Writing is rewriting…and rewriting, and rewriting, and rewriting, and then waiting a while, and then rewriting again

The Year of the Book Deal is not off to a great start. I’m writing this from school where I am attempting to print the entire manuscript of my first novel, LUNCHBOX HERO, for free. But since I can only do that in 20 page incriments without alerting the server monitor I’ve got to find a way to kill the time so I thought I’d dust off this blog and say hi.

Within the last week I’ve received my first two rejection letters of the year. The first was for a short story and the resposne came within the advertised window of two weeks. I like that. The other was from a major literary agent who requested my novel manuscript after reading the sample chapters on my website. (Which is another thing I should mention. I’ve updated my website a bit and cleaned things up so have a looksee and maybe we can get that damn Tripod site to stop popping up in Google)

Anyway, the agent’s letter said he didn’t get as caught up in the story as he expected. I took that to mean generically that he just didn’t love the book which I have no problem with. I want an agent willing to go to the matresses with this thing. So I immediately went to work crafting a solid query letter and gripping one page synopsis to send out to a list of other agents I’ve been compiling. But something about that letter stuck with me. After writing what I think was a good synopsis I sent it to a friend for review. she confirmed my worst fear. My ending sucks ass. It’s not only a bad ending that doesn’t serve the story well but it’s just a flat out stupid ending. My hero spends the first half of the book obsessively chasing the woman he thinks killed his boss and childhood hero before she too is murdered. The hero then dinks around for the next half of the book before concluding brilliantly that the woman faked her own death to get away.

Yes, she faked her own death. I’m so very ashamed…

Worse yet, I knew this was a bad ending but was hoping I’d find an agent who would love the writing and characters so much that she would help me fix my Saturday Night Mystery Movie ending. I’ve been working on this novel since July 2001, I’m ready to be done with the bloody thing. BUt I also love this story and this character and think they are the best combination for me to launch a career from. Like it or not I’ve get to roll up my sleeves and dive back into this beast. The only redeeming feature of this rewrite is that it should be fairly short. In the past when I’ve had to fix problems the only way to do it was chuck the previous draft and start from scratch. Not this time. I believe I’ve laid the groundwork for a couple of decent, solid ending but I was writing this thing under a rapidly approaching contest deadline so when I saw the first thing that even remotely resembled an ending I chased after it like a horny teenage looking to win a virginity bet.

In retrospect I’m willing to admit that may not have been the best way to do it. But seriously, faking her death??!! What was I thinking?

The manuscript is almost printed and this will be the first time I’ve read it since I sent it off to Warner Books at the end of July. I’m just hoping the smell of it doesn’t kill me.

8 thoughts on “Writing is rewriting…and rewriting, and rewriting, and rewriting, and then waiting a while, and then rewriting again

  1. Yeah, but change the ending first!Seriously, it sounds like just a good think and some tweaking will get you a better book, espec if everything is solid up till that character’s murder. But now you have the fun of rereading the manuscript!

  2. I wouldn’t say that everything is solid right up until I reveal the murderer, there are still some areas that need to be tightened up but I dont think it needs any major structural overhauls or anything.

  3. A line from the first season of The X-Files jumps to mind, where Scully is suggesting that the guy they’re looking for may not actually be dead and haunting them or whatever, but faked his own death and is really still alive.”Do you know how hard it is to fake your own death?” Mulder replies. “It’s so difficult that only one man has ever managed it…Elvis.”

  4. You could put a twist on the cliche: this woman fakes her own death, but the turns up dead for real. Sort of string the reader along then hit ’em in the face with a frying pan.

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