Friday, August 24, 2012

August Theme: The Art of Letting Go...or Not

by Stephanie J. Blake

I've been working for almost five years (off and on) on this funny middle grade novel. It's gone through numerous revisions and numerous plot and character changes, (not to mention it has snagged the attention of three agents). It's got heart and humor and a splash of magical realism. The plot starts perfectly. The middle definitely does not sag, but, darn it, something still is not right starting with the climax! Don't get me started on the rushed ending. And for the life of me, I can't figure out what is missing. Two agents couldn't help me figure it out, either, and I suspect it is time to walk away from the story altogether.

Here's the problem. I am in love my main character. She's so spunky, so real, so tortured, so flawed. She deserves a happy ending.

Of course, I've done some other writing over the years. I mean I sold a different book and all. It's not like I've been slaving away on this one manuscript this whole time. I have half a dozen abandoned novels on my computer, a couple of them are actually over 40,000 words and have complete outlines and character bibles. I have six or seven really original ideas for novels in my notebook. I even wrote one very bad picture book and actually had the guts to share it with my agent.

I lie awake at night thinking of how to "fix" the plot. I've come up with ideas while I'm pulling weeds. I've jotted things down while I'm waiting for my son to finish up at baseball practice. I have sat up in bed and thought, "Eureka!" But nothing seems to work.

It's time for me to put this manuscript under the bed.

And I'll probably have to take some time to figure out my next move, which honestly will probably be planning my book launch and booking school visits and appearances in 2013.

I have to turn off that little voice inside me that whines, "But, what about your option book?"

I'll have to learn the art of letting go.


  1. Well said, Stephanie. It takes courage to walk away from something that has such a big piece of your heart, and who knows? That perfect climactic idea just might hit when you least expect it.

  2. We grow with every novel we write...By writing a completely different book, you may very well grow as a writer in a way that helps you figure out the climax of your much-loved WIP!