Every Book Idea I Never Finished
A pivotal skill to being an author is knowing when to quit. You could end up investing hours, days or even months on an idea that just isn't flowing without this skill. Thankfully I know it well!
Following on from my article about all the rejections I have received, I thought it was also important to share that dealing with rejections isn’t the only part of the process. Another part of the process is knowing when to quit and as many rejections as I have had, I have also had a lot of half-baked manuscripts that never got finished for one reason or another. Most of them, I believe are good ideas, but I believe, sometimes, I am just not the right person to write them. There is a fine line though. With every book I have written, I have wanted to quit at some point. The trick is knowing when you want to quit because you have lost sight of the words you are writing, and when to quit because it just isn’t working anymore. For me, it’s always been a feeling in my gut that has never steered me wrong.
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Through Thick and Thin
This was the first book idea where I quit. Prior to this, I had received two rejections - one full manuscript and one proposal, so I tried my hand at fiction. It was my literary agent’s suggestion as she thought I could convey the same message as the two non-fiction rejections but with a narrative behind it. This was going to be a book that explored female friendship and how body image can affect the relationships around you. It was going to be the story of Ren and Lily and how one being bigger and one being smaller can really mess with your perceptions of the world. Lily was going to be disabled as a way to incorporate some of my own experience growing up in and out of hospital and I thought it would add to the story the idea that whilst Lily couldn’t relate to Ren in terms of body size, she had her own set of insecurities. Each chapter was going to alternate perspectives so you could see it from both Ren's and Lily’s side. Ren was going to be a rising star as the first social media chef. Here’s a glimpse of my notes.
I will admit, I was hugely insecure about writing fiction. The idea driving it was that female friendship breakups weren’t spoken about enough. I loved this idea but writing fiction for the first time brought out every insecurity that arose in English class. I couldn’t get the past voices of English teachers out of my head and that not only made it difficult, but an unpleasant writing experience. This book still sits at 10,000 words and the reason why I stopped at that point was because I realised if I wasn’t enjoying the process, then why was I doing it? I accepted that I might never get another book deal, but I would rather that than publish a fiction book that I hated writing.