This post is dedicated to all of us who began the process of writing a novel without knowing what we were getting ourselves into:
So you think you want to be a writer. Why not? You’ve read a lot of books. How hard can it be? You have this great premise for a story. Boy sees girl, boy chases girl. Girl rebuffs boy, but secretly she wants him. And in the end, after that huge misunderstanding, or separation by a cruel family, they get together and have babies and live happily ever after.
Of course you have a great idea and of course only you know the right way to tell your story. So you sit down at the keyboard and you start. And the words just flow like wine. And you are thinking, “Wow, isn’t this great. This sounds perfect. I’m so talented!” And you write and write and you drink lots of coffee, and eat lots of junk food (hey it’s my blog I can if I want to) and after several months, you type “The End” and you sit back totally satisfied that you have created a masterpiece.
You look back and correct the typos and you think, “Oh this is so good, everyone will love this! My hero is dashing, my heroine is beautiful. there is angst, there is passion and yes there’s sex. How could you go wrong?”
You join a critique group and you say, to yourself, you will submit it so that people can see what you have written and tell you how good it is.
You submit it and open up your first critique and think someone bled all over your computer screen. What are all those mark ups? What do they mean my characters have no depth? What are they talking about when they say I’m dumping information? What the heck is head hopping and POV???
Ahh. You take a step back and you think. Hmmm. Maybe I should look into a few classes, not that I need to learn how to write, but just to see what people are talking about. so you read and you read and you think. Ahh, now I understand. So you go back and you re-write and re-write and think you have it and you resubmit and you think, “now I’ve got it!” and you look at your critique and you say “Umm no I guess I don’t.”
So you grumble and drink more coffee and eat more chocolate, potato chips, jelly beans, (save the wine for after the writing) and go back and look at what you’ve done and you edit and look at the story and decided that maybe these people know what they are talking about and you re-write and re-write some more and you now see that its been almost a year since you sat down and had this great idea that “Hey, I can write a book!”
So you submit to a publisher and THEY WANT YOUR BOOK!! Woo Hoo!!! you do the Snoopy happy dance and you sign on the dotted line and you have a contract.
You get your assigned editor and wait for the corrections, thinking “Ehh, how bad can it be?”
It takes a village to write a book.
I just received the first edits of my book. I was afraid to open my eyes. When I finally looked, not THAT bad, except that I left my ability to punctuate somewhere in 1815. But…they want to change my title. I’ve been told that’s standard operating procedure. And of course they want me to cut down on my secondary characters (I LOVE my secondary characters…so much so that they will all be getting their own book if I have anything to say or do about it). Still not so bad. And there’s still that nasty business of POV, but not as bad as I thought, thanks to a great critique group.
All in all, it is a pretty exciting experience this writing thing, because when it is over….you will be published and accomplished what you set out to do!
Isn’t it fantastic??