A while back, there was a movie - "Galaxy Quest" - and the main character had a sort of tagline. "Never give up. Never surrender."
That's me and my first novel. I still know it's a damn good book. My CP thinks it's a damn good book. My BRs think it's a damn good book. (See? It's not just me.) True, it has already been through about 30 rejections, but I think those were more a case of my not knowing what the hell I was doing, than about the quality of the book itself.
So, I'm editing it again. Deep editing it again. And while I am going through it line by line, understand that nothing essential is changing about the story. What I'm doing is akin to taking a magnifying glass to the writing and looking for ways to make it better - however minute they may be. I'm making it tighter, sharper, and more succinct. If I've said something in 10 words, I look for ways I could have said it in 8 without losing the style. Sort of a "We have the technology. We can make it better, stronger, faster." The Six-Million Dollar Man-uscript, so to speak. (Heh. If I got six figures for this, I'd be freaking out. I'm not even thinking about seven.)
I'm taking jewelers tweezers and picking out the pieces of lint. When I first finished Spectacle, I wrapped up at 137,000 words. Yeah yeah, it was huge. Then I did the edit. I took whole scenes out and ended up at 129K. I loved those scenes, and I still have them on file, but they're toast. I sat down again and did another edit. 126,000 words. Smaller but still not good enough. So, line by line, I'm de-linting. I've already chopped out 3000 words and I'm only through chapter 5.
Please remember from 137K to 126K took me three years of learning and multiple edits, Not to mention during that time I completed another book, AND wrote a third that just finished it's fifth round of edits, plus I wrote most of the first draft of a fourth. Each step along the way has been a learning process and each has allowed me to improve my craft, which is helping me improve Spectacle.
Now, I'm not an idiot. I know most people's first books never sell. I know a lot of first books are crap. If I had even an inkling Spectacle fell into the latter category, I would pat it nicely and put it away. Chalk it up to a learning experience. But I don't have any sense Spectacle is going to fail. I'll keep plugging away at it, and plugging away at my other books until something sells.
Never give up. Never surrender.
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