Five years ago, I participated in National Novel Writing Month with a shade of an idea. The idea grew, developing a life of it’s own and though I ended up with some of the story I envisioned, much of it grew and developed on its own. Characters became real people. Homes and walks and descriptions were vivid in my mind. Words flew out of me (some good…some not so good). And when the dust cleared after 30 days, I had put the entire idea on paper. It was done.
Well, not entirely. After I finished writing, I read. Then I put it away. I put it away for a long time. I loved my idea, but I wasn’t sure I had the heart to do what needed to be done. I needed to look at the book not as the author, but as a reader. I wasn’t sure I could do it. Could I cut out an entire character, who I’d invested a lot of time and energy into, because she didn’t ultimately add to the plot? Could I add in new characters who could further the plot? Could I learn to show, and not tell, my readers? Could I trust them to get the point without me beating them over the head with it?
So I hide the book. I pulled it out every once in awhile, reading and making minor, and sometimes more major edits. Every once in awhile I’d get a rush of energy and do a major edit and find friends or colleagues willing to read and critique my work. And then the energy would dwindle and I’d put it back on the shelf again.
In 2011 I had a major push, primarily from my mother and my husband, that prompted me to hire an editor and have a substantive edit done on the book. She returned the book in two weeks.
I let it sit for six months. I paid her for her honest opinions, thoughts, and edits. But did I really have the heart to read them? I decided that until I did, I couldn’t publish the book anyway. Because if I couldn’t hear the feedback I paid for, there was no way I could hear the feedback of real readers.
So I waited. Time passed. And eventually, I detached a little bit from my book and my characters. I was able to read my editor’s comments without taking them personally. I made some really phenomenal changes that did nothing but improve my book. I enlisted more test readers. I had another edit. I had more test readers.
And then, lo and behold, I published my book.
It only took five years.
You can find Scattered on amazon for your kindle or in paperback. I hope you love it as much as I do.