Seasoned writers are always handing out advice. And this is a good thing…else newbies might never see their works-in-progress through to completion. Even so, each writer has their own way of getting the job done. Or not. Sometimes, no matter how we try, no matter how many times we go over our WIP, we are simply unable to pull all the pieces together into a seamless work of creativity. And then what? Do we chalk it up to a bad idea and just toss it aside, never to be thought of again? Do we throw it all away and start over with new characters and plot? If you possess any sanity at all, you already know the answer to that.
“Put it aside,” “Forget about it,” “It’s not working, so don’t waste your time,” “Move on.” That’s the advice you might hear. And could be it’s good advice. After all, you’ve got another book to write, more characters to develop, another world to create…right?
But what if you’re still in love? What if your original idea still swims free and reckless inside your mind, and your characters still breathe life? What if you can’t forget them, that hero and heroine you’ve created and lived with month after month after month, maybe even years? Can you toss them aside? I can’t…and didn’t.
It wasn’t easy. Three titles, a complete rewrite from third person to first person, and ten revisions later, I finally made Live a Little, Love a Lot work. (Though, according to some of my reviewers, my book is still shit.) People (editors) began to take notice. And now the story that began as a silly grain of an idea has a home, a cover, and its very own ISBN number.
Did I waste my time? Some would say I did. But was it really? If I’d moved on, what would I have gained? The experience of rejection? I needed no more of that.
No, moving on wasn’t the answer. I wouldn’t improve as a writer and might very well continue to make the same mistakes that garnered all those rejection letters. Which is why my advice to writers who’ve written shit may be different than some. I say, if you’re still in love, close your eyes and see those characters you’ve created, breathe the air you’ve surrounded them with, and remember how you felt when you first came up with that plot/idea/story. Don’t shove aside all those hours you spent hunkered over your keyboard, all those hours you spent laughing, crying, and dreaming. Stick with it. Write out the shit and learn and work through it and maybe one day your book will be a shining star. After all, becoming a skilled writer is a learning experience. A surgeon doesn’t become a surgeon over night. Even when he’s just graduated from med school, he’s still learning (FYI, I wouldn’t let him operate on me). Give yourself time to learn. Don’t give up on the patient (your book) just because what you’ve tried hasn’t worked. Maybe you’ll save your book, maybe you won’t. But one thing is certain, you will have gained valuable knowledge along the way.
On the other hand, if you are not still in love, throw the bastard out!