Writing is making decisions.
When I sat down to edit v2, having finally — FINALLY — finished it, I was confident that I’d need only spruce it up a bit, edit a few things here and there; remove some scenes and drop the word count.
What I found, instead, is that I was disappointed. I didn’t think the book was terrible, but I felt that I’d made all the wrong decisions in my storytelling.The book was fine, but it was still not the book or the story I wanted to publish, and that was an awfully difficult thing to accept after so many years, and nearly 200,000 words — 400,000 if you added v1.
So I did not accept it. Frustrated and feeling like a failure — yet again — I put the book aside and didn’t touch it for a year. I convinced myself that all I needed was a little distance.
After nearly a year of distance, I finally felt like I could pick it up again. I was determined to ignore that little voice that said, “This is still not right,” and publish the damn thing anyway. I’d remove some superfluous scenes, add a few sentences to explain away the edits, and present this slightly-mangled, stitched-up — but carefully airbrushed — novel to my publisher.
I would finally be free. I would finally have another published novel to point to, link to, and move on from.
Alas, I could’t do it. In an effort to modify the word-count I started rewriting, and then just writing, and with each new scene I thought, “Oh God, not this again. No no no. I am not rewriting this AGAIN.” But there I was, once again, starting the novel from scratch and wondering, “Why didn’t I make these choices originally?”
It was quite terrifying, actually. I felt like I was sneaking around with my own book, like, “I will not tell anyone that I am doing this. I will not even joke about TBSOL v3. I will just sneak these changes in…call it editing…”
The hardest part of writing TBSOL FV, and oddly, the most time-consuming part, has been giving myself permission to write it at all; granting myself the time to write it. And, of course, admitting to writing it in the first place.
So, yes, TBSOL FV — in case it was unclear — is not an edited version of TBSOL v2, but in fact a complete reboot.
I’ve officially given myself permission to say “screw it” and write this book as I would write it now. I’ve given myself permission to toss over a decade of work in the garbage, ignore nearly 400,000 words of text, and start from the ground up.
This is completely terrifying, horrifying and — since I’m being honest — a bit humiliating.
But there it is.
Last night, after a long, drawn out, insomnia-induced debate, I decided that if I’m going to go off-script, then I might as well go really off-script. I’m tossing my current outline for Chapters 24+ away — I was still held back by TBSOL v2 when I mapped their course. No more.
To my lovely and loyal beta team: Everything past Chapter 25 will be different from any other version ever, so hang in there with me. Off we go, then, into vast, uncharted territories.
Destination: happily ever after.