Saturday, April 9, 2016

My White Whale

I am wrestling with Courtly Pleasures (formerly known as Courtly Love) again. Why? Because I'm insane.

Also, it's current state of unpublishability (word?) makes me angry.

Courtly Love was the first manuscript I ever wrote. When I finished it, I was certain it was the BEST BOOK EVER! I expected immediate publication and to be lauded as author extraordinaire. I did get some positive feedback, but ultimately the book had some big problems.

1. It wasn't genre specific. It was too much of a romance to be historical fiction and too much historical fiction to be a romance. It was almost chick lit, but didn't delve deep enough to be a journey of discovery.

2. It was history lesson for era politics and costuming. All my readers told me that there was too much about the clothes but I dismissed them as not able to discern how really necessary that clothing description was to the story. By the way, it wasn't necessary.

3. Basic writing skills. The feedback told me I was too passive. I went through and search all "was" and came up with everything being good English. Nope. Reading it years later I found so many examples of "she was sitting at the table" and changed those to "she sat at the table." Little things that make the story faster paced.

4. It was more of a story about my female lead. We hardly ever saw the male lead and even then it wasn't enough to care about him. If it is romance, you need to fall in love with the guy a little. So I rewrote it once, and gave the male a bigger part, but then my female lead became unsympathetic. Damned if I do... you know the rest.

I am, yet again, tackling Courtly Pleasures. Why? Because I have Courtly Scandal and Courtly Abandon and really feel like they need to be a trio. In the rewrite (which is only a little bit Frankensteined from the original) the love story is central. Then I get frustrated with it and wonder if I should just own the chick lit nature of the book and make finding and accepting love thread secondary and re-brand. And then I think I need to go into unique faces of Queen Elizabeth's court and re-brand as historical fiction. And then I get mad at the whole thing and play World of Warcraft.

This book is holding me back on all the other projects. Having it left in limbo has hobbled me as a writer. Solution = get it done. Get it done now. 

My critique partner shakes her head whenever I bring it up, but it must happen. This is my Moby Dick and may well be the death of me.

Do you have any projects that you cannot shake?

1 comment:

Misha Gerrick said...

I do have a few, but I make an effort to go after every single idea I write, so it means I don't really have a big white whale to chase.

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