Today I am editing a book that has monsters in it.
Ninety percent of what I write takes place in a fantasy world of some kind, so the presence of monsters is a given. Interestingly enough, this particular series doesn’t have any magic in it. It’s fantasy…without magic. I know. I was surprised, too.
I completed the first draft of this book several months ago, and at the time, I was quite proud of how everything turned out. There were scary monsters, people trapped underground with the scary monsters, and mysterious rescuers who showed up to save the characters who were still alive. The main character nearly died in a really dramatic way, and I was feeling pretty good about this draft.
But then something happened. It is a curious turn of the heart that occurs with all writers, all the time—you’ve probably had it happen to you.
When I went back to read certain parts of the draft, I discovered I didn’t actually like the way the book was written.
The story didn’t “sound” the same as the other books in the series. This is supposed to be book three, but it was like I forgot the style of the other books and tried to do something different with this one. So now I’m going to have to go back and massage the story until it sounds like its siblings.
Also, the beginning was a mess. It’s been a mess for a while, actually. I’ve tried to write the beginning multiple times, and only now is it starting to look the way I want it to.
We’re getting there. But slowly.
A writer’s ego is a slippery thing. It’s all over the place, shooting toward the sky in one moment and trying to hide under the bed in the next. It can change direction in a heartbeat. I might have been proud of this manuscript last year, and I’m still proud of it, but now I recognize that the manuscript is going to need some work. More work than I originally thought.
If you find yourself in the same boat—perhaps your beloved book is running off without you—keep in mind that it’s all part of the process. Being a writer is a great joy, but in most cases, it requires time. It’s possible that months will go by, and then one day you’ll realize, “Oh, snap. I’m going to need to edit this. Again.” That’s how writing works.
In the midst of everything, here’s the key: All this effort is worth it. Trust that God put this desire in you. This book or blog or whatever you’re working on is something He’s given you to do. So even when something takes a long, long time, you’re still winning.