Those who follow my Instagram account know that this week I’ve been working on rewrites for book one in my YA supernatural series. I’d actually finished writing this book two years ago and sent what I thought was the best version to a handful of agents, some publishers, and a competition. It was rejected on all fronts.
Knowing there were issues with it, and having no clue how to fix them, I turned to a professional beta reader who pointed out exactly everything that I knew deep down was wrong with the MS but had refused to acknowledge. My excuses why were…
- Stubbornness. The book was finally complete after years of being stuck in my head. It took a long time to write and edit, and I was sick of looking at it.
- It’s the first book in a four-part series so I can’t change anything because the others are already written (insert eye roll here).
- It’s currently still sitting in the slush pile of one publisher (and bound to be rejected because the version they have is terrible).
- I’d paid good money to have it professionally edited.
- I’d paid good money to have it professionally assessed.
- Five different beta readers gave me good enough feedback (although now, myself and the two beta readers who have read all four books, know that this first one is the weakest).
- I’d rationalized there were enough good parts that the right agent/publisher would see the gold underneath. That doesn’t actually work when the weakest parts are the first three chapters (the only chapters most submissions ask for), and I have the rejections to prove it—you can read them here.
I knew this wasn’t the best version of the book I could write. I’ve since finished the whole series and I know I’m a better writer for it. The current version of the first book doesn’t reflect how I’ve grown as a writer or feature the improvements I’ve made to my writing voice.
To fix it, I sat down and started rewriting, forgetting all the excuses I’d clung to, and now the book is finally working. It shouldn’t have taken a stranger to point out all of the things that I knew were wrong before changing the book, but it did.
Because of this, today’s blog post is short and to the point, because all I really want to do is be a selfish writer and keep working on my book. There will be a longer post about amateur writing mistakes next week (I’ve made plenty of them), but until then, I’ll leave you with the best tips I learned this week when it comes to rewriting…
- You can change what you’ve written.
- You can make it better.
- Trust your own instincts.
- Write as much as you can while you’re inspired.
— K.M. Allan