Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Fricassee

Sometimes I'm bursting with words to share for my Friday Fricassee.  And sometimes words are elusive.

Welcome to my elusive Friday!

Here's the thing.  I'm often talking about the ebb and flow of this journey, right?  Reminding you to tough it through the hard times, exhorting you to keep writing despite what your emotions are doing, and attempting to be a "glue" of sorts that sticks us all together.

Well, I'm toughing it through "I want to walk away forever" this week.  I'm not emotional, I'm not depressed, I'm not ranting and throwing things.  (Believe it or not, I think I've grown past all that.)  I am, simply, done.

You know what I mean, right?  That "done" feeling.

As in, I'm done.

(Wow.  Keep using the same word and it loses meaning.  Maybe that's my answer. Done done done done done done...)

It's the "I can't do this anymore" syndrome.  (I know you're nodding your head! I just know it!)

"I can't write another novel."

"I can't go through any more rejection."

"I can't deal with this tunnel-with-no-light-at-the-end."

"I quit."

Yes.  That.

But I'm doing something pretty interesting in order to combat it.  (What, you thought I would take this lying down?)

In the wake of having finished what turned out to be a difficult first draft (it's been two weeks since I finished and I still can't stand the thought of starting revisions), I have pulled out--wait for it--my very first novel.

Yes, that novel. The one that is SO BAD that I will have to leave instructions in my will for someone to destroy it.  The one that marked the beginning of my journey as a serious writer; the one that lit my fire.

That one.

Know what's special about that horrible-awful-no-good tome?  (All 127,000 words of it??)  It's infused with the passion of writing from a purely creative place.  I had no idea about point of view, pacing, or purple prose.  I'd never heard of an inciting incident; didn't know what "character arc" meant.

Complete neophyte.

But.  I knew what I loved:  fantasy.  I knew how to lose myself in another world; I knew the sort of journeys and adventures were inherent to this genre.

I even chose "writing music" for the process--a CD of Italian Renaissance music that, for years after I'd pitched the novel into the abyss, brought me immediately back to the world and its characters.

So I've pulled out the music.  And I've pulled out the novel.  And I am going to completely rewrite it.

From scratch.

(Because there's no other way to approach this.  It's that bad.)

You know what?  The absolute joy of losing myself in this world is immeasurable.  I turn on the music and my stomach drops.  I close my eyes and my characters are there, waiting to be transformed.

I haven't begun the actual writing yet, because I'm having to re-plot so much.  Rethink so much.  Throw away so much.

This is what I need right now--to write something completely for myself.  It's so healing.

Next week, I'm going on an overnight writing getaway with a fellow writer.  My goal is to have the plot stuff worked out so that I can spend that precious time writing the novel that is healing me.

So, that's me, really.

I want to walk away forever.  Instead, I'm rewriting something that reminds me why I love to write stories.

I'll let you know how it goes.

(And thanks for being a safety net.  Because you are.  And I need that, just like you do.)



  1. This is a lovely post, Authoress. Thanks for sharing, and I hope you take much joy from revisiting your first novel.

  2. Haha! I did that this week, too. Although without the Italian music. Need to do that next time. Happy rewriting and happy Friday!

  3. First off... :hugs: Been there so many times I feel like I have a lifetime pass aboard the bad ship WannaQuit.

    Second, good for you. Take that feeling of 'wanna quit' and kick it's butt. Show it who's boss. And lose yourself in the writing again. =o)

  4. I think this shows you have a story there that won't go away. Now, with experience, you have a better way to tell it.

    Enjoy your retreat!

  5. Oh man, A. This made me smile. Then nod my head. Then feel a little teary. Then smile again. Sending you good thoughts this weekend.

    Maybe one day I'll pull out that first novel, too :)

  6. Sounds like a great idea! Good luck. :)

  7. I LOVED my first novel. It's just like you said . . . it was purely about the joy of writing. Neophyte that I was, I want to be like that. Just write for the sheer pleasure of it!

    Enjoy your world! Love that you found a way to come through it. :)

  8. I love this post! Because we all feel that way at some point and because we all have that first novel, that we love so much despite how awful it is. We're rooting for you!

  9. Some small shed of silver lining in that feeling of wanting to quit is being objective in what you don't like.
    When everything is nice and shiny, it's difficult to imagine changing ANYTHING.
    But when you're down in the dumps, you can find all the things you want to change. Hating everything = determination to make it better. That's where all the amazingness of the next drafts come from (and the draft after that, and the next one).

    Go Authoress for finding it in you to tear it to shreds and the determination start over! That's really one of the hardest parts. <3

  10. Sometimes going back and working on something old gives us a bit of a boost to start something new. Or, you might find that, this time, you can do even more with this story than the last time. Good luck!

  11. My first novel was a gothic romance about twin brothers, one is evil and one is not. I put in the kitchen sink, murder, kidnapping, a castle, a princess (the brothers are Dukes, of course)set in England. I had a friend read it who loved the romance between the good twin and the princess. I can't bear to look at it though so good for you! Yeah, we've all been there. I'm so frustrated with this "trying to find an agent" thing that I "quit" at least once a week. But then I remember how much writing means to me and that I was writing before I started publishing anything and I don't want to lose that. Ever. So, back to writing I go. I hear what you say about revising though, it takes me a while to get back to editing/revising but in the long run it's better for the book/story. I hope your writing journey continues to inspire you.

  12. I love your kick-butt attitude. And bravo. When this happened to me a few years back, I actually quit. For ten months. It was the best thing I ever did for perspective. But I think your idea is better :)

    Can't wait to meet you someday so I can give you a giant hug for changing so many people's lives.

  13. Last year I went back and read all the fanfic I wrote in high school. Oh god it was terrible, but by the time I was done, I realized it was also awesome. Because it brought me back to all those emotions and all the excitement I felt while writing it.

  14. Thanks for this post. I always get curious when I see, "this author's amazing debut novel" and wonder if I'm the only one that did not hit a home run the first time at bat...not sure I was actually standing at the plate when I wrote that first novel....oh well. But I bet a few of those debut authors have a manuscript or two hiding in their drawer at home as well.

    I appreciate this post very much!

  15. Thank you Authoress. You don't know how much I needed this post today. :)

  16. This post was exactly what I needed today. After an extra-painful rejection yesterday, I've been in the same awful place you describe. Hearing about how you're finding your way out of it shines a much-needed light into the dark tunnel I'm in right now. Thank you and have fun with your rewrite!

  17. I know exactly how you feel - except for that going back and re-finding the passion again thing. As far as I'm concerned, that light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train. You may take a new step up the publishing ladder, but every step has its own pitfalls, problems and aggravations.

    I'm glad you've re-discovered your passion. :-)

  18. This post is so timely. I wrote a long journal rant yesterday about how I had changed so much since I first fell in love with writing, and wondering if I should keep doing it.

    Thank you so much for the encouragement. I love your idea. Actually, we are getting ready to move and just last night while packing I uncovered THAT novel. I must admit, it scared me a little to see it peeking out of the box.

    But it was the novel that made me believe I could be a writer. Maybe I should take another look at it and try to recapture that same passion.

  19. Such an inspiring post! The fact that you didn't give into that feeling, that you decided to switch gears and shake up your routine, shows strength and commitment. The easiest decision is to throw in the towel. By giving yourself this breathing room, you may go back to your present WIP with a clearer eye.

  20. Rockin' it out like a boss. I hope the joy leaps off the pages and into your heart and fingers tout de suite!

    (and thank you for sharing that even the ones we look to for example and inspiration have *those* days, too)

    Have a great weekend!

  21. My first novel is just like that too. Rambling and immature and yet full of passion, a world I used to dream about so intensely... would love to go back and revisit it. Hmmm. You've tempted me.

  22. Good on you for not giving in to that feeling! I'm so with you in it this week. But maybe revisiting something old that you love is a good idea. I may have to try it. I sure can't find any new ideas I'm in love with...

  23. Wow, that is BRAVE Authoress! I've been feeling "done" all month, myself. Perhaps laying back on my haunches and resting on my laurels a bit too much since my novel went on submission. But this week I started seriously working on the new novel.

    But revisiting the Trunk Novel? *shudders* I'm not certain *I* could do that!


  24. Love it! My first novel was pure catharsis and total garbage. The best part is that it exists only on floppy disks. (What are those?) I have a hard copy from which I would like to -- someday -- turn it into a bona fide memoir. Someday.

  25. I LOVE THIS!! I've been there and, when I was there, I gave up writing something 'commercial', something that was meant for everyone 'out there' and I wrote something FOR ME. Will it go anywhere? Probably not. Was it therapeutic? YES YES YES! So enjoy, Authoress. Because this is our life and if we can't find the joy in it, then we're doing the wrong thing. :D Blessings!

  26. My first novel, "Castle Falcon," is only seven years old. I wrote it for my kids. It started out at 206,000 words, and then ran through nine major drafts, burning it down to 142,500 words.

    At this point, four years ago, I found an agent. After 120 rejections.

    Under editorial instruction I slashed the novel (with considerable pain) down to under 100K.

    The agent didn't work out, and his submissions to a number of publishers made it unlikely any other agent would pick my book up after that. So it goes.

    I went back in and reworked it the way I wanted it. A "director's cut," back up to 142,500 words again.

    Then I self-published it. Since it was basically agent "poison" now, I had nothing to lose. I didn't have the terrible decisions to make about self-publishing that other authors have to agonize over.

    When you rework your first book, you'll still have a lot of roads open to you. Good luck with whichever one you choose!

  27. I love that you're going back to that first book that started it all. Imagine where you might be able to take it now that you know what you know? I have a fantasy story like that as well - one day, I'm going to pick it back up and breathe new life into. Can't wait to hear where yours takes you.

  28. Attitude is everything! As Galaxy Quest so wisely taught me, "Never give up! Never surrender!" THAT is true success :)

  29. The only words I can find to say are these: this is absolutely wonderful. Power to you.

  30. Authoress, I'm so glad you've found the book that will heal you. This life is hard. Brutally hard, sometimes. But change works for the good as well as the negative, and you have to hang in there until the sun shines on you and your path again.

    Trust me on this. When I started reading this blog several years ago, I was an aspiring, unpublished, unagented author with three manuscripts and no offers of representation to my credit. I comment today as a debut author with my first choice agent, a three-book deal, and my debut hardcover releasing on July 16. There were days on this journey that YOUR BLOG was one of the few things that kept me moving forward. Making it into a Baker's Dozen auction gave me the courage to believe in a dream that (at that time) had no other proof it might come true. That novel didn't even get me representation - and the next one didn't either - but the one after it proved to be the golden ring.

    This blog helped me through some very hard times. You helped, and your commenters helped, and none of you has ever met me in real life - but you impacted my real life, and in a very positive way.

    Hang in there. I believe in you.

  31. For some reason, I too pulled out my first novel, Seeking Eleanor, and am revising. It's almost painful, but I have a very soft spot to her.

    You aren't done, because you wrote a blog about it. I find, when you are truly done, you won't even write a blog about it. ;)

  32. That was my plan for this summer as well. My first novel was an epic fantasy of 154K words. Lacked conflict. Didn't understand show. I could go on and on.

    I've been working on a rewrite off and on for some time, I like to revert to that when I'm querying another novel. It helps to take away the sting.

  33. Oh, Authoress! I feel you your pain!! I just wanted to give you a little nudge of encouragement and let you know how much you touch the lives of others. Thank you for all that you do for the writing community!! This is a beautiful idea-- and you're right--SO healing--I love it love it love it. Just get lost in the joy of writing for pleasure and your own fulfillment. There's magic there. *Hugs*

  34. ah, a lovely post. I totally relate. i love my first novel with an unrelenting passion - and it is SO bad. Many happy returns on your way to enjoying your writing again!

  35. I love this post. It is so easy to forget what brings us joy as writers. I'm so glad you're going back. Can't wait to hear more about it!