Revise, Rewrite – Recycle?

Many, many, MANY moons ago, like high school moons ago, I had an idea for a book.  I don’t remember how the first line came to me, but I wrote it down and over the course of a few years, I played around with fleshing out the idea.  I wrote a chapter here and a chapter there, but never got very far with it.

I never forgot about that idea and about ten years ago, I decided to write the book in earnest.  I came home every night after work and wrote for at least three hours.  I wrote on the weekends.  I gave up sleep and girls night’s out.  I don’t remember how long it took me to complete that first draft, but eventually, I got it done.  Of course, I went through endless revisions and drafts and tweaks and suffered through all the self-doubt that accompanies anything you put your blood, sweat and tears into.

The next step was to endlessly research the publishing industry.  Everything from manuscript format to how to find an agent was dissected, committed to memory and indoctrinated as the gospel.  I pored over my query letter, stressed over my synopsis and compiled addresses for agents – not to mention vetting them to make sure they weren’t sharks out to take my hard-earned money.

Of course, I got rejection after rejection after rejection and I decided to put it to the side and move on to writing another book.

Here I am, many moons later and about to strap into the terrifying and thrilling roller-coaster known as the indie/ebook revolution.  When I made the decision to take the leap, I decided to do what so many have done and turn my unpublished (uh, rejected) manuscripts into ebooks.  I had two books collecting virtual dust on my computer and a third with more plot holes than a cobweb.  I committed all my energies toward closing the plot holes on the third with an eye towards tweaking the other two at a later date.

I looked at the second manuscript I wrote and was pretty happy with what I had.  I made a few tweaks and did some minor rewrites, but overall, I was good with what I wrote.

And then I picked up the one I first dreamt up many moons ago. 

Needless to say, I wasn’t good with it at all. 

Instead of a scalpel, I need to take a hatchet to this manuscript.  Too much exposition, choppy narrative and a host of other problems. I was tempted to chuck the whole thing into the recycling bin, but after thinking about it, I now look at this as an opportunity.  I can make this book better now than it would have been ten years ago.  I can take a decade’s worth of experiences and learning and make it a stronger book.

So, I’m drying my tears and getting to work. 

And I can’t wait to see how it ends.