I started shaking the other day. It took me the entire day to calm down. I even started crying once–tears of overwhelmed terror.
Don’t worry. I’m over it now.
Thanmir War has been with me for half my lifetime. It has been *the* story I’ve toiled endlessly over, dreamt about, stewed on, and built upon for the past fifteen years. It’s the one story I want to be super proud of.
I’m the type to analyze things, so when a good friend told me that she couldn’t finish the last 50 pages of Thanmir War and just skimmed to find out what happened, my heart seized a little. Where had I gone wrong? How had I lost her interest? What turned her off?
I’ve mentioned I hired an editor. Well, I really like her. I emailed her asking what she thought. Perhaps there was a drop in the tension? Did I need to tighten things more?
To my utter horror, she agreed. The story lost momentum in the latter half. But she offered suggestions as to how to correct it. Suggestions 1 and 3 were fairly simple. Create a brief introduction to explain the world background and terminology (thereby lessening confusion), and address the main character’s (Derek) identity in the latter part of the story.
I talked to my friend the day after receiving the suggestions, and she agreed that she didn’t like Derek so much after chapter 31. After looking at it again, I realized that much of his personality was left over from first draft…back when my beta readers told me they absolutely hated him. Definitely needed to be changed.
What spurred me into a panic attack was suggestion #2. There’s a plot aspect that’s introduced in chapter 23 (out of 35). She suggested removing it. This has a bit (a lot) of a trickle effect, requiring revisions throughout the remaining chapters. And it also changes the main character.
Yeah, I freaked.
I even went through the five stages of grief.
Stage 1 (Denial): You’re kidding, right?
Stage 2 (Anger): It’s my story! He’s my character!
Stage 3 (Bargaining): Maybe I could just tweak it a little?
Stage 4 (Depression): It’s too much. I can’t do it. What’s the point? My story is crap. My book will fail.
Stage 5 (Acceptance): Well, let’s give it a try and see if the outcome is better.
I’m in chapter 32 of my Thanmir War rewrites. And I’m going to probably scrap a good chunk of what I’ve written for Isto, just because this certain aspect no longer applies. It won’t be too hard to adapt for future books, and may even fix a few plot problems in Sovereign. *sigh*
Have you ever had to face one of those panic moments? How did you react?