Defenestrate. Verb. To throw something (technically, someone) out of a window.
Isn’t English marvelous? We have words like “defenestrate.” I didn’t know that was a word I needed until I learned it.
Words can do all kinds of nifty things. Teach you how to make Grandma’s special pie. Direct you from San Diego to Boston. Roll around inside your brain riding on a tune. Express your sixteen-year-old self’s undying love to your high school crush. (Albeit, not particularly well.)
Some crazy people use words tell a story. Like, with cool characters. And a coherent beginning, middle, and end. A plot that organically flows out of the decisions characters make.
<eyebrows twitch, hysteria sets in>
This evening was not an easy one in Writer Land. At least once a week, after the kids are in bed, we set aside our evening time for me to work on my book. After tonight, I’m ready to bash my head against the wall.
I am three drafts deep in the misery known as rough drafting. Most of them sit somewhere between 60,000 and 90,000 words. All of them have come to a screeching halt upon the transition from Act 2 to Act 3.
I really thought I had it this time. Draft 1 was an exercise in, “Wow, this is everything the book is NOT about but that’s okay because it’s only the first try. Go get ’em, kid.” Draft 2 was, “Somewhere in this <waves hand vaguely> direction is where we’re going. Okay. I can do this.”
Draft 3 took all the bones of 2, connected them together better and put some real meat on them! I mean, things were going pretty well. We had multiple plot threads beautifully woven together. A timeline that made sense. A cast of characters with some legit moments. I knew I had a structural issue but planned to address that after the rough draft was down.
Until I finished my session tonight. Staring into the great void that is Act 3, I realized my ending is broken. I was right about the structural issue, but wrong about the timing. It cannot be fixed in revision. It must be fixed now. I cannot press on because there is nothing in the story left. I have to stop, take what I have, and reorder probably 80%.
<shriek from the hydra scene in Disney’s Hercules.>
My brain tells me to be encouraged. This is the first draft I have had to halt not because the content was wrong, but because it was the right content in the wrong order.
My heart does not feel encouraged. Finding time to write around twins is killer. I could not do it without Josiah soloing a portion of many weekends and also giving up a night or two during the week. I feel like I am removing a mountain chisel strike by chisel strike, only to look up and realize I’m at the wrong mountain. Again.
I will press on. But I do want to remember this night for future me. Who will one day sit on the living room and cry happy, happy, tears as I open the box holding proof copies of my book.
My real, actual, traditionally published book that I have stayed up late for and cried for and studied for and typed furiously for and stared at the blinking bar for and want so badly I can feel an actual hunger for.
The book that will not be a one-off but the first in a lifetime of writing.
Those are the books my parents believed enough in to give me a writing mentorship education on top of regular school.
The books my husband believes enough in to help me find time to write it.
I want to hold that book for me. I want to hold it for them. I want them to hold it.
I really, really wish I could jump to that point. All I see now is yet another rough draft. And even if that’s the one, after it comes dozens of revision rounds. And then months of querying. Probably tens of dozens of rejection letters. This is such a long, long road.
Which is why when future me finally opens that box to pull out the book, I am going to soak the everloving carpet with tears.