Right. Around this time last year I begun to turn my scratchy notes for my ‘dream’ story into sentences and paragraphs. I wrote with love and consideration and several months later ended disappointed with my task. I was unhappy with one of my characters in particular and thought the narrative deserved something more spectacular.
So, once completed I begun again. I decided I needed an added ‘uniqueness’ to my work to allow it to stand out among the hundreds of manuscripts that fall weekly onto editors desks. I decided I would tell my tale via first person accounts of my major characters, with some added detail from other members of the ensemble. I thought I could make it work, I thought that it would make it special and interesting and saleable. I think now I might have been wrong.
For months now I have struggled with elements of this book, particularly with one specific character. I would have whole days almost screaming over the same thousand words just not comprehending why, oh god why, I could not fix the hidden issue. I was getting so frustrated and disheartened and on occasions wanted to ditch the whole lot and start on one of the myriad of ideas brewing in my head. In short, by the end, my story just made me want to cry. And not from a cleverly chosen emotional spin.
Recently, two exceptionally kind gentleman offered to read some of my pages. As soon as I clicked the send button, doubt began flood in. I know it isn’t right; and not in the eternal critic sense of it never being right, but actually not being ready. But in sending it out, I have been afforded a little clarity.
Last night I opened those dusty chapters of the first edit. Although incredibly rough I read quite happily and something inside me breathed – ‘there you are’ I felt like saying. I compared this to the heavily edited opening pages of my first person version and I suddenly realised what had happened – I had forced myself into a small box in a dark corner, I had lost all sense of ‘me’ in the writing.
In some respects I feel like I have misused the last twelve months a little, in that I am now feeling my original copy is the one with all the connection. I feel I chose my changes not for me, but for someone who would publish my book, which in the end made it unreal and unworthy. However, it has been a learning curve that I think was much needed and will stand me in good stead for any future projects I dream to fulfil.
So here’s the new plan. After a few days break (and a quick trip home for obvious reasons) I will look through that original copy. There is still a lot that needs changing within this to come into line with the much improved plot line of the second version. BUT, I will be keeping a few snippets of first person account from two particular players in the game. I think this is the unique and slightly more ‘special’ element I was looking for. I suddenly feel excited again, I no longer feel dread every time I think I have to sit down and edit. It feels fun again.
Add that to the improving work routine, career wise, things finally feel in place, running smoothly and pretty darn good.