Oh, Hi! Good To See You Again.

Having finished revisions on my latest novel, I went back to do major revisions on the third act of another novel I’d been shopping around… an act I’ve been dreading.

I dreaded it because this novel had been rejected by a handful of agents, and I’d written another far superior novel in the time in between, and going back just seemed like pummeling myself with bad old prose.  Better to leave this novel on the ground, thought I.  Just move ahead and forget it existed.  And so I managed to avoid working on it for a solid week as I dinked around with other projects.

And yesterday, holding my nose, I started revising the opening chapters.

To my surprise, I quite liked them.

Oh, all the problems that everyone pointed out were still there, of course, and I still don’t know how to fix them: it’s a really complex world, and setting up the rules for that world comes at the expense of investing the reader in character development.  But I like my lead character.  I like this novel’s voice.  I like the emotional moments I’m trying to set.

I like this novel.

And it’s weird, because my memories of this book had been colored so much by the rejections I’d endured that I just sort of assumed it was bad, despite the agents’ very kind rejections telling me that it was a perfectly nice novel, just not for them.  My personal heartache had smeared into my experience of the book itself that I had come to think of it as an embarrassment, when actually it’s a quirky little novel with some magnificent challenges that I still don’t quite know how to fix all the way… but I think that’s every novel.  (This is why it’s said that a novel is never finished, only abandoned; I myself stop revising when I just don’t have the energy.)

There’s still a lot of work to do here, where I have to literally rip out the entire third act I used to have and pop in something more fitting, but that’s fine.  I’ve re-discovered this is a book I’m willing to fight for.  It’s not as good as the one I’m shopping around now, but it certainly doesn’t deserve to be left on the floor.

That’s a nice feeling.  It really is.  Even as I wonder how many of my other “terrible” works are actually more colored by editors’ rejections, and how many I might wanna resurrect and polish at some future stage.

Writing’s full of weird things.  I keep discovering ’em.  And wondering how universal this might be.

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