Writing Setbacks: How Do You Deal with Them?

June 7, 2011

Hmmm. I just found out that the whole foundation for my story, a love triangle, doesn’t work for the line I am gearing my book toward. This is something that isn’t in their writer’s guidelines, something I found out quite by accident and I’m weeks from finishing my first draft.

So what to do? Do I pitch my book to another line or publisher? Do I change my book (with no guarantees of publication of course) and submit it as planned to the original line?

As I scan through the pages I’ve written, I believe I can change it. Serious rewrites must begin today! I may not have a completed first draft before my fiftieth birthday in July as I’d planned, but if it takes me a few extra weeks I guess it doesn’t really matter. What good does it do to finish by my birthday if it will take longer to have a product to submit? (My second goal is to have the book ready to submit by Labor Day. I think I can still reach the second goal, and I think that’s what I’ll work toward now.)

This is the second challenge I’ve had with this book. Weeks ago, I wrote a post about cliches. I’d opened my book with my heroine and hero literally bumping into each other. I was about to enter a small contest online when an editor mentioned to be careful about opening with clichés and then…of course…she added “such as the hero and heroine meet by literally bumping into each other” as an example. I have to admit that I still like the original opening, but I went back and rewrote the opening and I love the new opening even more.

So, I’m going to go back and do some serious rewriting. I feel better now that I’ve worked this out right here with all of you. This is just a minor set back and in the end I’ll have a better story.

What would you do if this were your project? Scrap the whole thing and start over? Rewrite? Look for a new publisher who might not have a problem with love triangles? What kind of challenges have you come across in your writing? How have you handled them? Cheer me up. I need to hear your stories.



3 Responses to “Writing Setbacks: How Do You Deal with Them?”

  1. This is a big deal for me, Tari. I struggle with what I write, what I want to write and what a publisher/line is looking for me to write. It’s such a balancing act.

    I had a similar situation, and I decided to make the changes to fit the line, BUT I kept the origional document. My idea was to have two versions of the story, to push the version made line-friendly, and if that didn’t work, I’d shop around the origional. Now, I’d done all the writing and editing to the origional–it was complete, complete, complete before I even thought about altering it to fit a line. You might not want to do twice as much work if the origional isn’t fully edited already.

    I don’t know what to tell you other than to follow your heart. Talk about cliched. 🙂


  2. Tari Says:

    I’m going to do just what you said, keep the original, but do a rewrite to fit the line. It isn’t fully edited, so hey, could be worse. I could have finished, submitted, waited months for an answer and then found out!! This is a gift, finding out now!

  3. Joanne Robinson Says:

    I had a similar problem regarding the H/h and one still being married when the got together (Well, separated, but still…….) to find the published I wanted to pitch to had a big NO No on that. So I rewrote, because It was feasible, and still keep to the plot. It’s a difficult one, and I suspect there is no right or wrong answer.

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