I wrote a novel earlier this year called House of Ivy and Sorrow. I'm quite fond of it, as are my crit partners who've read it, but there has always been an...issue.
That's the thing with first drafts, of course. They can't be perfect. I'm well aware. But the thing about this issue was that it was pretty important to the book, and I knew I hadn't hit the notes I wanted to. I knew there was something missing. I knew that the biggest revisions would be surrounding this one thing.
Problem was, I didn't actually know how to FIX it.
I could have gone in there and tinkered around, edited it a few times to see if I got closer. This time I didn't do that. House of Ivy, seven months later, is still essentially a first draft. I've cleaned up about 50 pages of it, but that's all before the Big Stuff that needs to change more drastically. For the first time in like...okay, ever...I just let the project sit, having faith that it would reveal itself eventually.
And it did! This month I've been thinking a lot about the book. Not making notes. Not rereading. Just thinking about it, about the issue, about all the different ways to fix it. Time is an amazing thing, because the perfect solution has presented itself, one I'm sure I wouldn't have thought of seven months ago.
I used to be afraid of time. If I let a project sit, the opportunities would pass me by. Or I wouldn't like it much when I came back. Or my voice would have changed too much to keep working on it. Well, I was wrong. My voice and writing always improves, but that's a good thing, and bringing that extra skill to a manuscript never hurts. When I take the time a book needs, I've never been disappointed by the results. Only when I've rushed have I found myself cursing hindsight.
I am SO excited about House of Ivy and Sorrow, especially now that I have those puzzle pieces I felt were missing before. I feel like I won't be going into the revision blind. I feel like I finally know how to make this book what I wanted it to be. And I'm so very glad I waited for that spark of inspiration, even if it took longer than usual to find.