Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Survivor: The Book Edition

I’ve wanted to get published since forever. The one thing holding me up is that I haven’t written the right book yet. Each time I start a first draft I believe that this is The One. What’s funny is I’m starting to realize that The One might not be the book I love the most. It might be the only book that survives the learning process.

Cases in point from previous The Ones:

Products of Power: I loved this book. This is the book that started me as a writer. I spent four years writing the first draft as a teen. Sadly I didn’t have the skills to make it better. It and its sequel are languishing forever because my editing attempts were just that- attempts.

Not Quite A Superhero- This is the first novel I wrote that I really tried to edit. Sadly, since I didn’t know what I was doing I butchered my poor little novel. Somehow I lost all the charm and added a lot of crap. I still think of this book nostalgically- while crying a little.

Stone Prince- After nearly a year long drought I wrote this book for Nanowrimo last year. I loved it. It had a great hook and it was a breeze to write. Then when I opened it again this summer to begin edits it felt like opening a Tupperware container that’s been in the fridge too long. Stone Prince was a disaster with the only possible fix being to throw it all away an start over. Since I have no idea what I would change-besides everything- I’ve abandoned it. (Mind you, I’m still artistically tragic about this book too).

So this leads me to Chaos Rules. Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a writer who had become overly fixated. She picked and picked at the books she’d written years ago, making things neither better nor worse. Then she realized (or was talked into realizing by an amazing husband) that she needed to let go of her beloved old stories and create some new ones. I can’t tell you why she picked the one that she did. It wasn’t particularly special, although it taught her a lot that she needed to know. She didn’t love it like she did her others. She wrote it in frustration and that should have been how it ended up.

As you might have guess from my overwrought prose, that writer was me. I ended up with a dystopian- a genre I don’t like- that I had no idea what to do with. When I realized that my nonexistent editing abilities had already destroyed at least one book I picked my most unloved book to be my editing guinea pig. And it worked.

Maybe it was because I was less attached. Maybe it was because Chaos Rules has more structure then my other books. I don’t know. All I know is that when I sat down to edit Chaos Rules I felt like I knew things to do that could make it better. I’m about to sit down to a third round of edits with it. I have a clear vision of where I’m going and so far every time I work on it I make it a little bit better.

I’m not sure if Chaos Rules is The One. The only thing I know is that as of right now, it’s the last book standing.

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