Friday, July 2, 2010
Exercising my Freedom to Vent
What better time than the 4th of July weekend to exercise my freedom to vent? Don't worry, I'm not venting about a particular person, although I do consider my manuscript to be my baby and the characters are very real to me.
I have to vent because if I don't, I may go insane. So please bear with me as I get this off my chest.
The manuscript I'm working on is a mystery. This mystery finaled last year in the Genesis contest. It won the 2009 FaithWriters Page Turner contest. It finaled again in this year's Genesis. These things make me very happy and cause me to think this story has definite potential. Since I love reading mysteries, the thought of writing one excites me. I love the overall concept of this particular story. I adore the characters. I even have several titles and ideas for other mysteries I'd like to write in the future.
This book has given me nothing but one long, splitting headache. I have revised it so many times I'm getting majorly confused. While this started out in first person, present tense, it's now mainly first person past tense, with a handful of other POV's thrown in. I've removed scenes, added scenes, and changed hundreds of details. I recently sent some questions to my critique partner to pass along to her husband, who happens to be a police officer, undercover detective and sergeant for over 28 years. I totally appreciate him taking the time to answer my questions and am so thankful to have input from a professional. But basically, he told me what I've been suspecting. I got a lot wrong. Or at least enough to warrant more revising... changing... reworking...
So now what? Due to my complete and utter frustration, I'm seriously thinking of bagging this thing for now and working on something else. I do have another ms I love that is about 30,000 words in. Or, I could work on the sequel to Mind Over Madi, the series my agent is currently pitching. Or, I could go with an entirely new project - one that's been rolling around in my brain for a while now. I could focus on one of those, if only to stop the insanity of this darned mystery.
But here's the thing. I really, really wanted to have this one completed by the conference. Not only because it's a finalist in the Genesis and it would look good to editors if it's ready to submit, but because I love the idea of the story and would be thrilled to see it published. Would putting it aside make me a quitter? Someone who gives up when the going gets tough? It certainly might look that way to an editor.
Maybe you're thinking, "Get over it. It's not the end of the world. Just make a decision and move on." And I agree. I want nothing more than to decide what I'm doing and run with it. But my mind isn't cooperating.
Before you ask, yes, I've prayed (and prayed and prayed) about it. I honestly don't know what He's telling me. I really don't think God has a particular novel in mind that He wants me to pursue. I think He's leaving it up to me. In fact, maybe this is what He's trying to teach me. To exercise my freedom of choice and just pick one already! Whichever one I choose, He'll be at my side cheering me on.
I'm probably not making a whole lot of sense. If you're still reading at this point, I'm surprised. (But thank you!) I just need to sit down and sort it all out and make a decision about which direction to go. Easier said than done.
I'd love to know I'm not the only struggling and confused author out there. Are you or have you been frustrated, confused, or irritated with your manuscript or writing life?
Please feel free to exercise your freedom. Vent away.