This post is different than my other posts. Here I am just pouring out my current feelings because I am really frustrated with my fantasy novel, Masked. I wrote this book and its sequel during NaNoWriMo in November. I took about two weeks off before I started editing. The beginning of my edits went relatively smooth–or perhaps I should say comparatively smooth. I am currently on the bumpy road part of editing and let me tell you, it sucks. So I am going to give this edit one more week. If I don’t like it at the end of the week and still feel like it’s going nowhere, then I will put this draft aside for the time being.
I’m unbelievably frustrated with it. I feel like the writing is crap. I keep rewriting scenes with little improvement. I discovered one of the big mysteries of the book was obvious from the beginning. I cannot tell which scenes belong in the story or not. I’m not even sure how to give it the direction or feeling I want. I’ve lost the main character’s voice. It reads more like a middle grade book than young adult, and it’s been a constant fight to bring the character’s voice to YA level. I love my characters, but right now I just hate my draft. It makes me really sad too because I’ve had this idea and these character for a long time, and I really wanted to make them shine. This draft came out better than my previous draft of this book (I did an entire rewrite from scratch without referencing the original), but I still feel like it’s so far behind where it needs to be. And I kept telling myself that the second book was better. Until I actually went through and reread the second book, and it’s really not that much better. I know editing is the magic I need to improve it and more scene rewrites, but I’m just so frustrated with it now. Too close to the work maybe? I’ve been taking a week-long break every few weeks, but I think I need more space from it.
Recently, I started writing a new fantasy novel, and I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the writing phase of it and it’s new, but I just feel like it’s so much better than Masked. The writing comes to me more naturally, and rereading what I’ve written actually makes me excited, rather than cringe. It’s actually coming across as young adult (maybe even adult fantasy. Hard to say, but definitely not middle grade.) So I am thinking maybe, if editing Masked isn’t right for the time, that I should focus my attention on this new story, get that polished up first. I just think forcing myself to work on a draft that my heart’s not in might end up hurting me and the draft. I want to be excited about what I’m working on, dedicated to improving it. Not upset and frustrated and filled with such a whirlwind of blinding emotions. I feel like I can’t even see my story right now.
So what do you think? Does it sound like I need to set this draft aside? I feel like time and space might be what’s needed. That way I can return to it later with fresh eyes, and maybe after writing this other fantasy novel, I’ll have a better feel for how to get the voice down. Any advice to offer on getting over writing blues? Maybe some hugs? (Also will accept hot chocolate, tea, and cuddly dragons.)