Yesterday I received an email from someone who wrote: "I miss Virginia Kate. I wish the second book was already out...."
Do you know what this feels like? To have someone actually miss your character? These are the kinds of comments that make me want to grin and cry all at the same time. That and "I couldn't put it down," or "I didn't want it to end."
Which is why yesterday, I highlighted and deleted 30,000 words from VKBook2 -- that's a lotta words, friends. But, they were not our Virginia Kate's words. Writer, get out of the way. So, I got out of the way. But, 30,000 words! Oh Geez, get crackin, Kat.
See, I love Virginia Kate, too - and I want her to have her own voice. When you all pick up VKBook2 and read, I want it to BE Virginia kate again; I don't want you to be disappointed. I don't want book2 to be second rate to book 1. It must feel seamless, as if you just kept reading from book 1 into book 2 without hardly taking a breath. That's what I want - and it is worth the "sacrifice" of taking out those 30,000 words and going from where that LINE I told you all about is to forward. That free feeling tells me I did the right thing, as I also have said.
30,000 words - think about it.
But what I want to stress here to you who write is: There are ALWAYS MORE WORDS! Don't be afraid to write crap *laughing* -- what I mean is, write it all down, write write write, because later you can cut and paste and cut and not paste and put in and take out and rearrange and etc etc etc! There are always more words! You won't dry up! Don't be afraid to take chances with words and language!
When I wrote that original manuscript, and then split it in half, I never knew what would stay and what would go, what would change in the original half that would affect the second half. You have to just trust the process. You have to trust yourself. You have to trust your character's journey. You have to be FEARLESS sometimes!
You have to be able to delete sometimes. And you have to know there are always more words. Maybe I am being too simplistic. Maybe for some writers it comes more naturally, more "easily" -- maybe you are thinking: It would take me months and months to get 30,000 words! Okay, I understand this. Every person is different, every writer different - every journey different. Take from this what fits you. I never tell writers: "You aren't a writer if you....." I hate it when writers do that....as if there is a club and you have to have secret passwords, or special handshakes, or certain credentials to join this club. We're all lovers of books and words and language. We all have our own journey to take how we will take it. What separates success from "not success" is the ability to Keep Going. No matter what: you keep going. Do you think I'm not terrified? Even with a book out I am terrified sometimes....but, I love what I do. I love books, language, words, my characters, the feeling of someone out there reading my words....I put aside that fear and just plow forward.
But what I want you to take from this is sometimes you have to be fearless. Sometimes you just have to do what is best for your Character's Journey. Sometimes you have to quiet that voice that says, "But what if I don't have anything else to say?" You will always have something to say. If you feel as if you do not, it is because you are self-editing yourself, you are getting in your own way. Yes, somtimes being fearless and just vomiting out words will mean more work....but better more work than to present something to the world that isn't your best.
Maybe when book2 comes out, people will still love book1 better - maybe not - I can't predict that. But, when book2 is completed, I will know that I was true to Virginia Kate and her journey. At the cost of thousands of words....but new thousands of words will come and they will be Virginia Kate's voice...not some shadow of her.
If you delete delete delete - you can always retrieve it by pasting it somewhere else - just try it and see if by deleting something it makes you feel "Free" to create or if it does not.
Now, go be fearless! In whatever you do. Trust your instincts. Do what feels right to you.