Editing, scrapping, rewriting the novel.

I’m staring at a blank computer screen right now. Well, not entirely blank. Each word I type is taking up a bit of the white space, filling it with the words that are echoing in my mind and being transposed onto the screen. But the words I want to write, NEED to write, are standing at the bottom of the hill, looking up at the mountain, trying to decide whether to climb or not…

I have a lot of SHOULDS on my plate right now, SHOULDS that I’ve placed there, SHOULDS that stand in my way of WANTS I’m too scared to bring to fruition. I should write a newsletter to my 78 fans. I should do the social media work for my writing club. I should do all the mundane things and get them out of the way so I can do what I WANT to be doing.

Which is revising my novel.

But if I do all the mundane stuff first to get it out of the way, I won’t have time for the WANTS. I know this. But because I’m scared to start the revision process, I am tempted to do all my SHOULDS, thus taking away the time for my WANTS.

Why am I scared?

I just got out of a story meeting with two dear friends I am entrusting as guides in my next novel. Months ago, I gave them the rough draft version of Come Here, Cupcake, believing it was in the most final stage I could get it. To me, it was near perfection. I knew there were a few spots that needed touching up. But for the most part, the story was exactly as I wanted it. So I handed it off to them, setting it free, and told them we would go over it in a few months.

Today was that day. January 1, the start of a brand new year and of new possibilities. This is the year I am dedicated to this new series, starting with the first book. I believe in this series so much, and am excited to make it happen. In our story meeting, however, holes in the storyline were revealed, and new ideas were brainstormed. While the story and the characters, as written, serve as a great starting point, it became painfully obvious that there is a lot more work to be done. A lot. As in, the book is about to be rewritten completely.


This, to me, is what is scary. I’m excited about a few new dimensions and layers that will be added to the story. But I’m scared about taking away from parts that are already written, possibly stripping out some of the original magic. I’m also scared that the story will deviate from MY story, and turn into someone else’s story. I’m scared that I’ve put all this work into the book already, and now I’m setting myself up to put even MORE work into it. And I’m scared that I won’t even be able to do the book justice, thus wasting my time completely. Honestly, I go through this every time I get close to finishing my novel. But I am scared that I’ve used up all my creativity, and this is the time it will be revealed that I’m just some HACK who’s already peaked with a few books that only reached a couple dozen people. I’m afraid that I’m a has been who never was, and will just be pouring my soul into a book that will go nowhere.

Okay, I know this is all pretty depressing stuff to read. It’s pretty depressing to write. But here’s where I stand – January 1, at the bottom of the hill, looking up at this gigantic mountain of work I’m setting myself up for, trying to muster up the courage to climb. But knowing that I will. Today. As soon as I hit publish on this blog entry.

So, on to my next blank screen, the one that seems so scary right now, but may seem completely beautiful in another month or two. The one that holds possibilities I’m not even certain of in this very moment. But that’s the beauty of a blank screen. It isn’t filled with SHOULDS. It isn’t even filled with WANTS. It’s just empty, waiting to become whatever it is I want it to become. Kind of like this New Year.


I think I’m ready. Here goes nothing.

6 thoughts on “Editing, scrapping, rewriting the novel.”

  1. Shelly Tennyson Taylor

    I feel your pain. I know in my heart I need to do an intensive rewrite on my completed manuscript, too. And yet, I am doing all the mundane stuff. Staying away from my writing. I am standing at the bottom of that hill with you. So, how about we throw away our fears (or lock them up) and climb that mountain? Good luck!

    1. It’s so scary! And exhilarating, lol! After staring at the screen for a good two hours (not exaggerating), I finally created a brand new layout for the first three chapters, then started writing. 2,000 words later, and I think I have a much stronger start. Yes, it’s depressing to think the 70,000 words I had previously aren’t as close to being the final draft as I thought. But if this means my book is going to be more intriguing, and much stronger, than this is a necessary pain to go through. Good luck to you in whatever you decide to do with your manuscript. Perhaps you can find a storyboard group, as well? It helps to find perspective other than your own, sometimes. 🙂

      1. Shelly Tennyson Taylor

        Yes, I have done some writer sharing. They love my secondary character and like my main character okay. I have do a rewrite that makes them love the main character as much a the secondary one. I am going to do that this year! Best of luck!!!

  2. Oh Crissi, thanks for being brave enough to share your process, including all the scary feelings that come up. I can relate to so much of what you’re saying. It’s great that your writer friends are honest with you and are pushing you to write a better story or tell it in a better way. Those are REAL friends. You are a fabulous writer. I loved the 3 books of yours that I read. Sometimes I find that it helps to have some recharge – to spend some time in nature, take a hot bath, go for a walk or do something to get away from everything and just re-boot one’s soul. Here’s to 2015 being a fabulously creative and productive year!

  3. Pingback: Come Here Cupcake, FINISHED! | Crissi Langwell ~ Author

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