Monday, April 11, 2011

On Re-Visioning Part II

Good Morning. Lots of stuff going on in my little world lately. But the most important thing -- the re-vision of THE LADY'S MASQUERADE.

As you know, I said I had a totally new vision for that book. I was going to rip it apart and put it back together. Well, in the least possible painless way that I could. Guess what. I can't.

Well, not the way I thought I would be able to. Seems I miscalculated my ego. Yeah, my ego. I thought I would just go in, fix the POV's, make a few changes here and there, and it would be fine.

Not so much. It seems I have to completely change the main characters to whom I never would have imagined them to be. I've been taking the printed manuscript with me as I wait for Monster Child to get out of school. I nitpicked through the first 15 pages, sratching out, rewriting, moving things around, and then it finally dawned on me.

THIS IS GARBAGE. Pure and utter shite. Crappy, crap crap crap.

I guess this means I have grown as a writer. When I can look at something and realize -- this is just not going to work anymore. (Michelle, now I know exactly how you felt about Monarch. Which I didn't understand before, but now I do. Oh, I so do.)

And you know what, as much as I am potentially thrilled I have these great new ideas, I am just so damned depressed. Not for the work. Basically I know I have to write a whole new book (although I may be able to cadge some of the latter scenes to use.)

Depressed because the book I wrote and loved won't exist anymore. The people who I fell in love with won't be the same. And you know, as a Taurus, I hate change. With every fiber of my being.

However, I also know, as a writer, I have to do this. Otherwise, that book will sit under the bed with the bunnies for the rest of my life. And it can't. I won't do it to me or to them, Penny & William. (My main characters -- yeah, I think of them as real people. Hey, I'm a writer, can't help it.)

Question -- How depressed do you get when you realize your manuscript just won't work anymore? Do you put it away and work on something else, or do you bite the bullet and go with the flow?


Michelle Gregory said...

pretty depressed. i'm at that stage now - deciding if i want to work that hard to make it the story i really want, or let it be what i wrote already. and what story was i really trying to tell? i'm still not sure.

Bish Denham said...

Oh Gak! It's a hard decision to make, but I've done it, but a book aside maybe for another day, maybe not...Depressed? just a bit.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

for me, i guess it depends on the manuscript. Usually, though, not too sad. I have a lot of stories sitting on the backburner, waiting their turn.
And nothing is forever. The version you wrote of masquerade won't disappear. AND i promise you, when you finish the re-write, it will be so much better you will be 100% glad you rewrote the book. PROMISE

Linda G. said...

Aw. *hugs* That IS depressing. But don't despair entirely. Sometimes our writing looks worse to us just because of the mood we're in when we reread it. Might be good to set it aside for a while, and then reconsider it.

If you really, objectively, decide it isn't worth pursuing revisions, then try to remember the book still served a very important purpose: it made you a better writer. In the long run, no writing is ever wasted effort. :)

The Las Vegas Writer said...

Oh, I feel your pain! I moved on with the next project, heck, three more projects, but that first book that I thought was garbage is pushing it's way back into my thoughts.

Anne Gallagher said...

Michelle -- Yeah, that's the thing -- what story was I really trying to tell?

Bish -- This is one I put aside. I've started reworking it, 6400 in so far. I'm just not sure though. I'm not feeling the love yet.

Sarah -- AWW you're such a good friend. I love your optimism. I know what you're saying in my head, it's my heart that has to follow.

Linda -- It did serve a purpose, a very important purpose. It was the first book that allowed me to KNOW that I can start AND finish a book. I'm still trying to be objective. Thanks Linda.

Natascha -- You know, that's what's killing me. I have other things to move on to, but this one is just crying out to me. And as much as I hate to change it around, I can't not. You know.

jbchicoine said...

I am smack in the middle of a majot revision of an earlier, shelved project, and I really haven't any idea if it will be worth the effort. You can bet I'll be depressed if it ends up back on the shelf.

...anyway, Anne, if you ever feel like you want a second opinion...:)

E. Elle said...

I put it away for a little bit and beat myself with the phrase "you're a no-talent loser" until I can't take it anymore.

I thoroughly enjoyed TLM as I read it. But you make the final call. I hope it all works out for you, as I'm sure it will. :)

Matthew MacNish said...

It's a tough, but also liberating point to reach in your craft. I think I'm only just arriving there now. It stung when I realized how poor my writing was at first, but it felt great when I realized how far I'd come.

Carolyn Abiad said...

Well, usually there's a funk that hangs around for a few days while I get my bearings. Then something clicks in the "what-ifs" and I get down to business again. I'm sure inspiration will strike for you soon! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It actually felt good to rip up the first one! Okay, I just stuck in back in the box. And I doubt you would write crap, Anne.

Anne Gallagher said...

Bridget -- best on your revision. I know what you're going through. And I know where to find you.

E -- I've just got to get my head in the right place. It's not and it hurts too much to think right now. I've started it so I guess I'll have to finish it.

Matt -- It is great when you realize how far you've come. Scary but great.

Carolyn -- Yeah, I'm in that funky stage right now. I played the what if's and think I have a grip. We'll see.

Alex -- You'd be surprised how much crap I've written. Crappy crap crap too.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I can only imagine, but if I get to the point of deciding my novel is complete crapola and have to abandon it, well, it may not KILL me, but it'd sure feel like somebody I love died. After all the time, care, and devotion that went into creating it, heck, yes, I'd be depressed if I had to give up on it. But I'm such a ridiculous optimist, I don't think it would last long. Too many other stories to tell.

Laura Pauling said...

That's a hard place to be but a great place to be - knowing you've grown as a writer. That's happened to me with a couple manuscripts. And I shelve them and move on. I have one I'd like to return to eventually but like you it will be a humongous rewrite, basically changing the main character a bit, which affects everything.

It's up to you to either rewrite or move on! where's your heart and passion?

Anne R. Allen said...

It's very brave to step away from the book and start another. But save the original and don't tear it all apart yet. I once threw away a stack of 7 different versions of my first novel and I'll always regret it. Somewhere in there was a great novel. I just wasn't expert enough to write it at the time. I may try to reconstruct it someday.

But I've read that many great writers could never read their work once it was in print. They hated it. So don't despair. This is just a signal there's a new book on the way.

The Words Crafter said...

I know you didn't mean to, but you made me smile. I love the honesty in your writing. Crappy crap crap. Ha! Gonna be a new phrase for me.

I'm sorry the story won't work. If I had to rewrite something and I loved the characters a lot, I'd have to rename them, so the originals could live on in spirit.

I only have a collection of short stories/poems (aside from the 2 wip's) and I can see how immature(?) some of them are. But I still love them, so I get you there. Though, I don't have the hours into them as you do into your I can only imagine your feelings.

Anne Gallagher said...

Susan -- I Have started a rewrite, the problem is, I'm just not sure if I want to. Although I know I have to. It's the first book in the series and for the rest of the books to work, Penny and Will need to be book #1. Maybe over the summer.

Laura -- Great question! Where's my heart and passion. When I get the answer, I'll let you know.

Anne -- I know what you mean. I don't throw anything away or delete anything from my files. I've got scads of notes. And I can't read anything either, once it's out to query it's dead to me. I don't want to look at it ever again. We'll see what happens.

Becky -- I brought it on myself for learning and growing as a writer. If I had only stayed stupid, I wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. LOL. I'm glad you enjoyed the crappy crap crap. One of my favorite phrases.

Christine said...

Once you weed out the "crap" better flowers will grow. I've been revising for ages now. And it still amazes me that the editor who sent me a revise and resubmit even liked the original story or my writing after delving into it again.

Even Nora Roberts doesn't stop learning and growing as a writer.

Good luck with the revisions :-)

Rula Sinara said...

I hope something clicks for you in the revisions. Is there a chance that it just needs to be put away longer?

You had me thinking about how the Star Wars saga didn't start with the 'first book', but then it went back to it. I don't know if that would work for your series...just a thought.

I still have my first manuscript put away. A part of me still thinks that I may be able to salvage something from it...or even rewrite it, but I totally see all the flaws in it as well. A lot would need fixing, and I'm just not ready to tackle it yet. I've moved on to other stories that need my attention first. Still, it's at the back of my mind...

Good luck!

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Michelle, now I know exactly how you felt about Monarch. Which I didn't understand before, but now I do. Oh, I so do.

Yeah, not fun, huh?

How depressed do I get? I cry. I cried A LOT when I realized MONARCH completely and utterly SUCKED and I had to rewrite it completely. From Scratch. Meaning open up a blank document and just start completely over. It sucked. Scott did it, too, with his Hamlet book.

But, I must tell you, it's worth it. It's worth every single agonizing moment. Think of the rising phoenix born from the ashes. Yeah, it's that dramatic, and that beautiful.

I loved your book. What I saw in that book is what you'll create with this revision/rewrite. You can do it, and I'm here cheering you on. Promise. :)

Donna Hole said...

You'll manage it. At least you know what to fix :)

I had to rewrite my first novel too. I did get excited about the work - and depressed. But as it progressed, I found myself cutting more and more without much guilt. Now the original sits in a cupboard.

A reminder of how far I've progressed as a writer too.


Anne Gallagher said...

Christine -- Thanks. I've been diving back into it in bits and spurts. The recreation is still not fully formed, but I really liked the original plot and want to keep it. It's just hard when I know I have to rewrite my characters. I loved them.

Rula -- Thanks. It's been under the bed about 18 months now, so I think it can come out. I have thought about the Star Wars thing, but unfortunately this book has to be "first".

Glamaliscious -- You're so sweet. I swear, if I ever do a real book signing and get to Utah, I'm coming to find you!

Donna -- Unfortuantely I do know what to fix. And it ain't pretty. Funny how we can come so far in just a short time.

Francine Howarth said...


I've been missing out on normal blogging and all bloggers not entered in the damn A-Z challenge. Honestly my dashboard is jammed with A-Z posts, so I've taken to seeking specific listed blogs and here I am: at last.

Funny you should be on major rethink/rewrite of a once abandoned ms and pondering the why and wherefore of restructuring etc., because over at "Heroines' with Hearts Blog" I've posted example premise of two novels revamped into different era'. Purely speculative in context, but if interested you'll see why I say that!

Whatever, a basic plot and characters can be reborn. I've done it and it got published, so don't give up.


Anne Gallagher said...

Francine -- I meant to get over there and view but of course, I was interupted. I'll be by soon. And I can't give up on this ms. It's too close to my heart.

February Grace said...

Just here to offer a hug. Because I know the feeling, and the frustration. I hate it mostly because my eyes won't keep up with all the revising I want to do... :~(

You're an amazing writer, Anne. That's all I can say. And I love that you don't want to abandon your characters...maybe cause I'm a Taurus too? LOL Don't know. But you're great. End of story.

And I am completely rambling. I'll stop now. Thinking of you.


VR Barkowski said...

Pass the Kleenex. I am in the middle of a revision, of a revision, of a revision. The first version of the ms was a mystery, the second was historical fiction, the third a quasi-epistolary thriller - certainly the most difficult of the three genres for me to write. None of the revisions was my idea - they were all market driven and because of that, I've lost my passion.

You, on the other hand, still love your story. You know you can make it better. Give yourself distance, then take another look. WHEN it's meant to be, it will happen. It may be now, it may be down the road, but if you're passionate about your story, it WILL happen.

Anne Gallagher said...

Bru -- Aww. ((hugs)) to you. I think of you when I'm in the pits and if you can go through what you have in your lifetime, then I can certainly go through my piddly little life without complaining.

VR -- OMG. Are you serious?! I've actually been sitting on this for about 18 months so I see what needs to be done. But once this one is finito, I will definitely be done revising it. I can't waste any more time. Too many books to write.