Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Confession Time

I am going to shelve my novel. (I wasn't going to blog about this but I have finally decided to take this blog post out of drafts and into real life).

I'm not giving up on it but I think we need some space, a breather, a break from each other. I don't want to say that I am fully giving up on it because I'm not. Well, at least I don't think I am.

Reasons for Realism is a novel that I started nearly four years ago. The first sentence I wrote went into the delete folder back in draft two. The original chapter one is now chapter three. That original chapter or the first few pages also made it to the final stages of a novel opening competition. The 'new' chapter one arrived back in draft seven after some agent feedback.

I have sent it out to lots of agents. I have had standard rejections, 'the silence', attached files go missing even though they were acknowledged. BUT I have been lucky and I have had some great feedback too with lots of great advice. I even made it as far as sending the next ten chapters to one agency. So very close!

Recently, I have had advice from two different agents. Very contradicting feedback. One loved the characters and the voice but wasn't too keen on part of the plot. They asked for me to make changes to the plot. I made the changes to the areas where I thought it needed changing as I didn't fully agree about the plot but ultimately they wanted BIGGER changes. The other agent said that they liked the plot but not the voice. So what do I do? Who's advice should I take? Are they both right or both wrong? If only I could those two agents together and then I would have an agent who would want it.

In those four years, my writing has evolved. I need to write something new that reflects this. I could move onto my 11th draft but I think I need something new. I don't want this novel becoming 'the never-ending story.'

I'm not the sort of person who gives up easily. I am not going to let this beat me. The computer files are still going to be there (I'm going to put all of my paper notes up in the attic and out of reach). Maybe a break may help me.

What about self-publishing, I hear you cry. I know it's the new number one fashion at the moment. The people who have been successful at self published have had the time to do all of their marketing, selling and designing. I, honestly, at the moment, don't have the time to dedicate myself to creating a self-published book.

I have been dedicated to writing and redrafting this novel. At one point I had a 500 word minimum during the week. I wrote until the screen was blurry. I cut my long nails so I could type faster. I took my Macbook on holiday so I could keep up the quota.

In the future, when someone asks if I have a novel that's kept in a drawer, then I'll be able to smile and say yes!

I am not giving up. NO WAY. I have a slight twinge of a new idea for a novel. And I have short stories too. So after the wedding and honeymoon, I am going to be rolling up my sleeves and cracking on with the writing.


herocious said...

Hi Jessica. Thanks for the post. Seems like you simply have to write to keep moving forward which is a great thing to have to do. Your attitude about the whole thing is a big strength. For the sake of full disclosure, I have a novel on the top shelf of my closet in a box. It's there. Yes it is. But I have plans for it. I sure do. This means it will probably see the light of day at some point. Not sure when. Good luck with stitching together the new novel.

Ray Morgan said...

Jessica, what a fantastic post. I would like to thank you for your honesty; it's not often you hear this side of the novel-writing game (because usually it's reflective writing from novelists who've already been published - who cares if they struggled? At least it happened for them!) and I think what you've decided to do has taken balls of steel. I think you should be proud of the intensive work you've put in; I know that you're never short of ideas, and you might end up doing 'book number two' and really cracking it. I have no doubt that you'll get published; maybe now just isn't the right time. Please note that I type this comment as I am 3/4 of the way through my own first novel and am finding it HARD :) R x

chillcat said...

This is so unbearably tough. Contradicting advice, and miles of time and dedication. Like you, I put my beloved novel aside and ended up writing an easier, now published novel with a character with a similar name. Different genres, different everything, but I felt less treacherous. Now, as you say, the break has done us both good and a lot of writing evolution has occurred. Throw yourself into something else and you will find sweet release!!

Jessica said...

Thank you for all stopping by. It was quite a scary post to write!