Last year I spent about seven or eight months working on a horror novel. I came up with the most terrifying story I could think of and I wrote it, hoping that it could be published under a pen name.
In the middle of October, I got a long email back from my wonderful agent sharing her thoughts on this story. My agent is very encouraging but also is honest. She absolutely loved Ghostwriter so I wanted this novel to blow that one away. This was the initial start to her email to me:
"I’ve read your novel twice now, and my first and most immediate thought is that you lost yourself a bit in this process. I know you’d expressed to me a couple of times that you felt it was difficult for you to finish the novel, and I could almost feel your struggles as a writer as I turned the pages of the book. You are right in describing this novel as 'heavy' and oppressive."
The gist of this email was that the novel wasn't ready to be submitted to publishers. I received great input on what to do with this story. Yet you can imagine what it feels like to have written a 100,000 word manuscript without a contract only to hear I missed the boat.
I was already hard at work on something else, so I shelved my disappointment and my novel. I wasn't ready to get back into that novel, especially because it was brutal to write.
Since then, I've made notes and had ideas on how to change the story. My agent was 100% right with her estimation of it. It sucks to build a house and then realize it's crooked and improperly structured right before you try to sell it, but sometimes that happens.
I share all of this to show you how important it is to not give up or abandon a project.
Last night, as I was going to watch a movie related to a novel I'm writing, I had a creative vision of how to restructure this novel.
It was obvious, it was something that I'd thought of doing for another story, and it was brilliant (in my estimation). So I spent some of this morning writing down notes on it, excited to dive back into that project sometime down the road.
Will that story see the light of day? I have no idea. But I think it will, whether it gets published under my name or a pen name. Maybe you'll never even know. Maybe you'll read it and think, hey, this sorta reminds me of somebody else but I can't really think of who . . .
The monster is still in hiding, and it waits.
I can hear its heart beating now.
It gives me goosebumps.
Labels: Perseverance, works in progress