Friday, April 20, 2007

When Your Work Sucks

Thanks to EVERYONE who asked for a book! I ran out pretty quickly, so huge apologies to those who didn't get one. The good news is that the book will be in stores soon enough! :)

Question of the day: I had an oh-shit moment with book one today, 200-pages into the rough draft and I just thought, "this sucks. this totally sucks." i still believe in the idea of the novel, but starting to suck. I take it that's not a good sign. Has this ever happened to you before? Do you go back in, keep trucking, and take a deep breath and edit, or do you chuck the entire thing? Are people's first books just usually doomed? I know I'm getting rhetorical. Apologies.

It happens to me all the time. LOL. As I mentioned earlier in the week, it even happens once the book is published!

What I like to do when I'm feeling like the writing is really stinking up the joint is stop and go back and edit. By doing this, I can usually pinpoint the plot lines that aren't working and the passages that really blow. I also find that I usually can restore my confidence by rereading because I realize that the majority of what I've written really isn't that abysmal. You tend to forget that as you go along. Hell, I forget about entire passages I've written, and upon rereading, I'm like, "Wow, that's pretty damn good. I had no idea that I was capable of that!"

I think you know that a book is really doomed when you lose any and all will to keep working on it. When you're just so stymied that you can't muster the creative energy to go on. Barring that, I do think that most works are capable of being revised to the point of where they're so much improved. I know this because my first novel wasn't so fantastic, and yet, I've been able to pull small pieces out of it and create my current WIP, which both my agent and my editor really dig.

Are first novels always doomed? Not at all. But do they have a lower chance of getting published? Probably. Only because writing is a learning process, and on your first crack - just as with anything - you're probably not going to hit a home run. You might, but you also might have to go to batting practice before you do so. And for a lot of people, that first novel is like batting practice. But again, plenty of people can and do sell book #1.

So readers, how do you know when your book is sucking the big one? And what do you do about it?


Amie Stuart said...

I know the book is sucking because I'm probably abotu 2/3 the way done with it and in a total panic. I've come to accept this is part of my writing method. I do what you do--print it out and reread it. It's usually much better than I remember and reading usually helps me solve whatever problem I'm having with it. Or I send it to the CP's who inevitably kick my ass stroke my ego and assure me it's not near as bad as I think.

bookbabie said...

Often for me it's more my mood that sucks. I just step away from the computer and take a day (or two) off when that happens and try and I try and do some inspiring/fun things. I kind of took a month or two off recently and now I'm having a hard time starting back in to it, so don't get too removed from your project! Hmmm, which leads me to a question I should as Allison, how do you get going again when you've have been away from a project too long???

Heather said...

This is unrelated to this post, but I saw your book in the Red Hot Reads section of May's Cosmopolitan Magazine. Way to go!!


R.T. said...

I'm feeling the total panic thing. Maybe printing it out will help. Printing it out and burning it, printing it out and reading it....gah!