Oh man. It is time. Tax season is over, and I’m back. I’m unsure if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but nevertheless, here I am. I believe we left off just after you were grudgingly deciding to go back through your novel and rewrite it so it makes sense.
If you’re like me, there is a high likelihood that you aren’t going to rewrite every single line. I don’t feel that is necessary. I mean think of all the hard work you put into that beautiful, luscious manuscript. Don’t just throw her out with the trash. Love her. Cultivate her, and she will grow into the novel that you knew she could.
Some of you may prefer to rewrite the entire thing, and that is alright also. It is always going to be completely up to you. Right now, you don’t have an editor. You don’t have an agent or a publisher. It’s just you and your crisp, yellowing parchment. Fine. This isn’t medieval times, so you probably have your laptop out instead. Your crisp, white high definition display may be more like it.
It is in times like these that you may hate writing, but I assure you that everything you cut will be cut for a reason. Everything you add will be added for a reason.
I fully understand that you put your blood, sweat, and tears into this novel, but regardless of how many times you change it, or who changes it, from here on out should be all about your reader.
I repeat. FROM HERE ON OUT SHOULD BE ALL ABOUT YOUR READER.
We all get it, because published or not, we’ve all had to deal with it from time to time. Your manuscript is perfect. I mean downright mainstream, referenced, baked on high for 33 minutes, and slightly browned to perfection on the edges.
But his is no longer your book. It is your readers. You have become an author of the people.
This is not to downplay your importance. I feel that this is something that many authors overlook. They don’t want to change their book, because it is their special work, and it is like a piece of themselves. I get that. I have spent countless hours writing, researching, pleading to the gods of literature. But in the end, you have to accept that the reason you are getting into the writing game is to accentuate your work.
To whom you might ask?
Your readers. They are the reason that you are writing. They are the reason you have your followers. They are the ones who are going to buy your book and give you amazing reviews so someone else can buy your book.
I hope by now that you understand where I’m going with this. Does it really matter if John has black hair or red? To you, it may. But I feel like sometimes we miss the point of what we are doing. I love to go back to George Martin as an example. Not in a bad way, but just because it is a prominent thought in the world today. I finished the fifth book in A Song of Ice and Fire a few months ago. We’re talking about December of 2018. I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the next one. But an interesting thing happened. I Did some research and found out that it came out in 2011.
This means that some people have been waiting for eight years for the next book to come out. This does several things for me. One, it makes me feel good about my writing speed. I have always been a slow writer, and I felt like it has taken me way to long to churn out books. Two, it makes me feel a sense of urgency when I write.
I’m sure there is a good reason for not finishing the series in a timely fashion. But at some point, you must realize that everything you are doing now is for your readers, not yourself. They’re the ones who are going to make you great. Your work is not worth anything if nobody ever gets to read it.
Do nitpick a little. Cut a little. Add a little. If your agent or publisher wants you to change something, then consider it. The book is yours. You strung together thousands of words from your own heart and mind. Nobody is going to take that away from you, and nobody is changing it. They are simply helping you craft the raw materials that you have written into something even better.
If your boss offered you a raise, you would take it. You wouldn’t say, “Now, hang on a moment. I like what I’m making now. Why would you try and change that when I’m used to it?” If you think about your writing in that fashion, then it almost becomes silly to think of not getting down and dirty with your manuscript.
Make sure it is the best work you can write. Make sure it is the best version of yourself.