I've been holding off writing this post until I had the happy ending, but since we're not quite there yet, I figured it was time. If you've read this blog at all, you probably know that I've been working on my current manuscript (formerly The Box, now How It Ends) for a while. I finally finished a draft, had some students beta read, revised and sent it to my agent. As expected, she had some changes. They weren't small - the story didn't feel cohesive, I'd left a few plot elements undeveloped that she thought should be the driving forces of the story and so on - but they weren't totally unexpected either. I dove into revisions excited, reworked the manuscript at record speed and sent it back to my agent just before leaving on vacation. I felt pretty good and was looking forward to starting editor submissions, maybe after a few more minor changes. And then I heard back from my agent.
She didn't think the changes were working at all.
She sent me detailed notes of exactly where she thought I'd made missteps and wrong choices in the plot. And there were a lot of them. Nothing contradicted what she'd told me the first time, I realized. I'd taken her initial feedback and run with it...in the wrong direction.
My first thought was to scrap the manuscript altogether, but after considering it more carefully and chatting with my agent, I decided its worth another shot. Even though that means rewriting a good chunk of the book. Again.
The thing is, having written a book or two doesn't necessarily make it easier to write the next one. And having sold a book is no guarantee you'll sell another or another after that. Each story comes together in its own way and has to stand on its own merits. And sometimes things just don't work out. I've learned that these past two years, having shelved the manuscript for How To Touch a Dead Girl (good book, bad timing) before it ever went on wide submission and now, having struggled to get How It Ends where it needs to be. Like a lot of things, making a book doesn't always go smoothly. And depending on how much you want it, you can either work through the rough spots - as many times as it takes - or move on to something else.
I still really want it so I'm back to revisions, excited about them again. Maybe this time, I'll get it right.