I reread my full manuscript of I am Anna Winkler (all 205 pages) this week. I’ve never reread the whole thing from start to finish before. And I finished it way back last May! It’s pretty unusual for me to set a project aside THAT long…but I just didn’t know what to do with it. I knew it needed a complete overhaul, but there are several very different directions I could go. And I don’t know which direction is the right one. So…I’ve pretty much left it alone this whole time.
But now that my agent (she’s seen the first 50 pages of this) has expressed interest in seeing the whole thing (even though she knows it’s still very rough)…and I really do want to send it to her (I wouldn’t have admitted I have a complete draft if I wasn’t at least thinking about sending it to her)…I keep reminding myself I’m not sending it to her to submit; I’m sending it to her for advice. Still, I thought I’d better reread it first and see just how badly I’m going to embarrass myself.
It was interesting to read it after all this time. Some of it is…really bad! I mean, parts of it make me CRINGE (Did I actually allow a sixth grade teacher to read this whole thing out loud to her class last year??? Why didn’t any of them TELL me that some of it was THIS bad???). But…I found I’m still every bit as excited about the initial idea as I ever was. I still really want to make this story work! But even after reading it through I am no closer to figuring out how to do that than I was before. In fact, I’m probably even further away from figuring it out now. I’M SO CONFUSED!!!!
For the last few months, I had been thinking I need to start completely over with a whole new plot and end the story at the current halfway point. But in reading it through from start to finish, I’m not so sure about that. We find out “how it all happened” at the halfway point, but we don’t find out “WHY it all happened” until the end. Plus there’s a surprise at the end. So…maybe my current structure isn’t the problem? Maybe I should sit down with darcypattison‘s “Strategies for Re-Visioning Your Novel” workbook (which I got when I attended two of her fabulous retreats!) and see what’s working and what isn’t before I throw the whole thing away and start completely over?
And I think getting my agent’s opinion on what’s working and what’s not is probably good, too. As long as she’s willing to do that for me. (Wow!) So, I fixed all the little things and left all the big things so I can discuss them with her. Now all I have to do is print and mail. (The actual mailing is going to be the hardest part, I think…it’s hard to mail off something that I know I can improve…which probably explains why it takes me so long to mail anything…I can ALWAYS improve a manuscript!!!)