Backseat Writers

Over the weekend, DH and I got to talking about my current projects.  I explained to him my logic for developing my readership over at Pots and Plots in order to eventually have a good platform to launch the first of the Edible Enchantments series, which does, of course, mean that I have to plot out and write said book concurrently with my current werewolf project.  Hubby looked askance at that and called me on my habit of chasing sexy next book and never finishing anything, which annoyed me, but okay, fair call.  So I elaborated on how I’d be working on both, but that HiS would be taking priority, that I’d have to finish my daily words on that before working on EE.

Somehow or other the conversation turned to Houses of Cards/Ashes and Wine/The Book That Has No Decent Title, which Hubby accused me of abandoning, which I did after I “butchered it”.  He maintained that he liked it fine the way it was.  So did his mother, his aunt, and a whole slough of other family members whose support I appreciate but whose opinions regarding the fitness of a book for publication I do not trust whole-heartedly.  The problems that riddled that book were myriad, and the changes that I was making were going to make it a tighter, more effective plot.  Albeit one that bears only a passing resemblance to the original book.  Then Hubby came out with the fact that the rewrite was “going to suck because [I] moved it to Mississippi and everything about Mississippi sucks and is boring.”  (I feel compelled to point out that the location of the book had absolutely zero bearing on the plot, and he’s just mad that I moved it out of the mountains, which is where he would prefer we live).

Well, given that he has not read the 200 odd pages I got written on the rewrite (which I did not abandon, by the way–I got stuck on how to fix a major problem with the plot.  I have since figured it out, but I am determined to take a break from that particular hamster wheel of writing/revision for a while), I got mad.

I know that the changes I’m making are going to make this a better book.  I know that adding the local flavor of a place I know and on many levels love is going to add depth to the book.  I know that the finished last draft of the book meandered all over creation, with all sorts of tangential crap that needs to be ruthlessly cut.  I know a helluva lot more about my genre and the publishing industry than he does.  So I resent the hell out of him being pissy and mad because I’m changing my book from a version he happened to like just fine. 

I am a writer, damn it. I know what I’m doing.

As I knew perfectly well he wasn’t about to listen to a word I had to say on the subject regarding market trends, “rules” of the genre, and the state of publishing, I kept my mouth shut.  Throwing a hissy fit in the car would hardly have been productive.  But it irritated me.  Most of the time, he’s very supportive of my work.  He’s excited by this new turn into the land o’ werewolves and has seemed to enjoy kicking around ideas for worldbuilding and the lore for the story.  But having him pop up and think he knows more than I do about a genre he doesn’t read or the quality necessary to get published was seriously not cool.

Do you ever have anybody do that?  Someone who really doesn’t know squat just pop up and try to direct you or advise you?  It’s rude.

And damn him if he hasn’t gotten me curious enough to want to go back and reread both the old finished draft and what I had of the rewrite.  I do not have time for this right now.  It’s not like I expect to see some nugget of gold.  There were holes in that book big enough to drive a Mack truck through.  But it’s been a year and a half since I looked at it, and I confess, I’m curious whether it’s as bad as I remember.  I read through the first chapter, and I think it probably was.  There were good parts probably, but far too many conflicting styles and at least two competing stories in there.

No.  No.  I’m going to stick with the project I’m working on.  I’m going to finish it.  I just have to find my voice again.

2 thoughts on “Backseat Writers

  1. I have to say, the “abandoning the current project to work on/fantasize about sexy new project” fits me perfectly. It’s a hard thing to change!

    1. Personally I think the occurrence of new ideas and concepts for “sexy next book” is probably a sign of a healthy and nurtured muse. Can you imagine where we’d be WITHOUT the lure of those new ideas? But still, I guess it’s the sign of the professional or serious writer who’s able to make note of it somehow, put it aside, and come back to it after the current project is finished.

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