This week, I am actually editing – and it feels good!
It’s been a summer of ups and downs for the novel, with an awful lot of thinking and talking but close to no doing, and it’s a bit of a relief to discover that my writing brain still seems to function. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s in top top condition – a fresh eye is proving a tremendous asset to what is now the fourth edit and I might just be making progress.
There was a moment at the weekend, though, when I thought the horse might have thrown me off for good…
Scrolling through my instagram feed, as you do on a lazy Sunday morning, I was stopped in my tracks by an image of my novel waiting to be read. Of course it wasn’t actually my novel – that would have involved mine being finished and, you know, published – but the title was the very one I’d chosen as I first worked on my manuscript, and the cover design did little to allay my concerns.
A few minutes of googling later and my worst fears were realised – someone had written my novel! And had it published! And sold loads of copies!
I emailed my agent, ready to accept her verdict that there was simply no point in continuing now that someone else had got there first. I’d done my research when I first began to work on the idea, and part of what excited me about it was there was nothing out there that even touched on the concept I’d come up with. But then that was two years ago – and a lot can happen in two years.
It turns out that I might have been over-reacting. Whilst the germ of the idea is the same, the direction this other novelist has taken it in is quite different. Crucially, it is in a different genre to the one I am hoping mine will inhabit – and interestingly reading it has shown into sharp relief the elements of my novel that jar in the genre it aspires to.
So I am beginning this fourth edit with renewed focus – not just where the over-arching direction of the novel is concerned, but also in my scrutiny of the words I’m using to bring my characters to life.
And with that in mind it’s time to get back on with today’s instalment…
Oh that must have been a sinking feeling, but then again, a lot of stories have similar themes, but written from another viewpoint and it shows that yours is marketable. I think it’s great you’re back in to the swing of things. I also had a great day editing this week and I felt so positive about it, so I know how you feel.
I can really imagine the stomach lurching feeling! I don’t know what your book is about but when you’ve hit on an unusual concept it must be a bit gutting when someone else gets there first. But then their book will be different from yours as you say and it sounds like yours is now going to be even better for it. Good luck with it all and see you on Saturday! xxx
How annoying someone had a similar idea and the book is out there! However now I know which book it is ; ) I have every confidence you don’t need to worry about it at all. Your genre will be different and your story will be very different. I’m also worrying the book I’m working on will appear written by someone else too! It’s a risk we take but each story is unique as is each writer.
Wow, heart-stopping moment! Glad it’s sufficiently different that it hasn’t thrown you off your game! X