So I’m in this place of absolute freedom right now. And it’s weird. It’s like I’m that unagented, unpublished writer again, and I have the freedom to write all the craptastic novels I want.
But I won’t.
Not on purpose, anyway.
I’ve chosen to spend my deadline-free time with a new novel, which as you know, is always exciting in the beginning. I’ll probably love it until the middle, in which case I’ll consider throwing it like a petulant child into a raging fire pit.
Being on the still-smoking heels of PROTOTYPE, I have a pretty fresh memory of how that felt. And all this got me thinking about the stages of this process. I’ve been through to the ARC stage of ARCHETYPE now, and just finished copy edits on PROTOTYPE, and am now 6K into something new. It’s such a drastic difference in emotion, and three places to pull from.
Here’s my take on how this goes.
Chapter 1. Me and Beginnings? We’re old friends now. I can’t believe I ever stressed the opening line. Side bar, this is fecking awesome. My crit partners won’t have a single change to make.
Middle. OMFG, why the hell did I not plot this middle better??? No idea what I’m doing. This is going to suck so bad. Can I write the Black Moment yet? That’ll be fun.
Black Moment. Yep. I’m worse off now than I was in the middle. I am SO ready for the edit stage.
Edit Stage. Could my crit partners have made that bleed any more???? But that scene is my baby! Why didn’t they like/get that???? Oh hell no I’m not changing that. No one understands me. *sobs* *pulls big-girl panties on* *sniffs* *hacks until words are flying in the air* I hate this part. Can I just get to the agent/editor stage now so they can love and stroke all my carefully placed words and tell me how perfect this is?
Agent/Editor Stage. Okay, well, that didn’t go so bad. They just had different opinions and saw plot threads/holes I –and my crit partners!!—missed on the first draft. No big. *rocks in a corner* If I can just get to copy edits, it won’t be so bad.
Copy Edits. B-b-b-b-b-but you want me to cut WHAT?! *shakes fists at heavens* God, I swear, if I have to read this manuscript ONE MORE TIME…
Pass Pages. That there stack of papers is a LOT taller than I thought it’d be. Why didn’t my editor ask me to cut more? And no pressure reading this time… This is only my last chance to catch mistakes. No. Pressure.
And THEN the entire thing is out of your hands. It’s someone else’s problem. And you can breathe and enjoy the next steps, like cover and galley copies and early reviews and and and… It’s surreal and will often times sidetrack you from feeding your kids, but so worth it.
That said, the idea of starting over is damn exhausting. It takes a nudge from the muse to even think about writing that dreaded first line. I can’t tell you what possessed me to start the new project directly after copy edits. Maybe I’m crazy. (Okay, I am.) Maybe I was just ready to feel good about something again. Even though everyone loves PROTOTYPE so far, I’m still nauseous over the idea of reading even one word of it. By the time I get my first galley, I will be back in love, though.
I can’t wait for that stage