First, go read this post. No seriously--I'll wait.
Man, was this a timely post. Some things that particularly struck me:
-"I'd just pulled a completed novel from my publisher that I wasn't happy with and decided to disappear for awhile."
Holy crap!!! So people, if you didn't follow exactly what this means, she wrote a book. A WHOLE book, did self edits, ran it past her agent, turned it in, and then decided it wasn't good enough and pulled it. People, that is some integrity! Personally, if I've put the work in to get that far and the publisher accepts it, then that's my next book! I have to say, I really look up to that level of commitment to quality. I'm honestly not sure I could do it.
-"I had another book done I sent to my agent while I was writing it, which she turned down---it happens, they can't all be winners."
All aspiring authors out there; the next time you get a form rejection on your full manuscript, come read this sentence. This is Sarah Dessen, people. Multiple #1 NYT bestselling author, beloved by millions, Sarah-frickin'-Dessen. Had a book rejected by her agent. The agent SHE pays. Wow! I was blown away. I think we all know that famous authors get to a point where they *can* write just about anything and someone will publish it. (Can is different than should, but the point is, they *can*.) I suspect that Sarah Dessen is at the point. But not only does SHE not do that (see example number one) but her agent doesn't either. Wow. High standards, people!
-"I also know that to my agent, and my editor, and everyone at my publishing company, my in-process freakouts have become as predictable as Christmas. "Oh, right," I picture them saying in their conference rooms and offices in New York, glancing at the calendar, "it IS about time for Sarah to decide to go back to waitressing again, isn't it?""
Hehe. I just like that part.
I am turning my fourth book in tomorrow. Wednesday morning at the very latest. But pushing for tomorrow. I remember tripping along through my first draft and thinking, Wow! I've been thinking about this book for so long that it is practically writing itself! I should have seen the writing on the wall then. The easier first drafts are for me, the more revisions I tend to do. *cringe*
It's been quite a process on this one because I feel a lot of pressure (not from fans, really, mostly from myself) to really get this one right. People have been asking me from day one if I know the ending of the series and I have said, quite boldly sometimes, that yes, I do, and when readers have finished Book Four they will be able to see all of the little seeds I planted throughout the first three books. Gathering up the fruit from all those seeds and getting them to fit cohesively into a plot structure that makes sense has turned out to be . . . challenging. Plot points and character motivation I have had in place for three years suddenly don't make sense on paper. And I can't just change them, because I have been leading up to them for three books! No, it's much more difficult than that. I have to make them make sense. Believe you me, that square peg trying to get into the round hole has nothing on this book.:D
Essentially, I guess it really is just finessing, because the backbone of the plot is still there, the ending I always planned is still there and it is still (IMO) the *right* ending. That hasn't changed. But how we get there, the details involved, have to be malleable.
And it is so frustrating! If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen the saga of the #plotholeofdeath that my husband found. And, sadly, once someone finds such a plothole, as much as you would like to cover your ears and sing, "lalalalalalalalala!" at the top of your lungs until they go away, you now know it's there and darn it! you have to fix it!
And I totally fell down at my hubby's feet and thanked him for finding the problem that made my novel better.
See? I'm good at making stuff up!
No, in truth I--who never yells at my husband--yelled. Twice. And I don't mean two sentences escaped my mouth at a higher than average volume. I mean he got yelled at in two rather extended yelling sessions on two different days. (I'm sorry!!!!!) It was a two-yell book. I don't think I've ever had more than a one-yell book.
I will tell people any day of the week that I have the best job in the world, and I do. I DO!!! But don't mistake that for the *easiest* job in the world. This is a hard job. It is a job with deadlines and schedules and demands and bosses, just like any other job in the world. But it's so much more personal. If you make a mistake on your spreadsheet, you probably don't fall into a cycle of "IsuckIsuckIsuck and I should never write make another spreadsheet again because I am obviously a talentless hack and who the heck hired me anyway?!?!?!?" I think that a minimum of once a book. Usually three to four times. (See Sarah's quote about going back to waitressing.)
And sometimes it is nice to know that other authors--especially authors like Ally Carter, who I consider veterans (I'm still such a baby!)--feel the same way and go through the same struggles.
Anyway, my apologies that it has been two weeks since I last blogged. I've been at that point where I am eating, breathing, and sleeping Book Four . . . and then eating some more . . . and am trying to continue caring about it enough to finish this last draft and do it well! These words came out of my mouth on Saturday, "I don't care anymore; I hate this book." That's when I know I'm almost done.:D
I will be gathering the books for a rather large giveaway later this week, to celebrate being done (for the moment) so stay tuned!