Maybe I Don't Suck

Bloggified by Jake on Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My editor, AnnMarie, is going on vacation tomorrow, so I set today as a hard deadline to finish the final draft of my book--or at least what I am happy with calling a final draft. There still may be some character name changes, but 99% is set in stone.

I finished all the noted changes last night, but wanted to read the entire thing beginning to end one more time to catch little things that we might have missed. For example, since the main characters are now in junior high instead of elementary school like in the original draft, I had to change little things like turning "the playground" into "the soccer field" and changing the bully who'd failed enough times to be a fifteen-year-old bully sixth grader into an eighteen-year-old ninth grader.

As I was wrapping up the revisions last night, it occurred to me that I haven't read this book cover to cover in at least a year and a half. The changes I've made have all been based on notes from my agent or my editor, so I'd just scroll through the document on Word and change what they'd pointed out. I might read the sections around it, but there was probably half of the manuscript I hadn't read in almost two years.

As I read it today, I was surprised by some of the good parts of the book. Not to sound arrogant, but some of this is pretty well done. I had forgotten though because, as I noted, I had only been focused on the part that needed fixing. So for a year or more, I've been toying with this thing off and on, and whenever I did, it was going over parts that needed to be reworked or had bad dialogue or just didn't work, had to be scrapped, and completely rewritten from scratch, often with accompanying notes that reinforced just how incompetently I'd written those particular passages.

Given that exposure to my own work, you can well imagine I was truly coming to doubt my ability to write a novel, much less the three more my contract with Scholastic demands.

Fortunately, having reread the entire book reminded me that there are a few parts that don't completely suck. Now it's time to get back to the sequel.

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