In the quest for blogging inspiration, I’ve been going over my old posts from December last year to see what was happening in terms of writing back then and I came across a post about my chess player. At that stage I was in the process of rewriting him for SYTYCW, planning to submit the whole manuscript for feedback. I’d done a few stats for the ms:
*Number of times entire ms rewritten – 3
*Number of times beginning rewritten – 6
*Size of ‘deleted scenes’ folder – 227k
*Number of times hero/heroine conflict changed – 3
*Number of times I wanted to kill hero/heroine – 20
*Number of tantrums pulled while writing – 50
*Number of times I wanted to give up in disgust – 100
*Number of times I DID give up in disgust – 100
*Number of times cried while writing – 5
*Number of working versions of present ms – 8
*Number of titles decided on – 0
That was in December last year. After I’d finished that post and finished rewriting the story, I sent him off to SYTYCW, plus entered him into the Aussie Emerald competition.
He got precisely nowhere.
Didn’t get ANY feedback at all from SYTYCW and because one judge in the Emerald absolutely loathed him, I didn’t get anywhere with that either.
Here’s some stats for my Talking Dirty book from around the same time:
*Number of times entire ms rewritten – 5 – 6
*Number of times beginning rewritten – 4
*Size of ‘deleted scenes folder’ – Rewrite folder 37k, Original folder, 20k
*Number of times hero/heroine conflict changed – 6
*Number of times I wanted to kill hero/heroine – 100
*Number of tantrums pulled while writing – too many to count
*Number of times I wanted to give up in disgust – too many to count
*Number of times I DID give up in disgust – too many to count
*Number of times cried while writing – too many to count
*Number of working versions of present ms -50 million
*Number of titles decided on – 3
Oh and I should add one more line.
*Number of times rejected – 3
As you can see, both of these books nearly did me in. For the chess player I berated myself daily for the fact that I’d decided on a chess playing hero who everyone CLEARLY hated. For Talking Dirty, I berated myself daily for the fact that I knew I had a good story there, yet I couldn’t seem to find it.
I am a stubborn-ass b*tch sometimes. And I’d be damned if I let these stories – one of which got to the 2nd revision stage with M&B – languish.
So I started rewriting Talking Dirty for the 7th time and pitched it in a competition. It got a request for a full – which I wrote in a week (from chapter 3) – and then four months later, it sold to Entangled. It’s going to be out sometime in 2013 (May tentatively).
And then with my chess player, I rewrote it for the 4th time and submitted it to my editor at Samhain and that sold too. Black Knight, White Queen, will be out in July 2013.
Why am I telling you this? Well, sometimes it’s a good thing to give up on a story. Sometimes you don’t have the experience at the time to be able to make it better. Or sometimes you’re too close to it to see it objectively. I first wrote Talking Dirty back in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I finally had the experience and knowledge to turn it into a book that sold. The chessplayer I started at the beginning of 2011 but didn’t sell it until a year and a half later. Again, it wasn’t the fact that my hero was a chessplayer that didn’t work, it was the fact that I still hadn’t got a handle on conflict or character.
But some stories you can’t let go of. Nor should you. Some stories deserve to have their time in the sun. I don’t know if this inspiration or not, but for those of you who have stories that you just can’t let go of, keep going. Keep working on them. Keep learning your craft. And one day, a year and a half, or four years, or even ten years later, eventually someone’s going to say yes.
And then you can shock everyone with your stats too. 🙂