Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Still Loving the Story

I began working on the 2nd draft of my fifth novel - RTL - which is short for Right to Life. (Not the most original title, I know, but it works for me.) This is the book I wrote in 6 weeks last fall, and I haven't touched it since. I don't know about you, but I always have to let a first draft gel for a while to gain some perspective.

In the case of my 4th book (ARJ or AWJ - depending on the day), I let it gel and when I started editing it, I didn't love it so much. I still believe it will be one hell of a good book, but right now, I only just like it. I don't love it. It's a little sad to fall out of love with something I worked so hard on, and I hold out hope the love will bloom again once I figure out what's wrong with it, but it happens.

So, I opened RTL and sat down to read/line edit it. I still love it. I love it more than hot fudge brownie sundaes. (And that's saying something. My husband jokes about whether I love him or those sundaes more.) Last night as I was reading through chapter 5, I almost made myself cry. The hero is thinking back over his life, and the memories are so poignant... :sniffle: I sucked myself right into his pain and lonliness, and got borderline weepy. Good stuff when I can make a reader cry, especially considering I'm the reader - and I already know what's going to happen.

Looking back, I still love my first two books - although I have admitted they might not ever be published (I hope they will, but I'm trying to be realistic here). I can open them up now and roll around in the story. I can still feel the characters emotions; I can still root for them to win.

I think writers should always love their books. When the love between an author and her novel is gone, how can anyone expect the reader to love it? But if for some reason, you fall out of love, it doesn't mean the book is doomed. I've said it before, but in a different context: This business is like finding a mate. It takes work. Sometimes, when you're falling out of love with a book, you have to work to rekindle the romance. And sometimes, you need to just admit when it's over and move on. I'm not there with any of my books (not even AWJ yet), but I hope if that day ever comes, I'm big enough to let it go.

Do you love everything you write or sometimes is it just a case of like? Have you ever had to say goodbye to a once-loved manuscript so you could move on?


Travis Erwin said...

I've never had to say goodbye to an entire manuscript but I've loved scenes that ended up not working. I save them in a file hoping that one day I can set them free on the page again.

JenWriter said...

I'm currently kind of working on a novel that I don't love. I love scenes from the novel, but as a whole, the romance has left us. I'm trying to decide if I should try slugging through to the end or starting something new. It's a tough decision.

Barrie said...

I think there's always a point, maybe around the middle of the book, where I'm less in love. More like slogging through. : but then the love returns.