Friday, June 17, 2011

Death of a novel

I'm emerging from my "internet and social media" holiday to write a blog post. All day, I was wondering what to write about, and I was about to let this slot slip past and ignore it. I *am* on social media holiday, after all.

I've just received another rejection for a novel. It's been turned down by any even remotely suitable publisher I could think of. All options are exhausted. If I put in three or four months of incredibly hard work (basically writing it from scratch), it might still happen, but there are also factors beyond my control that make that option very unappealing.

I've received enough feedback from the editors rejecting it that I know the book is fundamentally flawed. Tension needs work. The pacing needs work. The plot needs work. I've already edited and rewritten this book twice - changing everything several times. This was the best I could do, and it's not good enough.

There's the point when an author has to weigh the pros and cons. Keep pushing - increasingly frustrated and angry, and to the detriment of the other books that clamour for attention - or cut one's losses and let this go.

I never could let go. I'm a stubborn bastard. I sometimes think I can fix everything. I make my living fixing texts and have for seven years. But something that happened in my personal life yesterday showed me the limits of that "fixability". Sometimes, cutting your losses is the best thing one can do. Let things go. People. Books. Ideas of self. Ideas of capability.

Sometimes saying "this is out of my hands" and "I won't fight this" is the best option - no rage, no anger. In writing, I strive very very hard - I can't write formula and I probably never will learn that skill (it's a skill, and one I admire) - which means, sometimes I fail, fall flat on my face. I'm not sure who said it, but I remember a quote that goes something like this: "I may fail, but as long as I fail *better* every time, I'm making progress."

I'm now burying that failed novel and its equally failed prequel. Six or eight months of work - but who's keeping track. *G*

Every novel teaches me something. This one teaches me to let go and admit defeat - and to focus on the as-yet unfailed novels. To keep moving forward and not dwell on the past that can't be changed.

1 comment:

VJ Summers said...

Hugs, Aleks.

It almost seems to me that when I fail as an author, the one place I'm supposed to be *God* (or Goddess as the case may be), it makes all the other, little failures in life sting so much more.

Thanks for not letting your slot slip past. When I was a kid reading Piers Anthony's Xanth novels I always looked forward to the author's note as much as the story itself. I feel that way about your blog posts, so I'm glad you took a holiday from your holiday.


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