Thursday, January 18, 2007

Letting Go

Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use. ~ Earl Nightingale

I'm working through my contest entries and it occurred to me that one of them is a novel I wrote more than five years ago, and that the original idea and first scenes were written about 15 years ago! Geez... talk about letting is simmer.

I love the story. It's the reason I met a couple good writing friends (waves at C and D!) who were in the class I took with it. It's the first novel I completed as an adult (I wrote three as a teenager... I still have one of them and wonder what happened to the other two). It's a fun premise (if I may say so) and I've missed the characters.

A couple of days ago, Colleen Gleason wrote about letting your books go... when is it time to shelve them? The thought of giving up forever on one of my babies is hard. I keep thinking that, with enough time, effort and editing it will be publishable.

So, when do you decide your baby has to be put away for good, that it simply isn't saleable (is that a word?) and your time would be better served by starting something new? Are you able to simply consider it time well spent in learning the craft and set it aside?

I'm not at the point, because I haven't shopped this novel yet. But suppose a hundred agents/editors tell me that the book is simply not going to sell anywhere for whatever reason? Then what?

Charity has shelved several of her books (sadly for me cuz I want to read them all, over and over... esp. CC, C, though I'm still reading GGG - and enjoying it) so she's a pro. Speaking of Charity, check out the article she wrote at "Literary Mama" -- It's really great!


Allie Boniface said...

I've shopped 4 novels, none of which ultimately received any agent offers. So I shelved them: one for almost 3 years. That one I pulled out late last summer and did a major rehaul - it became Paradise, USA, the story picked up by Virtual Tales. The 4th one I shelved for a few months before deciding I didn't want to give up on it, and that became the one that Samhain is publishing. The 3rd one I'm currently revising to submit again, this time to Samhain 'cause now I have a foot in the door, and the 2nd (Summer) I haven't looked at for almost 3 years and yet I want to try and revise that one for submission this year too.

Incidentally, in currently revising, it's easier for me to see now the problems that exist with those earlier stories.

While I do think it's a good idea to shelve a book for a while if it hasn't gotten the response that you want, I wouldn't ever just give up on a story entirely. I'd think there's always something worth salvaging.

Charity said...

Oh, thanks so much for the mention. I appreciate it.

Tori Lennox said...

Oh, I have a bunch that will probably never see the light of day, but I keep haning on to them anyway. Some day I might figure out what to do with them. Of course, some of them were written before I got slammed by a multitude of health problems and are actually better written, IMO, than how I write now. *sigh*

ivhoyo - invisible vulcans have opal yaks outside