Right around April Fool’s Day, I realized I’d spent the past two months writing the wrong book.
That whole plan to get the first draft done during the month of March? Yeah, not so much. The house came down with the plague, I spent three days at a convention, and oh yes, I was writing the wrong book!
That’s a hard call to make. Every time I write a book, there are parts where I feel frustrated and stuck. I wonder whether I’ve gone off the rails. Am I going to reach the end of this manuscript and realize I’ve finally lost whatever writing ability I once had? Etc., and so on. It’s normal. Unpleasant, but normal.
This was different. This was the gradual realization that the setup I’d created would not work for the kind of story I wanted to tell. Both the characters and the plot were wrong for the humor and tone I wanted.
So I scrapped it.
Yeah, it hurt.
I’m trying to tell myself I haven’t wasted two months of work. I can reuse some parts and pieces from those two months: worldbuilding, character ideas, bits of description, and so on. And I did check a couple of other things off my To Do list, like an essay for FenCon, or adding a Speaking Engagements page to my website. That’s gotta count for something, right?
Ah well. So I’m back to square one. Again. But I think I’m getting closer to what this book needs to be. Hopefully it will all pay off late next year when it comes out.
In the meantime, I’ve got a chapter to finish…
D. D. Webb
April 6, 2016 @ 8:18 pm
Aw, man, that stings. I’ve been there once; got a book completely finished and about on the third draft before I realized the things I needed to fix were not going to yield to any amount of editing; it needed to be redone, from the ground up.
I salute you for plunging back into the fray. That one soured me so hard I tabled it (it’s a project I still fully intend to do, though I’ve not yet mustered the will to re-start) and moved on to other projects, which have kept me busy ever since.
But in the end, isn’t the important thing that the story you tell is one you’re proud to have your name attached to? However smooth or brutal the journey, we have to keep an eye on the goal.
Keep on keeping on, Mr. Hines. I’ve loved everything of yours I’ve read; you’re one author about whom I’m confident I’ll fully enjoy whatever you come out with next.
April 6, 2016 @ 8:47 pm
there are music artists that write songs they don’t use for an album just to rewrite parts of them years later. So two months is a drop in the bucket.
Even if it is not the story you wanted you learned and it is better to start over than to work on something you know you would not be happy with…….
April 7, 2016 @ 11:53 am
I feel your pain. I might have done that myself with a recent draft. Got all the way to the end, and thought “this is not my story.” (Granted, it had a few other issues, but those could have been fixed in revision. A revision for a story that would have fallen flat for me anyway, because it was Not My Story.)
It’s reassuring to hear that this kind of thing can happen to established writers as well.
April 8, 2016 @ 12:00 pm
So you played an April Fool’s prank on yourself?
Looking for Guidance – Jim C. Hines | word17051
April 9, 2016 @ 2:00 pm
[…] is an active blogger discussing his writing and various other topics. While searching his posts, this one particular one caught my attention. This one is fascinating because Hines talks about how he was writing the wrong book for the past […]