My writing journey has been a lot like this picture here. I see the light at the end of tunnel, but is it 1 mile away? 10 miles? 100 feet? Perhaps it’s just an illusion, a break in the trees, and it doesn’t actually end at all.
So, I rewrote Chains of Destiny. The biggest part of the rewrite was changing it from a portal fantasy (something I love) to a high concept one (which is foreign to me). Ultimately, portal fantasy wasn’t the right path to go with this. The story turned out better this way, but I found myself in a rather awkward situation. I was so focused on making the story better that I didn’t even realize I had fallen out of my element.
When your brain nags you about something constantly (like telling me I’ve never written a high fantasy before and probably didn’t know what I was doing), you should listen because there might be some truth in there somewhere. I can write a high fantasy, of course, I can. I know how it works. But The Hobbit is the only high fantasy book I think I’ve ever read. I’m sure I don’t remember everything I’ve ever read, but searching through my brain, the next closest thing I can find to a high fantasy is The Chronicles of Narnia, which is a portal fantasy. And I read wide. WIDE. Outside of hard science fiction (like Star Wars kind of stuff), I’ve read the entire scope from picture books to adult, including graphic novels & manga. And there’s only one high fantasy in my memory bank, except for a couple of stories that I’ve critiqued, and those don’t count. And it’s like, why am I writing a high fantasy when I don’t even read them? And that had me seriously thrown. I know I get attached to my characters sometimes, but I’ve never invested in a story I’m not sure I would even read myself. Watch, yes, but read? I really don’t know.
I have a post about the benefit of having multiple story ideas coming up in a week or two, but I want to note here: the more ideas you have, the more choices you have. When you have no choices, you take the first interesting, workable thing you get your hands on. All fantasy is not created equal.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love this story. I love the characters. I would have thrown this story out if I didn’t, because I struggled quite a bit with it. And not the normal struggling of, “is this any good? I can’t think of anything to say!! does this make any sense? why isn’t this working?” This story was a headache to write. It took twice as long and it was wall after wall after wall, where there shouldn’t have been walls. Walls because my characters weren’t talking to me. Walls because when I needed help, I was all alone because my characters just sat there looking up at me, waiting for me to tell them what to do with their little mouths hanging open.
And honestly, I’m not used to that. Maybe I sound crazy right now, but I’m used to everyone being in my ear constantly. I’m used to them telling me what to do. I’m used to having to cut them off when I interview them because I don’t want to have to reread 5 pages of notes. I’m used to MCs and villains, and side characters and henchmen who will help me out when I get stuck and want to pull my hair out and cry because I don’t know what to do (even if they’re just patting me on the back and saying “there, there”).
So, needless to say, this was weird.
But I learned some very important things with this story:
1) Never EVER write a story with characters who won’t talk to me in the interview process again.
2) Never EVER ever write a story with a passive MC again.
3) The story may be interesting, but that doesn’t mean I need to write it. (Or rewrite it.)
And here I stand. Wondering what to do with this information. The news isn’t really good or bad. I sent some queries out. Got go nowhere again. Yes, the rejections hurt at first. I wallowed pretty hard after the first few. But I went from a melodramatic, “I hope I never send anything out ever again!!!” to “Well…maybe one more time won’t kill me” in about 3 days. Usually it lasts several weeks, so this was something to be excited about. The thing about rejection is that I have two choices. I can get mad, depressed, and fall apart or I can accept it and move on. Accept the fact that unless I want to publish this story myself, it probably won’t ever see the light of day. Acceptance is the hardest part.
It hurt to realize that if no one wants to takes a chance on this story like I did, that this will be the end of the line for this story. Because it’s out of my element, I honestly have no idea what to do with it on my own. I’m probably going to have to take the sequel idea and strip it down and give it to someone else. The thought made me cry, but I’m at peace about it. And I have to listen to that.
This is about the time I would send out another round queries. Honestly, though, I’m okay not sending out any more. And while I’m being honest, I’m not sure what the best thing to do here is because I’ve never been in this situation before. The only things I don’t like about this story is Reagan’s quiet passiveness and the high fantastical element. Which are things I can’t change without rewriting it again. This was a pretty good experience. I did things I never been before. Finished my first real overhaul. And I stretched muscles I haven’t used since my high school days. I don’t regret the time I spent with it at all. I just don’t know where to go with it from here except call it a day for now and move on to the next one.
Anyway, that’s my news. Not sure if it makes sense. This has been one of the hardest posts for me to write. I’m not sure if I’m gong to make an effort to see these characters again or not, and this story also has the second best villain that’s ever crossed my path. This is making it very hard to make a final decision. But I’m glad it’s hard. I rather be torn at the thought of leaving it behind then gladly walking away from it.
In the meantime, while the fate of this story is still somewhat in the air, I’m throwing myself into a new project. More deets on that next week!! I can’t wait to share them. ^_^