It's ugly. I always have to get talked off the ledge a few times. I have been known to yell at my characters. Because, you know, they can hear me out there in imaginary land.
But once I (and my family!) survives all that. The magic starts to happen. Scenes get moved around. Characters tell me why they're being so stubborn. The random snippets bouncing around in my head find their home. Occasionally you break out into song (that's probably just me).
I started my current manuscript last October and so that happy magical place is where I am now residing. There are sparkles and fairy dust and, after months of wanting to throttle my main characters, I love them again. I read parts of their story that make me laugh and I'm all "Hey, I wrote that!"
Nine months, 89,000 words, one real baby, seven rounds of edits (with one more to go) five rewrites (with another to go), four amazing critique partners, two beta readers and a whole lot of chocolate later, the light is blazing at the end of the tunnel.
This will be my third complete manuscript in under three years (the first one took six - three years to write and another three to let go and start something else!) and, I have to admit, as much as I love writing, I'm ready for a break.
It's time to catch up on my ridiculous "to read" pile, to enjoy watching TV without the nagging sense that I'm a slacker who should be writing and to not have Jackson and Allie taking up way more mind space than fictional characters should be allowed to!
This story has been a new adventure for me, in that the starting premise wasn't my idea. It came from a conversation I had with an editor when I was at a writer's conference last September and is the first time I've tried to write on "spec" as it were. I didn't even know if I could do it. Turns out I can :)
Whether my own idea or someone else's, there are a few things I've learnt over the course of the last few years as I've pursued publication seriously:
- I will always worry that I won't love my new characters as much as my old ones. But I always do (though sometimes it takes longer than others!);
- There will always be many points in the process where I'm convinced the whole thing is terrible, rubbish, duller than the phone directory and doesn't deserve to see the light of day but;
- It's never as bad as I think;
- There will also be many points where I will think "I can't actually do this. I don't have another book in me.";
- But I can and I do;
- At some point I will want to kill one (or both) or my main characters;
- Critique partners are worth more than their weight in gold and I couldn't do this without them. They cheer you on, they talk you off the ledge(s) when you want to throw it all in, they make you smile by writing things like "Squeeeeeeee!" in the margins of your manuscript when they love something.
- The feeling when you finish and really like it is one of the best things in the world :)
So tell me, since I'm taking recommendations for my reading break. What have you read recently that you enjoyed? What's on your TBR pile?
Twitter @KaraIsaac and Facebook at Kara Isaac - Writer.
This is her TBR shelf that she is very much looking forward to spending some quality time with in July.