“I Loved It From Chapter 8”

So, remember how last time on the blog I was feeling “nostalgic” and “zen”?? And, remember in the blog post before that, I was so close to finishing my fourth book, So Far Into You?
My feeling of zen lasted about a week, until my Beta readers started sending me their feedback for the book I’d just finished.
You see, I was so sure I’d wave that book into the world of Beta readers… and welcome their glowing feedback as it flooded back in lucious waves of WOW, WOW, WOW!!
Or not, as it turned out.
It wasn’t that my Beta partners didn’t like my book, they just didn’t love it. They didn’t get my hero… they didn’t particularly like him. They didn’t like the start.
Some of the comments were:

  • Gina has to go. (Gulp. Gina was the opening scene).
  • Seth is too nasty. We have to like your hero too.
  • I loved it from Chapter 8.
  • The ending is rushed.
  • The antagonist rolls over too quickly.
  • Something worse has to happen at the end.
  • I want another scene with Seth and Remy at the start.
  • We love Remy. (Everybody loves Remy).

So I cursed the world for about 24 hours, and then I re-read all the gold they’d sent me, and thought about how right they were.
So, with my very best pair of slash/hack editing scissors, I lopped off Gina’s head, and started again.
One of the hardest things I find is to get good distance from my writing. Because I know the story inside and out, and I know what my characters are feeling and why they do what they do, it gets very easy to not take readers with me… to make leaps and jumps that feel like they’re perfectly reasonable, while readers who don’t know the story are left floundering in a world of: “WTF just happened there?”
So tonight, I’ve finished this book AGAIN. Four years, three weeks and one day in gestation. I don’t know how much more of this pregnancy I can take!

6 thoughts on ““I Loved It From Chapter 8””

  1. I’ve done EXACTLY the same thing, Lily, with my book. Last week, I posted a blog about how I’m on the downhill run with my novel. I’d had it appraised, sent it to beta-readers, and then found someone offering a free appraisal—well, I couldn’t turn that down, especially when I learned of her credentials. So I got my hopes up and I was hoping for, ‘Yes, it’s ready to send …’ After 12 drafts, that’s what I was ready for. Nope! Back to the drawing board—deleting scenes, fleshing others out. She had 332 comments! Yes, 332! As a first-timer, I took them all on board because, quite frankly, I still don’t know what I’m doing. And as I’ve been going through them, trying to work out if all of those 332 comments have validity, I’ve realised most of them resonate, and very few I’m discarding outright. And the thing is, I’m going to end up with a much better novel at the end of it. So, my Final Draft wasn’t my final draft. But I’m hoping my Final Final Draft will be. And if not, then my Final Final Final Draft will be. 🙂

    1. Absolutely. I’ve been reading your blog posts and they resonate with me all the way… I really don’t think I can look at this darn thing much longer though, I have to say. Just when I think it must be there… I realise it really isn’t. BUT like you, I do think I’ve got to be close. I’ve just got to be! 🙂 Thanks for visiting. My place isn’t as nice as your attic, but it’s home… 😉

  2. Yep I know that feeling all too well – you think you’ve written the best-seller, and then your CP’s comments come back… Deep breath and keep reminding yourself its all for the best!

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