I have spent the last seven months or so wrangling with The Impossible Book. Never mind the working title, that’s what I’ve begun to call it in my head. Now, I’ve published 8 books at this point, so I do know the universal truth about book writing: it is freaking hard work. No author–at least no one I know–shrugs and says, Oh yeah, easy-peasy. when asked about their work in progress. In fact, if you’re writing a book now, just go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back for being brave enough to tackle the challenge. Because every book is a challenge. Every book I write is going to present those moments when I realize that the plot’s timeline needs to be restructured, or a whole chapter needs to be ripped out, or that I need to dig deeper into the hero’s emotional journey.
But this book–Gah! It started off as almost a lark–an idea that popped into my head and I thought, Oh, that will be a quick, fun book to write.
Ha. Ha Ha Ha. Has anyone out there seen the movie Austen Powers? You know that scene where he’s trying to kill the evil spy woman who just won’t die no matter what he does to her? And finally they fall out of an upper-story window together and he has his hands around the woman’s neck saying, WHY. WON’T. YOU. DIE? I was just telling my husband that that is how I have begun to feel about this book: WHY WON’T YOU LET ME TYPE ‘THE END’? I have a file of everything I’ve deleted from this book that is now approximately twice as long as the book itself. And the book is over 100K long! I’ve ripped out huge chunks of plot threads, changed the voice, the setting, the characters . . . and not just once for any of those.
Why has this book been so hard? I have no idea. Seriously. Seven months into the process and the best I can come up with is ‘some books are just like that’. Anyone who has thoughts on why some books are just like that, sound off in the comments and let me know! However, what I have discovered is that the past seven months of book-wrangling have pushed me towards some valuable lessons, which I’d like to share here today. Because focusing on the positive enables me to suppress the eye-twitch I’ve also developed over the last seven months. No, just kidding. Mostly. I really am grateful for the whole experience. But in the hopes that maybe I can help you shorten your own impossible-book-wrangle, I will tell you what I’ve learned. [Read more…]