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Thursday, January 26, 2006

When is enough, enough?

I'm currently doing rewrites on my first book, Prescription for Murder. As I bang my head against my computer keyboard, I ponder when is enough, enough? I started this story years ago. I knew NOTHING. I didn't even know about the page settings. All I had was an idea and that was it. I would write for a couple weeks and then put it away for months at a time.

This last year I determined to learn the craft. At least to the best of my current ability. I've read books, taken workshops, joined a Mentor group, etc. Now I look at this book with disdain. I look at it and am overwhelmed with it's lackluster appearance. It's dry and boring and I can't fix it. It's broke. Without the ability to be repaired. Okay, I know I'm probably being a little dramatic, but you get the picture. I'm stuck. When do I decide to chuck it all, and when do I say this is a great story it's worth salvaging? No, really, when? I'm hoping you can tell me. =)

Seriously, I'd like to hear some of your woes. Since I have maybe three people who read this blog, I'll take what I can get.


Jennifer Tiszai said...

Hey you updated your blog and changed its appearance.

I'm of the school that nothing is completely lost. It just depends on how much time and effort you want to put into rehabilitating it. I think the premise is good and your characters are good. You've learned a lot about the craft, so on a line by line basis, looking at all you need to rewrite is discouraging.

I should show you the first 20 pages of Witness I wrote 6 years ago. The green room scene is still there but radically different. What I did was take the original ideas and characters and just rewrote the whole thing from scratch, using the old version basically as a guide for plot, but crafting new lines. I suspect that's what you'd have to end up doing but it's time intensive. Still, you'd end with a saleable book.

Jenny said...

This is a very good question, Sabrina. Since I haven't read your WIP, I personally can't say what you should do - and even if I have, you are still the one to make the decision, ya know.

I have heard of people who have written whole books and put them in the back of their closet never to see daylight. They used them merely for learning the craft. But then, I've heard of people who did just what Jen did--took bits and pieces from the old one and rewrote to make a new one. And then there's always the rewrite-the-whole-book plan (yep that's what I did and it was a pain.) Before you do that, ask yourself if you like the story's premise. Do you like the basic plot? If you do, then it should be worth your time (and that is key) to do what it takes.

If you aren't in love with the story, save it for parts or call it a learning project. But test your emotional attachment to the story first. It may only be a character or two you love and you can use them in another story. But even if the purpose of this exercise was to learn so you can write something better, isn't that a good thing?

Yeah, I know, just call me Mary Sunshine :-)

Abundant blessings!

Corina Bowen said...

You know........ After reading your blog.. seeing how I am not the only one with a MS that is in need of MAJOR overhaul... I think I am gonna get it back out and look at it again!!
Thanks for checking out my blog and your kind words!!~~ Let us know what you do with your work!

Heather Diane Tipton said...

When is enough, enough? Well for me... Everytime I think it's enough... God smacks me upside the head and tells me to get back to it... so I guess it depends on the God smacks you get. LOL