 3 weeks away from it, yet thinking on it always. I told myself it was enough time, eager to get to work. But I still love this MS.

So I'm putting it aside for now.

To gain better objectivity, I'm listening to my writing buddies and will work on a new project while Origins takes a rest. I need to outline a Shiny New Idea, as well as the sequels to Origins and the overall plot arc of the series. I'm learning my writing process, finding what truly does work for me and what doesn't. I'm also tentative about this break, because Origins is all I've known since June. But that's exactly why I need to hold off on revisions.

In truth, it hurts a little. Like telling my husband I love him but I'd rather he left me alone for a few weeks. I want to work on Origins, but it's not time yet, and that's okay. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. It also lets us see the truth in the things we love. By doing this, I know Origins will become a better novel, one I'll be proud of in 10 or 20 years, whether it gets published or not.

I'm tearing up as I place the manuscript in it's special drawer, but we both know we'll come back to each other, happier and finally ready to make each other greater than before.


  1. nomadshan says:

    Honesty is awesome. And this is the best possible time of year to give yourself a week or two. Enjoy the holidays, and family, and friends, and this freaky warm-cold-warm-cold weather, and come back to ORIGINS fresh and ready to tackle. Outlining SHINY NEW IDEA sounds like a perfect way to get your head out of ORIGINS for a little while. Congrats on discovering how your process works! I'm still discovering mine, but everything I've learned has made me more effective.

  2. I completely agree! Distance can help! I've given my first manuscript nearly two months to sit while I worked on another project, and now I'm ready to dive back into it and see a whole host of problems that I hadn't been able to see before. Good luck! I have a feeling you will be able to really fix it up when you return to it. It helps that you love it like you do. Ultimately, you want it to be the best it can be.

  3. @nomadshan - I can't believe how different my process is from what I *thought* it was! I never outlined my papers in school, but I need to when writing novels. I went from the original to the rewrite of Origins within a week, but now with the plot actually somewhat strong, I need months. At least it's the perfect time to break from intense writing - yay Christmas! lol

    @Carolina - I was surprised to find I needed more time before diving into revisions, but it's also a bit of relief. It'll likely be February before I can trust myself to look at Origins objectively, and then - it's slash and burn until it shines. Good luck on your revisions too!

  4. I think it's good to set a time limit. I'm guessing you'll be so glad to get back t it when you do!!

    By the way, left a little something for you on my blog! Check it out! http://carol-in-print.blogspot.com/2009/12/have-blog-will-follow.html

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