Onward

The beta comments on my latest draft of Summer at the Crossroads have arrived. My readers did a stellar job, as I expected. They read the manuscript thoroughly, enjoyed the concept, liked my writing style, and gave me great feedback.

image credit: Microsoft clip art

image credit: Microsoft clip art

Once the beta comments come in, a writer must decide which of them hit the mark and which can be ignored. The book is the writer’s vision and story, no one else’s. This is a good time to again ask the question, “Who am I writing for?”

I say “again” because we should ask ourselves this question throughout the writing and revising process. At one level, the question refers to our potential audience, and we answer with readers of sci-fi, mysteries, women’s issues, or spy thrillers, for example. Keeping this in mind keeps us on track. After all, we don’t want what’s meant to be a hard-core thriller to read like a romantic comedy.

A writer’s first answer, though, should always be—for myself.

If we try to write “to the market,” we risk chasing fads, missing the wave, and attracting no one. If our main goal is monetary success rather than enjoyment of the writing process, most of us will fail. In reality, we’ll be happier and stay saner if we write for ourselves. Commercially successful publishing, whether traditionally represented or independent, is a rare bonus. The most important thing is to be true to ourselves and our stories as we see them.

image credit: Microsoft clip art

It’s clear from my readers’ comments that Summer at the Crossroads isn’t working as is. The story as I’ve told it isn’t compelling enough for today’s audience. It offers too little tension and conflict. Several plot lines struck readers as implausible. The concept isn’t a simple one, and many of my subtle “points” didn’t come across. My betas made excellent suggestions for ways to raise the stakes, mix things up, and keep readers on the edge of their seats. I’ve thought long and hard about their comments and those of earlier readers. And I’ve come to realize the revisions would turn the story into something different from the one in my head.

I have two choices. I can be stubborn and stick with my version or change the story and try again. What do I, the most important audience, want to do? It comes down to a simple question:

Is publishing a book more important than writing the story I want to tell?

The answer came quickly. My heart wouldn’t be in the new story, and most readers would see that in the writing.

I won’t release a story that falls short of an agent’s or press’s standards or a reader’s expectations just because I can. And I don’t believe the story as I’ve written it would pass muster. The overwhelming similarity in my betas’ comments (and those from earlier readers) shows that.

As I said to my betas, a “good” review might read, “I really liked the idea, but I wish the author would have made the stories and characters more interesting.” But a “bad” review might be, “It’s hard to ruin pancakes, but some people manage to do it. That’s what I thought about this book. Somehow the author took a great idea and made it boring. Don’t waste your time.”

So, at least for now, Summer at the Crossroads will be my “bottom drawer” novel—one I love dearly but one that would be unsatisfying to most readers, no matter how much they liked the concept. It’s time to move forward and concentrate my efforts on Death Out of Time. Maybe another novel idea will come to me soon. Or Meghan will share more details about another story. She’s dropping some hints.

image credit: Microsoft clip art

image credit: Microsoft clip art

I want to be clear about this—my beta readers did exactly what they should. They offered insightful, objective comments about the story and how it worked, and didn’t work, for them. Each said their comments were simply one reader’s impressions, and I should take them as suggestions but follow my instincts for the story. And that’s what I’m doing. Their comments haven’t led me to give up. When a new story develops, I’ll enjoy writing it. And when the next one is finished, I’ll go back to them for their insights. They are that good.

66 thoughts on “Onward

  1. Sounds like you have some fantastic beta readers! Sometimes the best thing for a piece of writing is to set it aside for a while and let it simmer in the back of your mind while you work on other things. Looking forward to hearing more about Death Out of Time!

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    • These are, indeed, topnotch betas. And I respect their comments. So when it was clear I hadn’t succeeded in making the story or characters interesting and compelling enough, I knew it was time to put the manuscript aside. Terribly hard to do. But we’ll see what I can do with the next story. Thank you for stopping by to comment!

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  2. Being true to your own vision and following your writerly heart is, at the end of the day, what sets apart a true artist from a hobbyist. I respect you for your decision and look forward to reading ‘Death Out of Time.’

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    • I’ve never thought of myself as an artist. After spending most of my life in a science-oriented field, these story ideas came from out of the blue. If they had shown up 20 years earlier, maybe I would have had enough time to improve my writing well enough to consider a career change. But even if none of my stories are ever good enough for publication, I enjoy the writing and the exercise it gives my brain. That’s not a bad deal at the end of the day.

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  3. I m glad you stuck to your view point…..a writer shud write for himself…..This is like film making…..You put your heart & soul into the making of a film, yet it fails miserably at the box office…..But yet, sumwhere within, there is the satisfaction that u ve conveyed whatever was in ur heart……..wonderful sharing & all d best……

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  4. Wise balanced conclusion.
    First, writing for the market is foolish – by the time you know what it is, it’s moved and gone on.
    I’ve seen some authors who can write “what will sell” and sell those without a thought or tinge of regret. Just churn those out without gilt or feeling anything. That’s fine for them I guess – it’s money. But there’s nothing wrong with feeling strongly about a work that isn’t what others want. You have to decide. Sometimes best to put that one away for a bit – until the market/readers tastes change or you are suddenly jolted by a revelation that will “fix” it and you feel good about.
    Many books simmer for long periods until “discovered” and become popular by the public.
    You have to keep heart and soul above all.

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    • I knew it was the right decision, but that didn’t make it easy. There is a sense of disappointment that something I created—and love—doesn’t have what it takes to make a good impression in the wider world. I feel like I really let down the characters and my Muse. Maybe someday they’ll let me change their stories to fit readers’ expectations in this universe. Or maybe they’d rather have an audience of one rather than change events to suit others. Unlike my characters from other works, this group is very much hands on and in control. They bicker, fight, and snipe at each other—and me—but I love them anyway.

      But now it’s finding my way forward that will take some time.

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  5. All great points. In the end, you need to be happy with what you’re doing. I don’t see any other reason to pursue writing. If you’re only in it for the money, it seems like a lot of effort for very little payoff.

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    • Maybe one in a hundred thousand writers can turn out whatever’s hot at the time and make a killing at it. But I’d bet most commercially successful authors with long careers succeed because they love what they’re doing first. And they would keep doing it even if they had to work full-time at a “day job” for forty years or more.

      We’ll see if I can turn my other WIP into something a larger audience will enjoy. And if not, maybe the next idea will be the one. But even if nothing ever finds that audience, I’ll still write what moves me and enjoy doing it.

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  6. I liked Crossroads, but also thought the parallel universes contained the makings of three good separate novels.

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    • Maybe someday that’s what the characters will decide to do. Or the story will stay tucked away for me to pull out occasionally and read. For now, it’s on to other projects.

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  7. It can be hard to tuck a baby away, especially one you’ve spent so much time on. I have another novel I wrote before ‘The Seneca Scourge.’ I call it my starter novel, because that’s just what it is. In fact, it’s a bloated, 500-page starter novel. But I know it’s there, waiting, ever-present in case I go back and say, “Okay, let’s turn you into something more.”

    Sounds like ‘Summer at the Crossroads’ is much more than my starter novel, so you have a great base for when you pull it out of that ‘bottom drawer’ and retackle it.

    By the way, “If our main goal is monetary success rather than enjoyment of the writing process” then I think we’re in for a huge disappointment!

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    • The Crossroads characters were so involved with the writing and have very strong feelings and ideas about how their stories should be told. I really feel like I’ve let them down, and I wish I could have done their lives justice. But it was clear from the beta comments that I wasn’t making them or the stories compelling or realistic enough. And I’m not someone who will ignore those accurate critiques and self-publish just because I can. The characters deserve better than that.

      Maybe someday we’ll find a way to fix the problems and make it a more appealing story for a broader audience. If not, well, I’ve enjoyed learning about their lives. When I can track down my self-confidence again, I’ll get serious about the final revisions for Death Out of Time. And when the next idea is ready, I’ll start on it.

      Luckily, I’m writing because I enjoy it—not because I want it to make me rich and famous!

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      • When I obtained a manuscript critique for The Seneca Scourge, I learned my novel lacked conflict in every scene as well as other issues that required a pretty intense rewrite. I put it away for a long time. Finally, I pulled it out, finding the energy and strength I didn’t have when I first got the critique back. It took some major tweaking and cutting, but I got there. I know our situations are different, but just wanted to let you know I can relate. 🙂

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        • Conflict and character flaws are my weakest points. I don’t have nearly enough of them. And until I can improve in those areas, I’m not ready to publish anything. The best writing style in the world can’t overcome a story line and characters that don’t engage the reader. I need to be sure I’ve addressed these areas fully in Death Out of Time. Objectively, I don’t think I’m there yet. But hopefully I’m not too far away.

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  8. JM, the fact that you have a finished manuscript is a major accomplishment. How does one get beta readers? Maybe you shouldn’t tuck it away. Let it rest and go back and YOU see it with new eyes…

    Congrats on such a wonderful feat!!

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    • That’s something I keep telling myself as I try to regroup and tackle the revisions to Death Out of Time. Maybe they’ll never be published, but I have written two books. How many people can say that? And I’ve enjoyed doing it. So when the next idea is ready, I’ll happily sit down and start work on it.

      Betas can come from your writing group if you belong to one. There are also some online resources like critters.org (for sci-fi, fantasy, and horror). I’ve found several of mine from my blog buddies. If there are some bloggers whose work you like, you can drop them a line and ask if they’d be interested. Given what I’ve read on your blog, I know you’d find some willing partners, including me. One of my betas also offers professional critiquing and coaching services, so someone like that is an option if you’re uncomfortable asking a blog buddy or writing friend to read your work or if they’re uncomfortable with the idea.

      It’s a grueling process, but I suspect every successful author would say it’s necessary, even for them, if your goal is publication. We need those objective eyes to help us see what is and isn’t working in our stories. That’s true whether we go the traditional route or self-publish. The successful indies don’t turn out unpolished or poorly written stories.

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  9. I guess I had the easier time of being a beta reader as you sent me your other novel and it was, indeed, wonderful.
    You are right; write for yourself; others will like it more – in the end.
    Scott

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    • Based on beta comments, Death Out of Time is further along than Crossroads. But it still needs some work. And I can’t start that until I get past the disappointment of shelving Crossroads. I tried to work on it recently and found myself thinking none of the scenes were very good. That’s not the mindset I should be in for editing and revising. Some people might be able to dive into the next project after a setback. I need time to regroup. It wouldn’t be fair to Maddie, Jack, and the others to mess with their story just yet.

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  10. JM, I know this stage very well and you’re right – you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to change the story so that it no longer matches the one you envisioned. I did that with Spark, and I did change it so it was no longer the same story in a lot of ways.

    My reasons were complicated and very personal and not something I have ever blogged about. But I think all writers go through a sensitive time like that when we really need to dig down deep in our souls and ask ourselves what are we really looking for with our writing.

    Publishing a book you’re proud of is pretty key, and you don’t want to sacrifice your writer morals to accomplish that goal. So, I can totally understand where you’re coming from. I’m sure things will clear up for you when you step away from it for a while. Thinking of you!

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    • I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care if I was never published. But that shouldn’t be my primary reason for writing. And even if I decide to self-publish, I don’t want to put out a story that isn’t ready or doesn’t work. I wouldn’t want to be an example of what’s wrong with self-publishing. Somehow I managed to finish Meghan’s last story while struggling with this decision. But it’s left me at a blank wall, at least for a while. And I shouldn’t work on Death Out of Time until my head is clear again. I tried reading it, to see what revisions I need to make for a final version, and I kept thinking it was all bad. That’s not the time for editing and revising.

      Knowing that it’s time to set a story aside may be a sign of a maturing writer. But that doesn’t make it easy. I miss the feeling of being drawn into a story idea and learning about the characters and their adventures. And I hope it comes back soon.

      Hope your son is feeling better after his surgery! Did he get to have ice cream today?

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  11. One thing I ask myself when I start a novel is – why am I writing this? It’s not an easy question to answer. I admire you for staying true to yourself. As writers we need to write to add something to our lives and not write for other people or money or any other reason. Well done 😉

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    • Thanks, Dianne. Knowing that writing is for me before anyone else might not have eased the sting of making the decision. But I know it’s the right one for the foreseeable future. If I can’t bring myself to make the needed changes for a wider audience, then I should set it aside. Maybe someday I’ll think of a way to stay true to the characters while making it a more audience-friendly book.

      I’ve come to think it should have been the third or fifth book I wrote, not first. It’s such a complex story, and more experience might have helped. When I can look at Death Out of Time without thinking every scene is weak, I’ll work on it again. And I’m keeping my mind tuned to possible new stories. I don’t want to quit writing.

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  12. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in writing what I write because it’s for me, not for the market or the trends. But, I tell you, it hurt to read this. I think stepping away from one’s story is more painful than giving up. I’ve done it, and I dread it. Those stories haunt me. I have to remind myself that while it looks and feels like I’m starting all over again, I’m really taking the next step. I’m sure I haven’t handled it as maturely as you prove to be doing. Kudos to you!

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    • I’m not sure I’ve been all that mature behind the scenes. There have been tears and will probably be more. It is a feeling of loss. And I feel like I’ve let down the characters and my Muse because I couldn’t do their stories justice after all. And I’m afraid I won’t have any more ideas for another story. I know I’m not the first writer to face this decision, and I won’t be the last. We all have to find our way forward in the time we need. But the support of you and others who are commenting on this post really do help, and I thank you for it.

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  13. I love your honesty in these posts. I, too, have a few stories on the backburner. I love them and constantly play over them in my head at night to get myself to sleep (that’s how I always put myself to sleep–going over stories), but they still lack ‘something’ that I haven’t figured out yet. I feel your pain, and hope Meghan whispers some new ideas in your head that excite you. Sometimes the most fun is in imagining and writing down the story. The painful part is letting others read ‘your’ story…something so near and dear to you. (**And the pancake review made me both laugh and cry–that was a harsh imaginary reviewer).

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    • I’ve got my fingers crossed that Meghan starts giving me more details about this possible next story. Maybe she’s giving me time to get back my writer’s bearings, but having another story idea might help me get there sooner. I think you’re right—getting that initial idea, nurturing it, and helping it take shape is where most of the fun lies. The editing, revising, and feedback can feel much more like work at times. But I’m not someone who can force my brain to come up with a new idea or my Muse to help. I’ll just have to find my way to the next story somehow.

      That was a harsh review. But when you think about how nasty some people with theirs, it might not look as bad in comparison!

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      • Yes, I am always floored by how rude some reviewers are…for good books too that I loved. I guess there will always be haters out there.

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  14. I do totally accept what you’re saying, but remember that if you wanted to try out some of the suggestions from the beta readers, you can still keep the draft you currently have, it’s not like it has to replace it. Maybe trying the ideas might make you see that even if it’s not the story you originally envisaged, it is still your voice, and you might love it and you may feel that you have in no way compromised yourself and written purely for others, you won’t know until you try it. If you hate it, you still have your original version, but the new version might surprise you. I understand that right now you probably can’t face doing that, but maybe later…

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    • I didn’t get as far as trying to type a new version, but I did run the potential changes through my head to see if I could write them. And, at least for the foreseeable future, I can’t. That’s not to say I never will. But for now, the changes would turn it into a book that doesn’t catch my heart. Even if I never publish it, I’ve learned a lot about writing from it and enjoyed working with those characters. Time will tell.

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    • That may be. I won’t say never. If I haven’t gotten it right in four years, though, maybe it’s not meant to be. Maybe Meghan can pick up the slack soon….

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  15. It is much better to write for ourselves, and I think we’re happier when we do that because everyone will always have different opinions and we can’t please all of them. I know how you feel because my first novel was also set aside. I also agree with Vanessa. It might surprise you if you kept your current version while completely experimenting with another version based on what the betas said. I’ve done that with my WIP even when I wasn’t sure about some changes, just to see how it might come out, and the changed version comes out better somehow. I’m still surprised when that happens.

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    • We’ll see what happens over time. Maybe one day the characters will agree to change their stories. Or one will decide she wants her own book and the heck with the other versions of her. But after four years, I think it’s time to focus on other projects. If I’d felt like I was close after this round of beta reads, I’d stick with it. But the level of changes needed is just too much for me to do at this point in time. Most published authors have a book like this in their drawer, so I’m in good company, right?

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      • Yes, it seems like everyone has a book like that in their drawer. 🙂 You are definitely in good company and I think it always helps to set it aside for a while too.

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  16. JM, my writer’s group helps me chapter by chapter, so I can fix things before I’m finished. I go with the consensus of the group. If the majority of them find the same issue with something, I know it likely needs changing. If only one person finds an issue, and I like what I’ve written, I usually don’t change it.

    A couple of times they have told me that my main character is not likeable, that I need to tone her down some. I purposely gave her a strong and aggressive personality and want her not to be likeable in SOME instances. But, they told me she was not likeable enough for readers to want to continue reading about her. So, I toned her down and changed the chapters where she sounded too harsh. I resubmitted them to the group and they said she sounds much better, and in fact, they can relate to her better with the changes.

    I’m sharing this with you in case my experience helps you in some way, but also wonder if there is a local writer’s group you can join. I can’t say enough about how much this has helped me with my writing. There are also online critique groups if there is nothing local. It’s nice to submit it chapter by chapter and get input as I’m going along. Except, in my local writer’s group, we all brainstorm to help each other come up with a way to fix an issue. It’s really helpful.

    I’m sorry this is so long, as you’ve touched on something that hits home to me. I know that you’re glad you received the feed back you needed, but I also know that it must be disappointing. It wasn’t easy for me to take that they hated my main character, and yes they used that strong word “hate.” I’m very proud of you for taking it in stride and moving forward with your writing. Hugs to you, my fellow author.

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    • Actually, I did have some feedback from other writers throughout the drafting. I thought I had incorporated their suggestions, but it’s clear I didn’t do enough on this later version. We’ve moved around too much the last few years for me to find a group I could stick with. Maybe when we buy the next house I’ll be able to join up with a nearby group.

      Sufficient levels of conflict and character flaws are where I most need to improve. Meghan’s last story did have more conflict than I would ever have put in that short a work before. So maybe there’s hope for bettering my skills. But she still needs flaws. I haven’t got there yet. And I need to address that in Death Out of Time, too.

      Some characters and stories are more amenable to major changes. “Death” and its cast have been through them. But the characters from “Crossroads” are much more reluctant to change their life stories. And if I can’t make those stories and characters work as they are for an audience, then it’s time to move to another story. I’ve learned a lot of lessons from this book, and I think the next one will be better for it.

      But writing because I enjoy it takes priority. If I happen to write something that finds an appreciative audience, then that’s the frosting on the cake.

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  17. Loved that post! You have addressed some fundamental questions that any writer should be honest enough to answer, especially this one: ‘Is publishing a book more important than writing the story I want to tell?’ I would overwhelmingly answer in favor of writing because I want to tell a story. But wait, it’s a bit more complex. Are the two options really mutually exclusive? Because if I want to tell a story that pleases me to write, by extension I want to share that story. So in the end, I think we want both. But if we want to truly and completely let go of our internal brakes and let it rip, then publishing takes the back seat. (Speaking strictly for myself)

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    • I worried about this post because I thought some readers might think I’m not serious about writing if I’m not willing to change a story to make it better. Or that I don’t understand what goes into a good story and good writing. I do understand. But sometimes the stories in our head simply don’t “work” for anyone but us. The story as written has a lot of meaning for me and speaks to me. I hoped it would do the same for a wider audience. But that’s not the way it turned out.

      The other WIP, on the other hand, has gone through a number of changes, and I still have more to make on it. And I’m able to make them. Those characters don’t raise brick walls when I try to change their relationships or roles. So that one has a better shot at finding an audience. That might sound crazy…. But so be it.

      So as I get over the disappointment of shelving Crossroads, I’m hoping there will be more stories in me that I can write well and that others will enjoy reading.

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  18. JM, this has to be such a difficult decision. I appreciate your honesty in describing the painful emotions associated with receiving the feedback and arriving at this decision. It may not be much consolation but reading about your process is a big help to me (and to others I’m sure). This is such a powerful reminder to stay true to who you are!

    As someone mentioned already, writing two novels – published or not – is a great accomplishment! And let’s not forget the wonderful responses you’ve received on your Meghan stories. You are a great writer and I can’t wait to have a chance to read Death Out of Time!!!

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    • That’s exactly right—I’ve written two novels, even if they’re never published. How many people have done that? And Meghan’s stories show promise for both my writing and her as a starring character. She’s slowly offering some ideas about another story. I think she’s been waiting for me to get past my disappointment about Crossroads, but I’d like her to know that working on another story might be therapeutic, too.

      I’ll start work again on Death Out of Time once I’ve regrouped and find my self-confidence again. But just now, I can’t read it without thinking it’s bad. And I know from betas readers that it’s not. It wouldn’t be fair to those characters to mess with the story just yet.

      If you look at my reply to Helga’s comment above yours, you’ll see more about my thoughts on why I can’t bring myself to make changes on Crossroads.

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  19. Your honesty is so refreshing. It’s not easy to put yourself out there in your blog – flaws and all, but we all have them and the sooner we recognise them in our writing the quicker we can work to fix them. It sounds like your beta reading experience was extremely useful from a learning point of view. I think it’s great that you are trusting your own instincts and not compromising your reputation by thrusting something out there that isn’t ready. It’s amazing how many books end up on Amazon that are a damage to the author. Great post, thanks JM!

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    • Blogging and talking about myself do not come naturally. Every post that includes personal information is hard for me to write. But if I’m going to blog about my writing journey, I have to include the “down” side, or I wouldn’t be honest. Maybe someday I’ll revise this story so it will work for a wider audience. But for now, at least, the characters aren’t going along with that. That’s okay. When my self-confidence is back, I’ll work on the revisions to the other WIP. And I won’t publish it until it is truly ready. There is no way I’ll be one of those poster children for why self-publishing is bad!

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  20. I admire the fact you’ve been so philosophical about putting the book aside, after all the work put into it. I think I’d have a harder time letting go, but it’s good that you can feel confident about moving on.

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    • It hasn’t been easy to let it go. I did shed some tears, and I’m still not able to read the other WIP objectively. So I won’t work on revisions to it until I can. But I want to keep writing, and I’m hoping the idea for the next story won’t be too long in coming. I’ve learned a lot from this story, and I should be able to use the experience to make the next one better.

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  21. Firstly, congratulations on finding such great beta readers! Honest, good ones are truly hard to come by.

    Second, good for you for knowing where you stand with this story. I am right in line with thinking the writer needs to enjoy the story before anyone else sees it – or changes it. If you make the changes and love the story more, that’s awesome. But I agree 100% that changing your story “only” to fit a publisher’s idea of what will sell will set that story off in a new direction. Some writers can let go – like selling the rights of a story to a production house that could change it to its core. Others of us keep a story close, for better or worse. I had a writer/director friend who makes his own short films. His first one wasn’t well received – it certainly didn’t turn many heads – but he said to me, “[The film was] all mine. That’s what I wanted.” Maybe a compromise would have made his work more accessible or salable. But, sometimes, you just have to stick to your gut and guns.

    Good luck with the start of the next project! You may be in a little hiatus right now, but I’m guessing your characters and ideas won’t let you rest for long. 😉

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    • Someday I may be able to revise it in a way that stays true to the characters while making it more appealing to a broader audience. But it’s clear that time isn’t now. And it’s also clear I can’t dive into the revisions to Death Out of Time until I feel more confident again in my writing. I’ve read the first few chapters again and ended up thinking it was all garbage. I know that’s not really true, but my head’s in that kind of place for now. The idea of publishing is still appealing, but I don’t want to put out something that wouldn’t find a receptive audience or that my heart wouldn’t be in.

      I did do some rough outlining yesterday for another Meghan story, so I hope to soon be working on that. This time, though, I’m going to try to sketch out more of the main points, and even some of the subplots, before I dive into the writing. Although, as I mentioned above to some other folks, if a scene strikes me, I’ll write it down. Maybe it won’t make the final cut, but I like to listen to my characters when they offer something. I think it gives me a feel for the tone of the story and what they’re thinking.

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  22. Processing feedback can be tough. Sometimes I hear what the reader says, but I have no idea how to address it without compromising my vision of the story. Put it aside. In 3-6 months, you’ll have new perspective. You might suddenly see a path to making the story “better” without losing your original vision. And moving on to the next project is good. Sometimes when I’m working on another manuscript, I get a flash of insight into how to fix the last one. 😉 And I think you are right, you have to tell the story that’s inside you. You’ll be working on it for years and reading it more times that any other book in your life. I’ve spent years on and off working on my first YA novel. I’ve put it aside several times. And I’ve come back to it when I knew what would make it better and still be my book. 🙂

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    • We’ll see what happens. “Never say never,” right? For now, though, this is the right decision. I recognize that my betas’ comments are good and accurate. It’s disappointing, of course, and it’s played havoc with my self-confidence when it comes to writing. So until I can look at <Death Out of Time and again recognize what’s good about it, revisions are off the table.

      The good news, though, is that Meghan has been forthcoming with ideas, and I see the kernels of three additional stories. We’re starting a rough outline of one of them now. That will hopefully soon have me back on track and finding my confidence as I work on her story. Then I might find the ideas I need for “Death” and maybe even “Crossroads” down the line…. 😉

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      • Sounds like an excellent approach to things. 🙂 Yes, the self confidence splatter. It’s way too frequent in this business. One minute you are in awe of something you wrote and the next you realize all its faults. 😦 I think Stephen King said we have to write 1 million bad words to get to the good. Daunting numbers but I think moving forward will make you a better writer and that will pay off in spades in the long run. Even if it doesn’t seem like it now. 😉 Can’t wait to hear more about your Meghan’s stories. 🙂

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        • I was hoping the million words of garbage included rewrites in existing manuscripts, but I’ve come to believe it doesn’t. If it did, I’d be further along than I am…. So now it’s reminding my psyche that we really can write just for the fun of it. 🙂

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  23. A bottom drawer novel sounds good at the moment. Sometime in the future you might decide to pick it up again and changes might come to you on how to take it to the next level. I wrote 40 pages of a story back in 2002 ish and it wasn’t quite working. 11 years of being in the bottom drawer it will form part of my next NaNo project. Things have a way of working their way out of your head. 🙂

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    • That’s so true. And that’s why I won’t say “never” when it comes to this story. Maybe someday an idea will hit me for how to keep it true to my vision and please a wider audience. Until then, the key is to not be too discouraged. I need to find another new project and get into the right frame of mind to revise my other WIP. If one of these ideas works for publication, great. And even if not, I enjoy setting down the story, even if it’s just for me. 🙂

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      • I like your attitude. I know that the book I’m writing now might not be the first one I end up publishing. Whatever happens with it I enjoyed the process and, more importantly, the lessons I’ve learned have been invaluable. It all makes us stronger and better writers. Happy writing. 🙂

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