March 18, 2010 | By: Tracy

It's Okay to Press "Pause"

Yesterday I had a "Oh, come on" moment in regards to my manuscript.
As noted, I've been having a tough time getting the right feel for what to put in the pitch for my query letter. It finally dawned on me, my problem might be a little too much mystery involving one of my characters in the beginning of the book. Because of that mystery, I've been having a near impossible time trying to figure out how to slip him into the query -- and he needs to be there, since he plays a major role in the dilemma the heroine faces when it comes to being with her love interest.
Anyway, here's the part that came as a shock to me when the lightbulb finally went on. The mystery about him in the beginning of the book isn't really necessary. (Part of my problem, being a fan of LOST has turned me into an inadvertent secret keeper in my writing, at times) Sure, it plays as a nice little "Oh my gosh" in the middle of the book as it stands now, but the dilemma would actually be more powerful if the reader new this information earlier on.
*Slaps forehead against desk*
In all honesty, it isn't that hard of a fix to make. It won't involve any sort of major re-write, just a minor reshuffle of info in a couple chapters. Probably about a week, maybe two, in the "fix-it" stage, and it will make it much easier to write him into the pitch, without having to divulge the big twist at the end. I'm just still kind of shocked that after all the read-throughs and numerous revisions, I never realized this before. Probably, because the story reads fine as it is now (otherwise, my betas would have mentioned it to me), but this minor shift would make the telling of the story that much better.
Anyway, the whole point of this post is ... I'm learning another valuable lesson on the road to becoming a published author. Patience - it's one thing to say it, another thing to practice it. I'm learning that sometimes, even when you think you're done, you aren't really done. It's frustrating to realize a need to stop and do one more thing, but in the long run I owe it to myself and the manuscript to give us both the best chance to succeed, right?
Has this kind of thing happened to anyone else, where you've had to stop querying for a short while to fix a situation you didn't realize existed? If so, and it was a MAJOR re-write, did you do it? Or did you put the whole thing on a back burner and complete something new first, before going back to it?

4 witty remarks:

Jessica Bell said...

I think it pays to put something on the back burner and work on something entirely different for a while. That way you can go back with a fresher more objective mind. It has worked well for me :)

Unknown said...

I hope it works for you. It does kind of suck when you think you're done, but you're not. However, it sounds like the change you're making will make your book even stronger.

I was actually thinking something along those lines with my book too. There's something in it that I think is keeping agents from wanting to see more. I could take it out and for the most part, the story would work without it, except for one thing. I have to figure out that one thing.

ModernDayDrifter said...

I can totally relate to a lot of what you said in this particular blog. Actually being patient is extremely hard. Also, I've learned, as you stated, that you're never done when you think you are. There are -always- going to be rewrites. I think if you stick to it you will come out on top in the long run. It's the short run that will kill us all! ;-)

Good luck to you, and I love your blog design. Looks like we have a lot in common with the baseball and all. I was fortunate enough to get to see the Orioles play the Red Sox in Baltimore a few summers ago. Camden Yards is great. :)

Tracy said...

I definitely agree with putting things on the back burner for a while to gain a better perspective. If this particular story was in need of a major re-write (as I think the manuscript I just finished a couple weeks ago will be when its time comes) I would have held off.

Mary, good luck on that one thing. The tough part can be, figuring out a way to make that one thing make sense, without having to change one more thing as a result.

Camden Yards is my home away from home during the summer. No lie. I have season tickets ... like, the full plan. My butt is in my seat for 81 games. Baseball is an obsession, I think I'm part boy or something.

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