After finishing my latest novel at the end of last year, I gave myself the month of January to give it a thorough edit. At just over 90K words, I figured a whole month would be more than enough time to get this manuscript in shape.
I was wrong.
See, it's been a while since I've written a new book, and even longer since I started a new series. Mistakes were made.
After the first read through, I realized that my first draft is a hot mess. Now, it's not as bad as the very first novel I ever wrote (often referred to as the novel without a plot), but it's pretty bad.
The plot is there and fairly solid, but somehow I completely bungled my character motivations. The result is a solid cast of interesting characters who keep changing their minds and leaving me wondering what the hell I was doing.
So this month I'm going back to the basic. I pulled out old plotting worksheets I haven't used in years and found a new tool to help me get a better handle on these characters. I'm determined to wrangle them into shape even though that means this edit is going to take much longer than initially planned.
It sucks. Really and truly.
I thought I was past these kinds of author fails. After all, this is my 12th full length novel (if we don't count the ones without plots). I'd assumed I was better than this.
But the reality is that every author, no matter how many times they've done this, is going to come up against these kinds of blunders. This isn't the first time I have to rewrite several chapters and re-plot a book. It won't be the last. It will suck every time.
When I first started on this journey I thought that these kinds of mistakes were reserved for rookies, or even a sign that I didn't have what it takes. Now I know better and accept that setbacks are going to happen.
If this is you, don't give up. Don't quit because something isn't working. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't be too big for britches to go back to the basics and relearn a lesson you thought you already knew.
It's okay to fail in the process of writing your novel. It's even okay if that first draft is so bad you have to scrap the whole thing, set it on fire, toss it over the Niagara and start over. So long as you keep going, it's not really a fail.
And keep your eyes open, because once this book is whipped into shape I can't wait to share it with all of you.