Friday, April 9, 2010

The Daily Whine

I'm almost a week into the rewrite. Before I report on that, I must come clean about a little white lie in my last posting. Yes, Amy did nod and say, sure, your book is publishable if you do this and that. But...I neglected to convey her nonverbal communication. I'm pretty sure she was humoring me, and I'm betting if I ask her next time, as I'm planning to, if I should put this book aside for now, she'd say yes.

I am filled with self-doubt...and a bit of book doctor doubt as well. As I started the rewrite, I felt overwhelmed, especially in terms of the opening. Then I reordered all my scenes and felt I'd scaled Everest. Things went better after that. But there was also a part of me that felt I'd lost control of my own story. Amy has me increasing the role of a character who'd been way in the background, to account for my protagonist's motivation. And while it's making sense, I still feel attached to MY OWN STORY THE WAY I WANT TO TELL IT.

I suppose this is what happens with a real live editor, once you get the deal. But, but, but, I want to sputter, why does every single thing that the main character does have to relate to her ultimate goal? Can't she take a few side trips, just for fun? Amy says no. I suspect all writing teachers say no. I just read something interesting in today's New York Times review of the movie Date Night: "how much livelier this movie might have been if they had been allowed to improvise everything or written the script themselves without regard for plot twists and character arcs and all the other creaky Hollywood machinery..." Does every book require the literary equivalent of the "Hollywood machinery?"

I'm still at it, and I know what I have to do, even as I engage in my usual vacillation between thinking it's unpublishable junk and gigantic bestseller. What? You ask. Is there no middle ground, like a modest hit? Truth is, I'm not a middle ground kind of gal. For better or worse.


  1. Hi Andi,
    I've been following and lurking for a while, and thought I'd let you know that I nominated you for a beautiful blogger award on my blog. Take care!

  2. Thank you, Bear, you are so kind.

  3. I know exactly how you feel. I meet with an editor from Disney Hyperion Thursday who read my first pages and gave feedback. She told me similar stuff: One of which was, I need to show the character responding to events and not just allow things to happen to her.

    I felt a little down and nervous because, I like my story the way it is and my readers are enjoying it.

    I also understand if I want the book to be seen by a wider audience than my friends, I have to get through the gatekeepers and give them enough of what they want to get the book published. It's definitely a balancing act Andi. Recognize other burgeoning, aspiring authors share your angst.