Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tearing something down to make it stronger

I am slowly, and I mean slowly learning that its a lot of work to get a book to the stages where someone else will want to look at it.  I've written x 2 manuscripts and in both cases I thought that I was ready to start searching for an agent. And I was. But...not because my manuscripts were ready. But that I needed to learn more about the craft of writing. I need to tear down something and hope it is better in the end.

It took me over 14 months to write my first manuscript. If you didn't know me back then, you'll be surprised to learn that I wrote over 240,000 words. It worked out a funny way that I was sending myself emails and didn't put all the pieces together until the end. I spent the next 12 months editing it down to 148,000.  I thought that I had done a good job. I started querying it. Of course I got rejected like crazy. I kept being told to cut it more.  Ouch.

While I was waiting for those rejections, I started writing my second manuscript. A medical mystery.  This time it took 5 months for around 85,000 words. I worked it, edited, and re-edited it. I am currently querying this masterpiece and am finding out that it isn't such a masterpiece after all. But, the feed back I am receiving is positive. I just need to get a good group of beta readers to trim some pieces.

I've restarted my first manuscript and really went to work on cutting and improving some of the less important things. In the end, I felt most was important, there was just a better way in telling the story. I ended up cutting another 20,000 words and am down to 125,000.  The crazy part is that I changed everything. The title of the book, the names of the character. I tried to get things moving quicker and moved some of the important finds to much sooner in the book. Some parts remained the same. I am completely excited about the changes in the book.

I am about to head off to a couple conference and really get hammered on some of my techniques and especially the first few pages. That is where I really need to get better. I need to get the audience involved much quicker and more efficient.

Writing is far from easy. Well writing well is far from easy. I am just hoping that I am on the right tract.