Still hard at work revising the middle-grade novel. There were only two chapters in this book that I wanted to completely rewrite in this revision, the first was the opening chapter, and the second was the climax. I just accomplished the latter, and I feel pretty good about it.
I have a very close friend who’s out on submission, and hearing about her journey has caused me to reflect on what a presumptuous thing it is, this writing of books for publication.
Right up until the moment you sell a book, people in the writing game basically treat you as an apprentice. The point of your efforts (at least in their eyes) isn’t to write publishable work; it’s to learn how to write publishable work. With that attitude, there’s way less pressure on each piece of work. There’s also way less entitlement and resentment and frustration. It’s a process, and even failures are part of it.
But then at some point the illusion becomes hard to maintain. I think it’s once you have an agent, and suddenly there’s another person with a financial interest in your book: someone who’s putting in work to critique it and to sell it. And then you’re like holy shit, this is a thing. And we’re actually going to try to sell it. This thing here and no other thing!
And on the one hand it’s easy to be blasé and be like, “This thing is better than all the things that are already on the shelves,” because that’s probably true. But on the other hand, you’re also asking alot. You want someone to pay you money, edit it, pitch it to booksellers, ship it across the country. And on what basis? Nothing more than the book’s ability to captivate and delight.
Anyway, I am still liking the book. If you’re going to put a book out into the world, I think you need to like it. I wrote this one eighteen months ago, and now have spent a considerable amount of time revising it. It’s an immense amount of time to put into a book. I’ve actually put in more effort, on every level, than I’ve put into Enter Title Here, which is really saying something, since the first draft of this book was 32k words, while the first draft of ETH was 93k words. But despite all that effort, it could still fail to sell. Frightening thing to contemplate.
Oh well, at least it’s made me a better writer =]