I remember in one of my grad school writing classes, one of the guest speakers told us, “One of the most difficult things that you will ever do as a writer is scrap and entire novel and start from scratch. And you will do it.” I’m here to tell you today it’s actually not that bad.
Is it time-consuming? Yes.
Is it a hard decision to make? Somewhat.
Is it worth it? Oh my goodness, yes.
I got to the seventeenth chapter of the new Cemetery Tours before I was finally able to admit that I wasn’t happy with it. I tried to deny it for a while, tried to convince myself that I could write through it. But the story was going around in circles. It was all discussion and no action. Worst of all, the plot was very thin and barely there. I knew I needed to change something or else there was no way it would measure up to the first two.
Making the decision to completely rewrite has been one of the best professional decisions I’ve ever made. I’m SO much happier with the story now. It’s less convoluted and far more interesting. It’s holding my attention better, which is a necessity. If you can’t get into your own story, then you know you’ve got a problem. Yes, it’s a lot of work, and yes it is really hard to acknowledge that you’ve got seventeen chapters of nothing, but in the long run, it was the best thing I could have done for my stories, for my characters, and for my readers. I want to give them the best books that I can. I would never publish a book that I was even a little unsure of. I have to believe in a book. I have to love it. I have to know it’s my best work. Otherwise, there’s no way I’m putting it out there for others to read. My first novel will never, ever see the light of day because it is just so bad.
Speaking of first novels, I’m currently in the process of beta-reading my friend Paula Walker Baker’s first novel! I’m so, so, so excited for her and so impressed by how much she’s accomplished and how far she’s come in the year that I’ve known her. This lady is going places and nothing is going to stop her!
That being said, I’m off to go read the rest of her book. Goodnight, all!