Editing is going slow, I’m not going to lie. It’s hard to move, it’s hard to end relationships, and none of what I’ve gone through in the past few weeks is conducive to a peaceful, imaginative, motivated, creative headspace.
I feel like editing wouldn’t be so hard if I were editing to CUT things out of my manuscript. I’m in a mood where I could just kill anything and everything most of the time. Unfortunately, the feedback I’ve been getting on The Neverland Wars is that it doesn’t have ENOUGH action, there’s too little tension, and the drama just isn’t there. While folks seem to like my energy, it sounds like the story’s energy is lacking. I always thought editing meant throwing away what didn’t work…the idea that I have to go through and put my writing-hat on again to invent new material and sew in the bits and pieces that are missing from the manuscript seems strange and daunting.
Fortunately, my personal life has left me feeling pretty numb, so I’m not all that upset about having to kill my darlings and rewrite chunks of the story to make it a more action-driven plot. I didn’t realize this when I wrote it, but there’s a contemporary YA novel inside of this Twisted Fairytale YA that is struggling to get out. If the writing were better, I’d say I tried to tuck a literary coming of age story into my Peter Pan novel.
The big issue is really with the opening, which is kind of the worst place to have a big issue since it’s hard enough to keep people focused and reading when they first open a book and have no attachment to it. In retrospect, starting my novel in the middle of a boring math lecture was probably second only to starting it when Gwen woke up that morning or something. At the time, I thought there would be no better place to establish tone and YA viewpoint. What’s more universal than being stuck in class? My number one pet peeve with YA books is that they so, so rarely seem to capture what it’s like to be a teenager. I almost never read YA while I was in high school, because the books always struck me as being written by someone who hadn’t been 16 in at least a hundred and fifty years.
I guess that’s not what the average agent/editor/reader is looking for though, so it’s back to the drawing board. You’d think I’d be better at this by now.