I also like that it so clearly has Kole’s voice – it’s very much a book written from the point of view of an agent who knows exactly what she’s looking for, and what she doesn’t want to see.
Since I’ve so heartily sung the praises of this book, it’s all the more ironic that it’s contributed to a personal writing crisis in my head. Each chapter on character, plot, setting, etc. has been like a flashlight pointing at my work, revealing cracks in my manuscript that I didn’t see before.
I’ve been heavily revising Winter Wilder for the past month. At first I was gung-ho about the process. I felt like I had a clear idea in mind of what needed to be taken out, tweaked, and added. I eliminated entire chapters, zapped several superfluous characters, completely reworked the first third of the novel, and I was feeling pretty good that I was nearing the finish line.
But then I discovered the dreaded butterfly effect… that every change you make ripples throughout your manuscript, messing other things up. A paragraph I edited on page 110 would make it so I had to go back to pages 25-45 to make related adjustments, and then to 214-275 to do the same. Then those changes would spawn yet even more ripples and I’d have to dart back and forth through my manuscript, attempting to smooth out all the wrinkles I created. It felt like I was chasing an elusive sprite, a mischievous little demon who danced between the words and mocked me every step of the way, cackling “You can’t catch me! You can’t fix me! Nyah nyah!”
Reading Kit Lit only further crumbled my walls. Does my plot even make any sense? Suddenly my main character seems so bratty and unlikeable, who would even care about her anyway? Is my entire story just plain boring? Is this something I’d even want to read if I were a regular person browsing a bookshelf? With all the high-stakes, super bombastic YA that’s out there my own story about a girl’s literal and figurative transformation and her messed up family seems so quiet, so… meh.
For a few days I couldn’t even touch my manuscript because I hated it so much. I convinced myself that it was a pile of terribly-written garbage and that there was no saving it. I have friends who have been eager to give me feedback, who have been asking me “Sooo.. when can I read your book?”
But, suddenly, I don’t want to show anyone the monster I have created. Because I know they will just point out all the flaws that are already there, starting me in the face. I just want to take my sickly manuscript to the river and drown it quietly. Ok, so maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. But the point is, a part of me wants to give up, and just move on to the next project, which will surely be better… right? Right?
I think part of my despair stems from the fact that these revisions seem never-ending. My beta readers will surely have new critiques and ideas that will have me rework the story even more. And even if I’m fortunate to get an agent, there will likely be even MORE changes to make before the story is ever ready to be pitched to publishers.
It feels so bleak right now, I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. But I also know this is a normal part of the writing process… that every writer hates their work at one more points, and they simply must keep working at it until they fall in love again and remember why they wrote the damn thing in the first place.
So I will push through this muck and strive to do as many revisions as it takes to make my story the absolute best it can be. Because, as impatient as I am to get the ball rolling, and start querying… I don’t want to blow my chances with a sub-par manuscript. I have to make it as strong as I can.
And hey, I spent all that time making this fancy website. I’m not about to let that go to waste!
This article was written by Tania