With great opportunities come big headaches. After many months with no real movement on the submission front, my hard-working agent has hooked me up with Cool Editor at Big Name Publisher. It’s not a sale, and perhaps never will be, hence the pseudonymous references, but it’s an opportunity.
The Cool Editor loves Axyl. Who doesn’t? Well, plenty of editors didn’t fall in love with him, but Cool Editor, being cooler than most, did. Problem: she didn’t exactly fall in love with the story.
So I’m in revisions. I have some rough notes from Editor and Agent, and a pile of random ideas of my own. From that, I am supposed to be building an outline of the proposed revisions. I am, always have been, and likely always will be, an inveterate pantser. I don’t outline. I’m not sure if I’m capable of outlining in the strictest sense.
Oh, I can write an outline, but the problem is, I have to write the story first. So in essence, I’m doing a rough draft of the revisions, from which I will then craft an outline, which may or may not be exactly what Ms. Cool Editor is looking for.
The real obstacle, though, has been taking a story that’s already written, one I’d pretty much seen as “done,” and re-writing it. Not just editing it, but having to say, “You know, what, that’s not what really happened. Here’s what really happened.” Because that’s how my brain works. After a story is written, it becomes True in my head. My brain is in revolt over the notion that X, Y, and Z are no longer facts within the story. I must crush out the old Truth and supplant it with a new one. What Axyl does in Chapter 20 is irrelevant if Chapter 20 is deleted. It won’t change how he sees the world in Chapter 30, because it never happened.
This is hard. It feels like trying to write a novel on the wings of gnats, one word per wing, two words per gnat. After using a very fine marker to ink the words on, I set the gnat free to swarm with his mates and thus my new story grows.
First step: catch a gnat.