Taking Myself Out of a Teeny Tiny Little Box
TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate Hazelnut. Or “The Kristen Killer.”
Stuff has been weird! After finishing The Animal, I had a countdown until the day when I would open it back up to start editing, 2 weeks later.
THIS IS NOT A BREAK FROM YOUR MANUSCRIPT.
This is waiting for the moment when you can admit you never really wanted to finish it in the first place. This does not give you clarity of thought with which to face the second phase; this is never really finishing the first phase.
I only realized this when I picked up Running Home again, which I have been allowing to collect dust for a few months. No revisions, no edits, no reading of excerpts, no querying. Just sitting while I focused on the very demanding Trent Dixon.
Querying is my arch nemesis, or at least it had been for Running Home, and I didn’t even give it that much of a chance, being able to count on 2 hands the number of them I sent out. But I just couldn’t feel the query, couldn’t make it work the way the storyline did, couldn’t capture my voice in it.
It was not until I gave myself this long break, wrote another novel, wrote countless short stories and blogs that I understood I did not even know exactly what my voice was to write the query. If I was asked what my writing style was like, I couldn’t have accurately answered. That’s all changed and changing now. I needed some more experience. And I needed to beta read for some other people, to make comparisons.
So, sitting down on our Monday drinking night with Kristen and a batch of homemade brownies, we took a fresh look at the query for Running Home. I surprised myself by realizing that it wasn’t a hard novel to write a query for. I was looking at the structure of the story as some convoluted mess of conflicts, which is ridiculous when I know better than anyone that it is about a series of events caused by my characters’ decisions in a world where there may not be any real choices.
All in all, I was too close to the frigging thing, and I am probably still too close to The Animal to do it justice, too.
Now I am toying with the idea of leaving The Animal alone for a month to pursue a different project, as yet TBD. There’s no set time limit that’s right to let your work alone. For me, it has to feel like it went away to camp. Like I sent it off somewhere, missed it, didn’t know I missed it, but was really happy to see it come back.
Time to open up my mind and take the unplanned path again. Time to be a creator, and know that in creating new things, I will see a different side of my finished works. It’s a learning process. So, Trent, sit back for a while. Be ready to be ignored.