So I’m rounding the third and final rewrite for my YA crossover novel, Freedom Road–the book I thought would have been out many months ago. That’s right, third! I don’t mean that I’ve edited it and rewrote one or two chapters a few times. No, I have completely rewritten the entire novel three times. This final time, I even went as far as completely changing some of the characters and major plot points.
Why? Because it just wasn’t good enough. I knew something was wrong with the second rewrite when the last words were written, and instead of being excited, my stomach was a clenched fist. I didn’t feel good about it. Having soaked so much time and energy into the book, you can imagine this was not a welcome feeling. Deep down I knew what the problem with the story was, but jus t wasn’t ready to admit it. Because admitting the problem meant–of course–more major rewrites.
Fast forward to present day, and I absolutely love the novel. Love it! The voice, the story line, the characters are all how I wanted them to be from the beginning. My point is that I didn’t settle. I didn’t take that second draft and say, “Well, it’s not perfect, but good enough.”
Along the journey of my third rewrite, I remained positive. As a person who is harder on herself than the rest of the world, this was a surprise even to me. One day, I hit a road block in my writing and started doing what a lot of us writers do and let myself get distracted by the internet. I browed blogs and came across a post by, none other than, Joe Konrath. I forget the premise in the post, but as I scanned it, I read something that completely struck a chord. He said (I don’t have the exact quotes) that you should be willing to fight for every word you write. If you don’t love it, if you wouldn’t fight for it, then it shouldn’t be there. If you take that concept literally, it is a very strong sentiment. Of course, I went back to my manuscript and read the beginning, quickly deciding I would absolutely fight for every word. I loved it. It was with that in mind that I went on to finish the rest of the manuscript. It is with that sentiment in mind that I will write my other novels. So here’s the question. Would you fight for every word?