It’s time. Time to accept that no matter how many iron-on patches and crazyglue fixes I try with my first novel, it’s over. This edit isn’t happening. Yeah, I’m halfway through. Sure, I’ve hit the 200 page mark. Woohoo.
It sucks. End of story. My ears bleed when I read the text aloud. The writing barely feels like it’s mine. I don’t really care about the story, the characters are flat and noncommittal, the action without actual peril, the setting half-assed. I can fix all these things. But not if I’m stuck in the framework of the original novel. It is time not to revise, but to rewrite.
I’m making a list right now. On the list go all the things I like about the original text. These are things I’ll keep. I might end up with a wholly different novel than I had before. I don’t know. I’m going to keep the basics of the plot, the setting, and most of the characters. I can rebuild it, better, faster, stronger.
If I can’t write a whole new novel, then I don’t belong writing novels. This is going to be a lot more work than ironing on patches and debugging the original. I think I’ll be lucky if I’m done by July (my tentative goal). I want the novel to feel like I wrote it though. I want to write characters I’m interested in, and I want the time to find their voices, to weave their cares and conflicts into the story.
It also means that my other two novels are going on the back burner. I think this is good. They can percolate in my head for a while longer.