Reading my edited novel

Novel 1

A few weeks back I was talking to my editor, Jo. Most of your remember I had two editors: Jo and Molly.

Jo had the biggest task of them all. She had to shuffle through the mess of draft one. She was brave and deserves a huge medal. I’m thinking a shiny one with pointy edges. Don’t ask. 

The final word count of Dempsey’s Grill was in the ballpark of 84,000. When Jo took over the first draft it was around 105,000, I think. I’m sure she could come up with the actual count.

She took all the backstories that I thought were great and removed them from the actual story I was trying to tell.When Molly came along she tightened the story and made it a faster read by removing a few things that slowed the pace.

The end result was a published novel which was my goal. But at the same time there’s that tiny piece of regret that I just can’t shake.

 

The Big What if

what if

Writing a novel is a lot like seasoning your favorite dish. A little sprinkle here, a pinch there and presto: A story you and I can sink our teeth in to. But if you add too much or too little, well…everything is just a little bit off.

So that leaves me wondering: By removing certain things or adding something new did I mess with the seasoning of the characters. Would they have been better? A tad funnier? Maybe their connection with the reader stronger?

 

Or is it just me?

I’m pretty sure my thoughts are common to every writer who has read their finished product. I now understand why we have directors cuts. Maybe we need a writer’s cut?

Come to think of it, I believe Stephen King reissued The Stand with all the stuff that his editors cut the first time around.

I have no doubt there would have been some sort of regret no matter what I had done. At the same time something tells me I’m not alone when it comes to this. Someday I will have to do a blog post featuring authors, their what-if’s and their regrets. 

writer's circle

Reading my book was an emotional roller coaster ride

roller coaster 1

A Lost Treasure

A long time ago when MTV use to play videos and VHS recorders were the coolest inventions every, I use to record my favorite music videos.

For those of you who remember, it was kind of like having a mix tape of your favorite songs. The kind where we’d always get the disc jockey talking at the beginning or the end. MTV videos were the same but Martha Quinn was so cute it didn’t really matter.

MTV

A while back I was cleaning out my old collections of odds and ends and what do you know, there they were. I converted my old videos to DVD’s to keep the memories safe but as time passed they became lost and forgotten.

Doing what I always do when I have a project in mind, I found something shiny and traveled in another direction. This particular shiny thing were my old videos.

Instantly I was taken back in time.

 

Was this a bad idea?

No, not like John Cusack in The Hot Tub Time Machine, but emotionally. Every video, regardless of song, sparked a mood that I was in on that particular day. Interesting enough, it was not the same emotion I felt when I heard the song on the radio.

Yes. I probably need to be part of a medical experiment.

 

Something Happened

Last week I shared with you my experience of the day my books arrived. Soon after that fun day I sat down and read my book. It was the first time I ever read it as an actual reader. Instantly I was taken back in the same way the music videos took me.

Chapter One I was happy and confident. Chapter Two frustrated. Chapter Three contained a series of mixed emotions and so on and so on. You can only imagine my mental state when I finished.

I recognized the major rewrites and the minor ones. I spotted the battles I won with my editors, along with the ones I lost. At one point I had to put the book down and walk away.

 

A one time thing?

I have four more books in my head and if I’m able to write them I’m curious if they will affect me the same way. Or was this nothing more than a rookie experience?

Whatever the future holds, I will say this, when it comes to creating something the end result may always be an emotional roller coaster. At least for me. 

books

My book in print – What I have learned

A student all over again

A while back I mentioned that Dempsey’s Grill was going to be in print. I was not going to mention it again. I already talked about it once so why do it twice? 

But then the box arrived. Along with the emotional roller coaster.

Dempsey Box

I’ve heard so many people talk about all the things that run through their head when this happens. My good friend Renee April posted an emotional video on the day she opened a box full of her books. 

It was so touching and so real and I knew I would be feeling the same. 

 

In my hands

Dempsey Book

When I laid my book in my hand I immediately thought of the rough draft and the mess I made.  I thought of the the good days and the bad. Mostly the bad. Trust me, there was a lot. But nothing bothered me. I knew I’d figure this out. 

For those who have been through this I’m sure you’ll agree, if you believe in your story that’s all that really matters. I believed in this story even when the rejections came. 

Trust me there was a lot of them. 

I loved the idea and the characters who brought it to life. Not once did I feel it was too much.

 

My most important lesson

I’m the kind of person who will concentrate on my weaknesses when something good comes my way. I like to take a step back and remind myself I still have a lot to learn. The weakness in this particular situation is marketing.

I’m not the type of set up shop in a bookstore and hope for the best. To be honest it’s overwhelming with all things selling. There is so much to learn that I’m constantly feeling that I am not doing enough or I’m doing something wrong.

I see Dempsey’s Grill as my own person learning tool. This experience will teach me a lot of things. I know when the next book comes out I will be better prepared. I’ll actually have a plan instead of winging it as I go. 

 

Learn as I go

But I don’t mind this winging thing. We have all to learn and we all have to make mistakes, don’t we. Keep saying that, I remind myself. 

No matter what happens it is truly amazing holding your book in your hands. I won’t lie, it’s a scary feeling, but I’ll take it any day. For those of you who have been doing this for awhile, don’t be surprised if I come to you with questions. 

Trust me, I have a lot of them.

I’m at a place where writing a book is easy, but selling is hard. But I don’t mind. As long as it’s fun I’ll continue to learn as I go. 

Flash 1