Sunday, July 27, 2014

Burning the Manuscript

Writing is supposed to be a work of passion, so it should not be weird to wish to set a manuscript I spent months on, possibly year or more, on fire. I am sure Hemingway did that, or somebody. I am at that point tonight, looking at the messy, boring, ill connected collection of scenes I called a novel.

Four months ago, I thought that novel was amazing. A year ago, I was sure it was ready for publication. A perfect work of art that needed minor tweaking.

I was blinded by love of the story. Truly blinded. It took two years for me to see the flaws. TWO YEARS! I often hear the advice of setting the work aside for a month, three months, maybe even six months. I set it aside for a year, and still thought it was brilliant.  

Now you understand why I don’t have another book out. If it was out, it would be crap. It needs a major renovation, but I can see it now. I see the flaws I didn’t before. I can make it sing. But how lovely it would be to see the old version set on fire and burned into ashes. Like a phoenix, the story would rise again and be way better than before. It has to be. That version was crap. I don’t know why I ever liked it. 

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your new perspective and the wonderful feeling it gives you! Now the road ahead of you is visible again with your newly clean windshield and you can enjoy the journey, knowing once again where you are headed! Breathe in the sunshine and drive on! That's what makes this creative thing so much fun, whether it's a short story, a novel, or a short essay that's being written.

    Celebrate the moment! Why not take an extra copy, a bottle of wine or some iced coffee out to the fire pit and ceremonially put the old version out of its misery? Have fun!