Tooth and Nail

Writing a novel is hard. You sit and pull words and characters from your brain and shape them into something like a story. You revise and edit and change and eventually end up with a finished draft.

Rewriting a novel is even harder. I finally finished the rewrite on the first chapter of The Killing Type.

I’ve been fighting with myself mentally for weeks. I’ve been in a state of suspended animation, not looking back but unable to move forward. I had a death to deal with, a memorial service, the swing of mourning to readjusting to mourning again, and finally everything seems to have settled down.

I spent last Saturday with Cat. I realized I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have fun. We had lunch, spent all day at the outdoor mall with her husband, his brother and tiny nephew, went a series of student plays, and then watched a movie and drank tea on her couch. I’ve spent so much of the last few weeks internalizing and shifting, that I’d neglected letting myself have fun. We talked about writing and where we were in revisions.

I felt better about where I was headed, but when I sat down to gut my novel, I couldn’t. I stared at it, I watched makeup tutorials on YouTube, I thought about the changes I wanted. I edited it, little by little. As difficult as it was to pour out those first 80,000 words, this rewrite felt like I was sinking my nails into a beast and scraping at bone to find the better story. And it sucked.

Confession: It’s terrifying. I’m afraid. Afraid that it’s just a lost cause, that the story sucks, that I suck, that it will never be good enough, that I’m wasting my time, that I’m wasting my life. What if I can’t fix it?

I’m lucky that I have an amazing group of friends who listen to my worries and support me. I don’t blame myself for being out of sorts. I don’t blame myself for recognizing the “writer’s slump.” I unchaptered everything and dissected it. It’s waiting to be rebuilt. I’m not out of it yet, but I’m still fighting, tooth and nail.

And I finished it. The new first chapter is sent to my CPs and I await their judgement. I feel good about it. It’s not perfect, and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be. I’m starting again, starting over. It’s okay that I’m afraid, it’s okay that this will be difficult. I know where I’m going and I’m determined to get there.

Now let’s cut up chapter two.

Other news: You may (or may not) have noticed that my blog has a new name! Inspired by my favorite quote from Edgar Allan Poe: “There can be no exquisite beauty without some strangeness.” I’ll be slowly revamping the blog. If you have suggestions on content you’d like to see, please leave suggestions below or feel free to message me on Twitter @ExquisitelyOdd

Unfortunately, I have not been able to make any vlogs lately due to my built-in camera refusing to play well with iMovie. Hopefully, I can fix this because I really miss making vlogs. For now, it’s just one blog a week.

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5 Comments

Filed under Writing

5 responses to “Tooth and Nail

  1. Rewrites are so hard! That’s probably the part where I always want to pull out my hair and scream and stop writing forever.
    But you’ve got support and help and are gonna knock this thing straight into the dog park where it will be born again into a more wicked, and awesome thing.

  2. First of all, sorry about your loss.

    As for your writing, perhaps it’s all in how you look at it. Maybe it doesn’t need fixing, but, instead, fine tuning. Every writer has been where you are. We’ve all felt like we’re not good enough. If you love writing, and I know you do, you’ll find a way to make it work for you. I think you’re doing the right thing by fighting through. As long as you’re learning and improving, you’re moving in the right direction. Keep going. You’re stronger than you think.

  3. Julie

    It is hard to pull something apart when you’ve worked so hard on it, but I know that you’ll get there! I really, really look forward to holding your first book in my hands. I believe in you!

    (And also I’m always here for the fun-having needs. 😉

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