Thursday, September 6, 2012

Letting Go, Before You're Ready

I spent the long weekend furiously revising the book I drafted back in May. Yes, all the revisions, in three days. A seemingly scary process, but one that actually ended up freaking me out more than I expected... for reasons I didn't expect.

I tend to do things in marathon sessions. Last year over Labor Day Weekend, I draft 50K words of a new draft. For much of SlackerBoy's revisions, I settled in over the course of several days and got all my notes for that session accomplished.

But with SlackerBoy, I did six rounds of heavy revisions before I ever sent that book to betas. This one, I did the one revision this weekend, and sent it off. And wow, was that scary.

Granted, this book is single POV, while SlackerBoy is dual. This book is not as steeped in backstory, in things that happened years ago, as SlackerBoy. This book is intricate, but in different ways, some of them less involved.

But I still only did one revision pass before sending.

Most of you are probably thinking 'Uh yeah, that's how it works.'

Not for me, though. To some extent, yes, I am a control freak. But more than that, I just haven't yet fully learned the fact that yes, the book really can have problems, maybe even problems I know exist but haven't figured out how to fix, when I let people read it.

This is much harder to accept than it seems on the surface. 3 of the 4 people who have this one also read SlackerBoy, so in a way, I do feel like they are comparing my work. What if SlackerBoy is better, what if this book is really awful and I am too blind to see it?

Or what if it's still a great concept and book, just in very different ways than SlackerBoy?

These are things I've been thinking about (a little too much) since hitting send. The reason I've figured out this is freaking me out so much isn't that I'm scared they are going to find all these problems in the book, but I'm worried about disappointing them. Worried they will not think this one measures up in any way to the book they already read, a book those three fell in love with as much as I did. This, I think, is why I spent so long on SlackerBoy before I let anyone read it (and then did six more rounds of revisions, after the initial send out...). Although yes, I still firmly believe SlackerBoy really did need much of those revision passes before people read it, I do wonder, now, if maybe I would've benefited from letting someone help earlier, even if it was still messy. Even if a few things weren't quite right yet.

So that's what I'm making myself do this time. Letting myself get help earlier. Sending it to these few people, before revising as needed then sending to my agent.

I'm learning to not think I have to do everything on my own.

1 comment:

  1. I can certainly understand what you're saying. I'm on my last round of pre-beta editing on my first MS. And I'm going "OMG, what if I miss something that is totally obvious to a reader?"

    Then answer, of course, is that's *why* it needs to go to betas. But it is still hard to think that my poor helpless book is going to be going out the door. I've never done that before and it feels like one of those dreams where you look down and realize you're not wearing any clothes. Eek!

    I think my worst fear is that people are going to point out problems and I'm not going to know how to fix them. I know it's an absurd fear. Pretty much anything is fixable with the right amount of elbow grease. But I just got done what was, essentially, a rewrite and the round I'm on is just clean up. So I suppose the fear of being told I need to write it again is strong right now. *laughs*

    Anyway, good luck! :)