If you've ever drafted a novel, you know that when you deliver it to your CPs' inboxes, it's like a card house - painstakingly planned, fretted over, each piece fitting into place perfectly. Stable, but intricate.
But what my CPs can see, that I can't possibly see, is that my novel isn't a house of cards. It's more like this:
This old farmhouse has a pretty solid foundation, and has the potential to be awesome if we tweaked a little here, cleared all the brush around it, replace the kitchen, add some additions, and build a sweet driveway next to it.
But before I can do all that to it, my CPs have to make some suggestions for change that pretty much amount to this:
Not gonna work for the house of cards.
But deep down I still see that novel as a house of cards. She's my baby, remember? I agonized over putting every piece of her into place. I saw her being built, but my CPs only saw her finished, with parts of her starting to look not-so-good.
So I try to make the changes my CPs suggest without the wrecking ball.
You can guess what happens. I usually end up with something like this:
I changed one little thing, moved around one little piece. I can pretend the whole thing's going to stand on its own, but inevitably the next round of CPs notice it for what it is: a wibbly-wobbly (but not timey-wimey, that's Jamie's book) proto-mess that won't last for long or maybe just doesn't make any sense as-is.
We all know it. They know it, and sometimes they try to pretend it's okay, but most of the time, they keep telling me my house is about ready to fall. Yeah, it hurts to hear it, because just look at that card house up there! It's MOSTLY fine. Who's going to notice?
Well, they tell me, everyone will. When it falls. Or worst, only I will when it doesn't sell.
So, that's where I am now.
It's hard, but I'm resolving to (try to) follow my CPs advice with the wrecking ball instead of just by moving cards around. I asked these people to read because I trust and respect every one of their opinions. FULLY.
Even when it's scary. Especially when it's scary.
And so, as my fingers hover over the "delete" button or the keyboard to write even more new stuff, I remember that those ladies saw a strong foundation, and some beautiful elements, and knew that even with a wrecking ball, the whole thing would turn out okay.
No. It would turn out way, way better.
(That's what Elias's house looks like, by the way. Movie room's down the hall on the left.)