By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy
Regular readers of the blog will know that the last few months I've been doing a heavy duty overhaul of Blue Fire. Rewrite has been on my mind a lot, and I'm delighted to say that I turned in Blue Fire to my editor yesterday. (major dancing ensured. okay not really, cause I'm still sick, but I danced in my mind). Next week I'll do a much more helpful "things to watch out for in a second book" post, but right now I wanted to share some of the experience.
I made a comment to a writer friend recently, that if trying-to-get-published writers knew how hard it was, they might not be in such a hurry to get there. She laughed and agreed with me, as she was struggling with her second book as well. Now, as always, I don't say this to discourage anyone, but to share that even when you read industry blogs, follow writers and generally keep up on the book biz, there's nothing to truly prepare you for it. Selling your first novel is the easy part, crazy (and scary) as that sounds. That second book? Trial by fire.
Writing Blue Fire was hard. Probably one of the hardest things I've ever done, and certainly the hardest writing I've even done. But I'm honestly glad to have done it. Hard as it was, it really proved to me that A) I could do this whole "published author" thing, B) I could bang out 2500 usable words in a morning when I had to, and C) I still want to do this for a living.
There were plenty of moments when I was convinced I was a one-book wonder. Shifter had been a fluke, my editor was going to cancel my contract, and my agent would run screaming for the hills. I wondered if I had what it took to make it as a writer. But I kept plugging along because I had a deadline and people counting on me, and this really is what I want to do with my life. Giving up just because it's hard wasn't something I was willing to do.
And things turned out just fine.
Had it been easy, I don't think I'd appreciate the experience as much as I do now. If folks enjoy Blue Fire, I know it's not because I got lucky. I worked hard for it, really pushed myself and crafted a story worth reading. That does a lot for the old confidence. (Of course, if folks hate it, then I have to own up to that as well, but hey, that's the creative life) If Shifter was a book that wrote itself, I'll know Blue Fire was one that had to have someone write it.
Me? I'm feeling pretty good about the book overall. Had I not rewritten it five times, I never would have uncovered the really cool stuff I found this last draft. I wouldn't have seen a totally sweet connection that ties the trilogy together on another level that will make book three rock (I hope). It was a fantastic learning experience and worth the frustration.
And since I know folks are always curious about this stuff, my editor was a dream through this whole experience. I kept her posted as to my struggles and she helped me where she could, and gave me as much time as possible to get the story right. She gave me hard deadlines too, but this is a business as I do have a contract to fulfill. But she was great about the whole thing. (Thanks Donna!)
So if you're struggling with your own book, keep plugging away. Do what it takes to make it the best book it can be, and if that one isn't working, don't be afraid to chuck it and work on something new. Because that's also how it works on the published side of the fence. If you can do that, manage to hold onto your love of the book even through countless rejections and dark moments, still want that life no matter how tough it gets, then when you do sell, you'll be ready for it. You'll do fine when it does get hard, and sail right through.
Don't think of the revisions and submission process as a trial you have to endure to get to the good parts. Think of it as on the job training. -grin-