In the role of a publisher (and while I dream of also being a published fiction author) I often talk to people about and wonder myself - "what next?". "I have a manuscript that needs work. It has had its share of rejection letters and so on. What next? Do I start a new one or re-write this one."
The answer is never particularly clear (and I often have to remind myself as well), but I follow this sort of thinking.
First what am I writing this for?
What do you want? Do you have passion for that book? Do you feel inspired, it could help people etc? What is your vision for the book?
Secondly what is wrong with my current book? Is it
• Show don’t tell
• Point of view
Thirdly - would I made the same mistakes if I did a new book?
To answer these questions here is some "advice" I wrote and I am applying to myself. I wonder if it resonates with anyone else?
Each of these things can be worked on. If you start a new book without first learning to develop those areas of concern you may very well make the same mistakes. Very often the first writing project one writes is never published, but sometimes it is. Either way when you get an appraisal or a rejection letter it is an opportunity to learn from it and develop your writing further anyway. Whether or not it means that first book ever gets published in some ways doesn’t matter at the outset. I know it may feel like it is your baby, but it is your skill you are learning. Each appraisal or edit you get may look like it is destroying your style or voice, but generally editors, appraisers and publishers do know a little bit about what they are talking about. You may find that there are some things you don’t agree with – that is fine! But I find most authors accept 80% approx. of their suggested edits; they are designed to help you improve.
So rewriting a book or starting a new one is always going to be up to you. BUT the issues you are learning don’t matter what book you write. There is often nothing wrong with your concept or plot, just knowing how to write doesn’t happen overnight. Even established authors find they are still learning!
So when we get a no on a writing project or we are told our first book could have been better we can keep on keeping on. By learning, practicing and realising our motivation we can continue on the projects that matter AND make them outstanding writing.
No matter what, meeting other authors and connecting on places like blogs facebook and other social networks may be a good way to learn too. Either way to make it as an author find the right people to support and learn from. Today I am off to The Word Writers Fair in Adelaide. I look forward to learning something new too. ;)