I haven’t had an easy time with my second book-in-progress. I came up with a concept just before my first book sold, and fell in fast love. Others have called the concept ambitious. I’m going to get back to that in a bit — that word: ambitious.
I worked on the draft for two years before submitting it for a first read, feeling less than confident about the whole thing because something wasn’t clicking and I didn’t know why. My editor at the time sent back notes, with suggestions aplenty for taking the story to the next level.
I saw the value in many of her ideas right away and got to work, eventually rewriting about 80% of the text over the course of roughly ten months. When I turned in my rewrite, it was to a new editor, as my prior editor had moved on. I felt good about the story–it was better, tighter–but I knew something was still not right. It needed fresh eyes again.
My new editor gave it a read, and her diagnosis was that my “ambitious” premise wasn’t working. I would need to try to find a way to make it work, or I’d need to let it go. So, I’d try again, I thought, feeling a mite desperate, because the premise was the whole story, and ack!
I tried one of my compromise ideas.
And then I tried again with another compromise idea.
And then I pulled some hair out, because at this point enough time had passed that I could better see why my editor was concerned and realized the damned premise–ambitious or not–wasn’t working. [Read more…]