The Madness of Writing Despair

The Madness of Writing Despair

I have halfway fallen in the clutches of writing despair. It’s only halfway because I have When Stars Rise that I can work on, and it’s already been halfway written anyway so all I’m really doing is editing/re-writing. But I got back to When Heaven Was Blue, and while I like the direction of the plot itself, my gut is seriously telling me that the story is missing something, but I can’t even tell what it is, and I’m supposed to be gifted in the art of knowing exactly what is wrong with my story and what I can do to fix it. I was able to do it with When Stars Die, so why can’t I do it with WHWB? I don’t know, but maybe it’s because I have very high expectations for this book and want it to surpass WSD by a longshot. image

But I got back to WHWB, and maybe it’s because I woke up exhausted due to the weather and so my brain was foggy, but when I was going through it, I felt exactly like the picture to the right. I just don’t know what is wrong with the blasted book but I always listen to my gut, so I stopped editing one-third of the way through because if I’m not satisfied, I see no point in continuing until I am satisfied.

I had a beta reader who quickly tore through the first one-third and gave me plenty of useful advice (while also positing that she loved it), so I hope that advice will sate me. But I also did something very drastic and paid an affordable editor to look at the first one-third. Beta readers are fantastic and can point out stuff, but editors can pinpoint what your gut can’t figure out, so while that one-third is out and being looked at, I’m just going to work on WSR. I think WSR really needs to be the next book that gets released because WHWB is a very heavy book in regards to mental illness, and I need to give it time to grow into the book I want it to be instead of rushing it all for the sake of releasing another book in less than a year. Even though the other half of WSR hasn’t been written yet, it’s probably more ready than WHWB simply because once I outline the rest of WSR, those will be the chapters that are getting written, and all they’ll need is a good clean-up once I have them written.

But…ugh…it’s so disheartening to outline the crap out of a book (I have half a notebook filled up with nothing by WHWB), and then you get to edits and suddenly realize something is not working, so you don’t know if you need to re-write again or just copy edit the crap out of stuff or what. Which is why I went to the editor. I am not taking applications for new beta readers because I just don’t have the time to return the favor–plus, I charge for it because if you’re asking me to beta read, you are asking me to do something that is incredibly time consuming with the idea that I’m not going to function as an editor, which is impossible for me.

My stomach was all in knots yesterday just thinking about what to do with WHWB. I have a few ideas I can incorporate, like including more of Gene’s life outside of all the super fantastical Stolentime stuff, but that’s it, and my gut tells me it’s not enough. I frankly still can’t get the dang book out of my head, even though it is with someone who will take care of it better than I currently can right now. So all I can really do right now is concentrate on WSR and hope that, hope of all hopes, I can try to get it all re-written by the time class starts on the 19th. I do think that WSR needs to be the next book, and in order for this to all pan out, WSR is going to need to be completed during this month, read over another time, and sent off to beta reader who can just highlight typos or whatever. And then sent off to publisher, probably after the release of WSD, which might be late September or early October.

But, hey, the good news is is that I have another book idea. It’s going to be a continuation of “I Am the Bell Jar,” but you don’t even need to read the short story to read the book. Great, right? I may start outlining it just so I’ll have it when I finally get to the dang book, which will probably be after the third book of the Stars trilogy called When Stars Collide. Which means I need to start outlining WSC once I have WSR done. Lots of acronyms.

I’m going crazy, as you all can tell. Now how are you and your writing/reading lives?


When Do You Know Your Book Is Ready?

When Do You Know Your Book Is Ready?

In the past I had a difficult time knowing when my book was ready for the eyes of a professional. Even after beta readers, my gut would send ten thousand different signals that there was still something wrong with the book. I could just never get my book to the point where I knew it was ready to be sent out. I would always find some way to make something better, but I also never completely re-wrote. I was an amateur. I refused to believe that I might have to completely re-write in order to make the book better. So of course my past projects were failures.

With When Stars Die, I just took a chance. My gut wasn’t screaming at me, my beta reader loved it, and I was tired of sitting and waiting, so I said ‘Screw it. Life should be about chances.’ And I was surprisingly not disappointed. Depending on how the edits for the book go, I might have to start listening to my gut more often, but it’ll probably still be difficult to tell when a book is ready.

How do you guys know when your book is ready to be looked at by an agent, editor, beta reader, or even freelance editor?
Or do you sometimes just wing it even through uncertainty?