Monday, August 25, 2008

Some Ambesol please. . .

I am teething. Yep that must be the explanation. Now before you think that this is a guest blogger or that I simply lied about my age and stole a picture off the internet let me explain.

My regular readers know that I spent the last few years writing and polishing an entire 106,000 word book only to say never mind and start over after a few rejections.

The MS named Dominion Day the title based on a prologue that no longer exists was the first book I ever wrote. I still have the 198 pg. handwritten monstrosity in my filing cabinet. I started to rewrite the book three years ago. And while Dominion Day is a good story and has fans. The plot wasn’t solid and the story left some questions. Serious questions.

So when a personalized rejection said that my synopsis left her confused as to what happens in the book and it seemed to lack a clear “plot arc and goal.” I began to think seriously about the book and story. I love the story I love the main character. The story in my opinion needs to be told. But Dominion Day needed to be better.

A year and a half ago, I handed the first few pages of another story to a friend and she read them but pointed out to me that in her opinion the story started in the wrong place. I was resistant, the wording and description were awesome and I loved it. But after a few weeks I took that story and started where she pointed out because I could no longer argue with her reasons. The story was much stronger having started it there. And I learned a valuable lesson.

Yes, I am the writer. I am the creator; but that doesn’t mean that I know everything, and that readers don’t know what they are talking about. I do listen to my readers and to my writer friends. Ultimately, I decide which suggestions and corrections to use but they can help me make any story better.

Okay, to come back to the beginning of this rather large circle of discussion.
Dominion Day was the very first novel length story I wrote. That said, the story was written in high school when I was naive and didn’t know snap about really writing. While the story is good and the characters likeable the story didn’t have the kind of plot that made the story publishable. It was a series of adventures that was disjointed and seemed pulled together.

While I wrote DD, and re-wrote it, edited it, and polished and even cut it down to 350 pages I was learning some very important things about writing. During the process of writing it I learned to master my passive voice usage, show not tell, actually plot a story with a beginning middle and end. Create lovable characters and believable bad guys, write an action scene, and learn dialogue. I even learned that a talking cat was okay in the shadow of Sabrina, and Eragon. (Yes, Quelix will appear in book # 2.)

I called my friend and talked to her about the rejection and with her I started to rework the plot and finally decided that like my other story, Dominion Day didn’t start in the right place. I decided to take the story back a few years before DD started. A story completely new and fascinating. A story that makes the plot arc believable and the char even more identified with. It answers the questions that DD brought up without resorting to flashbacks. A story that has my readers begging for more. I have been able to work the whole series antagonist into the story and really develop the book. I do not regret this re-write at all. I do not regret making pieces of DD the plot of the second book. I know that the series will be much better, and I will be happy with the results.

As I was talking to my friend a few days ago we talked about my re-re-re write. Emergence. “The original DD has been the same story for over 20 years. Focusing on Dominion Day has stalled me as a writer.” I said. “It is weird.” I say as I glare at my MC “Noble”. He shrugs his shoulders not denying my accusation. “Perhaps this is the story that needed to be told from the beginning, the story that had issues too sensitive for a beginning writer to address. The story too important to let the amateur ruin it with mistakes.

I learned something during that short conversation. I had to give up the old story and begin anew. I had to accept change to make it better. The new story “Emergence” is flowing out of me as if the story has been in my head all along. . . but I had to cut my “writing teeth” on something not so important.


Jewel Allen said...

I agree, it is hard to look at our "babies" objectively. I am glad to have a writer's group!

Anonymous said...

You SERIOUSLY need to watch "Nim's Island"!!! You will appreciate it more than most!

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