Publishing – The Story on Your Heart

Monday, June 4, 2012


At some time or another, we all get a story idea that doesn’t seem like something that will fit into nicely within a particular genre. I’ve been battling with one such story. It was the first novel I wrote and it’s become better as I’ve improved as a writer. 

It was out on submission for over a year and at the end of that time, the publisher declined to buy the book. One good thing came of that experience, in that, they submitted the book to our education ministry. The report was very positive, except that the book wasn’t something they’d recommend for the school curriculum as it focused on the ‘affective’. Yeah, I learned a new word too. In essence, the book arouses emotion. (In this case, emotion that can lead to downfall.)


Now since this story is dear to my heart, I’ve been pondering what to do with it. It’s a little outside the norm for YA fiction. There is domestic violence and a child witnesses an argument that leads to a fatality. This, in turn, causes the family to be split up.

I’m coming up to a break in the books I’m working on. Meaning, I’m writing one, editing another and will have room for something else, since Distraction will be out this week. I’ve had good comments from other writers about the YA story and the book won a medal in a local creative writing competition.  Also, it’s been haunting me for a while, especially since I wrote a stand-alone sequel for the MC’s brother and have moved on to the third book in the series.
The sky is the limit when we dream!

It takes me a while to make decisions and so I leave unresolved things hanging in the background while I work on other stuff. I had a look at the book yesterday and think it’s time for another edit. That will keep me occupied and dissuade me from starting something else, when I have so many books unfinished. 

Writing a plan is the smart thing to do. Some writers make a list, so they can track their accomplishments. I like lists and they help keep me in order, but in my writing, things work a little differently. I move with the project that’s calling my name. Having kept this novel of my heart under wraps since 2004, I think it’s time to move forward.

How do you treat such projects? D’you allow them to languish on your hard drive for years or do you work at them, stopping at nothing to get to the finish line?

36 comments:

  1. I have a hard time letting go of stories. I think a part of me refuses to think I can't make it work, so I keep editing/revising. I do have stories I finally set aside, but they still pop into my head. I constantly think of ways to rework them, or sections/aspects I may be able to use in another work. I think sometimes a story benefits from the writing experience/knowledge we gain while it's set aside. Congrats on your new release!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Rula,
    I'm in agreement that our stories get better as we mature as writers. I don't give up on stories. I guess I wait for the right time to dust them off and go into reworking mode. The hardest part is getting started though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You're such a good multitasker! When it comes to the stories like that, I say why not finish them? Maybe let them rest on the back burner while you're working on other stories, but you should definitely go back to that project if your heart's in it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Some stories need time to ferment. I have many WIPs fermenting.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree with the fermenting idea. I call it marinating, but it's the same thing. Some need time. Some need forgetting. Deciding which is the hard job. Still if I dump a story, I often find bits of it in other stories I write. Maybe I was just practicing.

    Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some do take much more time than others. My latest will be something I wrote for Nano in 2008.

      Delete
  6. You have to work on what's calling to you. Your writing will be better off for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wendy, I start feeling guilty when the novel calls and it takes me a while to respond.

      Delete
  7. My main genre is mystery, however, I do write other genres and I debate what to do with them? I think I'm in the same boat as you on a couple of my books.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Allow it to ferment, marinate, soak...there will be a time for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time...that's the important word right there.

      Delete
  9. I've got a few projects that I've put on the backburner, but for good reason. I'm realizing they could really use some updating - for one - and the other is slowly becoming part of a collection - a novel with a few origins novellas. So I'd have to say that when I've let a project go, I let it go. But if it's been around for a while, I'll more than likely make my way back to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angela,
      I'm with you, as long as I can find the book, I'll be back with it at some point.

      Delete
  10. I definitely think if it's dear to your heart then there is a reason for that. I bet you can come up with a way to make it so the first novel works for you. You're so creative!

    I'm doing a final edit on one novel and starting another. We'll see how it goes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, there,
      You hit the nail on the head. Must be a reason it's been in my mind for a bit now.

      Hope your editing and writing goes well.

      Delete
  11. Depends on the project. I have one that I know can be good if I can figure out how to write it. It's still lounging in its current version. Others I pound on until they are done. Good luck. Almost everything I write is a genre stew.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol, I can identify with having a little bit of this and that mixed into each book.

      Delete
  12. I have a huge Junkyard to put things like this. I often stroll up and down the aisles, looking for parts and pieces I can plug and play into a current MS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like the imagery here, Stephen. Whatever works, I say.

      Delete
  13. I have quite a few novels sitting on my hard drive waiting to be completed. I really can't make a list. I simply work with the story that has the loudest characters in my head. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  14. I like my first story, but I'm not sure how to fix it. I've learned much about writing since then. Good luck figuring out what to do with your piece.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Theresa, I'm one of those writers who never abandons anything, not for long anyway.

      Delete
  15. I write what's on my heart. In 2009, I pulled up a manuscript from 2004 that had only 28 pages. It was on my heart at the time, so I finished it--in three months. Hope this helps. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like when a novel moves along at a brisk pace. It's exciting to write.

      Delete
  16. I have to work with the project whose characters are screaming in my head. Sometimes that means working on more than one project at a time. Technically, I have a 'list' to work from, but what really happens is that the loudest voices get my attention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephanie, it seems like a number of us write the project that's calling with the most energy.

      Delete
  17. I also have a lot of written books in various states, many of which languish on my hard drive. I have to feel passion about the book I'm working on. But I do have a production schedule in place. I've already moved it around a little since developing in at the beginning of the year. But some of these stories have been around for a long time (one is 11 years in the making--my first novel). Need to get them reader-ready and out there. Glad you're keeping yours in your heart and mind, J.L.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seems we're in the same position, Susan. I guess it will all get done in time. Love the cover of Superstitions.

      Delete
    2. I like the story on your heart - we can't always hide "reality" from kids.

      I have several unfinished stories. Sometimes, when I remember something (nonfiction) or I get new ideas (fiction) I find the stories and insert the new info.

      Delete
    3. Hi, Peaches,
      I find that right to the very end of editing a book, I'll pick up new ideas that can work for the story.

      Delete
  18. I'm dealing with something similar, I think, in that the story is close to me and is my first novel; I just started another version of it on June 1st for a writing challenge. My inclination is to keep working at it until it's "finished".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you get that done in good time.

      Delete
  19. I have a couple of project like this, but I'm putting them into action again. It's not easy to stay on top of everything, but I do try. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True that. Life does intervene, so it can be hard to give everything equal time.

      Delete

Don't be shy. I'd love to hear what you think.