Countdown to rewrite: 39 days
I love my characters, and my book. I was so proud of myself when I finished the 4th draft. After ten years of Octras, Tsira, Shenra, and Jake tugging on my mind and making me write their story, I was thrilled to finally have a copy that I considered good enough to send to agents. So I wrote and rewrote queries and a synopsis to send to the agents I'd researched, and... I did get a partial request.
But there was something about it that bothered me. I just didn't know what it was, or how to fix it.
I persisted anyway. So thrilled about my endeavors, I shared it with two extra people, people I expected would love it as much as I did, as much as my writing groups and critiquers did. Unfortunately, they didn't--and I didn't understand why. Yes, I was angry. I was angry that someone said I was treating them like my pets instead of like people. I was angry that they said it was cliche, and therefore obvious and boring. I was especially angry when they compared it to Twilight. Those things were so, so wrong. And yet... that feeling in the back of my head told me that they were right about a lot of other things. A lot of other things. The letters had been harsh, but... right.
I'd explained things to my writing groups, explained backstory and motivations that had no real context in the book. I now quote myself, in my response: "After hearing from you two, I've realized that many of the things I know and love about my characters are not conveyed well in my writing. I have a difficult time translating things from my head into voice (or in this case, writing) without leaving out a lot of the meaning. I think I just got excited about having finished a draft and jumped too early into other things when the book still has a lot of room to grow. Even when I was finished, there were a lot of things that I was unhappy with but wasn't sure how to change."
And so I set about the quest of rewriting my novel. I have now written down exactly who each character is and what they represent. I have fleshed out a character who was more of a 'presence' in the last draft. And I've begun work on the scenes that will change more dramatically from the way they were. The real work--the actual rewrite, will take place starting June 1st.
The countdown begins now.