give up and start something else, or keep plugging?

So, I finally got up the nerve to start reading through my FINALLY FINISHED second draft of Nine Days, and it blows. I need some input from other writers who have been in this situation. If you have, and would not mind offering some sage advice to a noob, I'd really appreciate a comment or two on my situation (see details at http://www.minervakoenig.com/2011/07/page-89.html).

Thanks -- MK

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Personally, I have given up on a novel and started with a new concept, but four years of work is an awfully long time to put into a novel unless it is a thousand page epic.  I would guess that you are being a perfectionist and just need an objective eye to look at it.  Find a friend, or better yet, pay an editor to read your book.  Get their feedback and decide what to do from there.

 

 

I've had three people read the draft -- two very good friends and my spouse. The spouse and one of the friends both gave it a thumbs-up; second friend hasn't reported in yet.

It's definitely NOT a thousand-page epic. The four years weren't full-time years, but I agree, that's a lot of time to throw down the drain.

If anybody knows a good editor who'd be willing to read this thing, please send me the particulars!

Thanks -- MK.

Minerva, I posted a reply on your site, and it awaits your approval. 

 

I've been in your situation and, in fact, am right there right now with a novel I wrote last year.  I think confronting revision is what's holding me back, and I'm wondering if you and I are in that same space? 

 

Please hang in there 'cause I think we can move past this point.

Love the picture on your site.

I couldn't find any details on what was wrong, but clearly you need input from an objective reader. Meanwhile, keep notes of what you would change yourself, and start another book.

Thanks, I.J. -- Most comments are suggesting the same thing, get an objective reader. Short of paying an editor, as Stuart suggests, how do you guys do this? I do have an idea for a new book, but I'm feeling discouraged. Hopefully it'll pass -- M.

I must agree...get a beta reader that is a writer. Readers read but cannot put a finger on why they like or dislike scenes or novels. Writers when doing a beta read, read with a writer's eye. The writer can see the weaknesses and strength in the various tools we use to construct a gripping tale.

 

I also think that starting a new project is a big positive. First, you get to have fun creating new characters, building new settings and constructing a new story. Second, the more you write, the better you get at writing. Third, it creates distance from the current project - left to sit for weeks or months reveals all the good, the bad and the ugly in that project when you return.

 

My last comment is to pick up a novel where the author's voice is similar to your writer's voice. Compare structure, sentence organization, dialogue, sentence length, usage of similes and metaphors, etc in that volume to your work. When you analyze another writer's work that is similar to yours, the tools you need to improve stand out.

 

Bob

My first two novels are so bad I'm grateful they weren't published. My third was just released. EvilJ's advice to let it rest is spot on. Let it chill for a couple of weeks, then give it a fresh look. I used a program called Textanz (I'm sure there are several like it, and I'm not plugging it) that gives you a spreadsheet of every word you use and the frequency you used it. I was shocked at the number of times I used certain words. I also used the word processing program to help me identify passive sentences (don't believe everything it identifies!) Clean it up. Polish it, then look for an objective reader. You might try a local book club, or join one of the online writer's clubs. I wouldn't ask my wife to be a beta reader... I want her to spare my feelings! Good luck. Don't quit. Dave

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