I’ve been working with an editor on my Dragons manuscript, in the hopes that I will finally get it to a place where someone (preferably the house this lady is with) wants to publish it. I’ve gone back and forth with her several times, making some major changes, and with each round of edits, it gets a little better, but there was still something missing.
Back a few years ago when I had an agent, I also did many many rounds of revisions, but back then, I couldn’t see that the changes she wanted me to make were really improving my story in any way. I felt like she didn’t understand my writing style or, really, the speculative genre in general or the way this type of story often plays out. Everything I changed took me further away from what I was going for, until I felt like my story was a shell of what it was supposed to be, remade in that agent’s image.
That’s not what is happening this time around. I feel like this editor understands me, understands my story, understands the genre, and understands where I’m going with this. Each change, from minor plot holes and character motivations to major plot revisions, has made it better. I can see how it’s shaping up and becoming better than what I originally wrote.
Well, after going back and forth several times and thinking about it and discussing it, we think we’ve finally hit on the elusive “it” that the story is missing, the thing that will take it to the next level and make it a really phenomenal story. It will involve some pretty major changes to accomplish what I need to accomplish. And, while I agree that this is what the story needs and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make this story into its most awesome form, I can’t help but feel disheartened.
I’ve poured so many years, so much blood, sweat, and tears, into this manuscript, that to see this huge obstacle in the way makes me want to give up. We’re not talking a little tweak, we’re talking a major change that needs to happen. And I know it needs to happen. And I do want this book to be as good as it can be. That’s why I’ve held out this long, waiting for the right publisher instead of self-publishing or giving up, because I believe in this story but I know I can’t do it on my own. I can’t see it. I can’t figure out “it” by myself, and so I know I need the input of other professionals. And I don’t disagree that I need to make these major changes.
But I still want to curl up in a ball and cry. Because I have poured so much of myself into this, only to have it be not good enough still. Because I know what to do, but not how to do it. Because it feels like it will never be ready. Because I’ve worked so hard and I’m exhausted. And because I’ve come too far to give up now.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way frustrated at this editor. Quite the opposite. I’m extremely honored and grateful that she’s willing to put this much effort into my manuscript. She wouldn’t spend this much time on it if she didn’t believe in the story, believe in my writing, and believe in me enough to think this is worth her time. She has been amazing, and I am extremely grateful to her. I’m just struggling to get past this next obstacle. I’m ready to be done.
And so, here I go again. Brainstorming. Working through plot issues. Figuring out what needs to be done and how to make it work. Pushing through the frustration and overwhelming amount of work that yet needs doing, and getting to the actual doing of it.
Wish me luck, because when I finish–and I will finish–this is going to be an amazing book.