Even though I'm away on holiday right now, I still wanted to take part in Kyra Lennon's If I Let You Go "Letting Go" Bloghop, so I've scheduled this post.
Here's what Kyra has to say about the bloghop:
I invite you to share some stories about letting go. Was there a time when you had to let go of someone or something? How did it make you feel? How did you handle it? Or if that's too personal - which I completely understand - how about writing a piece of flash fiction?
The only rules are - obviously - it has to be related to letting go, and please keep it to a maximum of 500 words.
When the day arrives, I will hop around to all the entries, along with my independent judge (otherwise known as "Mum" LOL), and the story that touches us the most will win a $10 Amazon gift card!
For my story about letting go, I thought I do something a little different. While I have experienced personal loss, the stories are either too personal to share or I was too young to remember the impact it had on me.
Instead, I've chosen to write about the type of letting go I think all authors have experienced - letting go of a novel.
We've all got one (or two, or three) stories, which at the time we thought we great, they might have been 'the one' - the story that would see us through to publication - but then we came to realise they weren't and we have to let go of these stories.
I have two such stories, both of which were born during NaNoWriMo. My first NaNo novel, Destiny's Road - written in 2012 - was a swords and sorcery fantasy, set in a fictional world where the Fae existed, people had magical powers, and the King and his line had just been assassinated. At the time I was in love with the characters, and story and thought it was going to be something huge. Even after NaNo, I felt confident that though it needed some work, I could knock it into shape. Then I started seeing the depth of what was wrong with the story, how lacking in direction it was, and realised it would need a lot of work. I also realised I was being too ambitious for my first piece of original fiction. I was trying to be the next George RR Martin or Patrick Rothfuss, when really I should have been focusing on being the first - and only - Clare Dugmore. After almost 70k words, I realised it was time to 'let go' of Destiny's Road. I wasn't ready to write that story yet. I've since come to realise, I might not be ready to write that story every, but that perhaps, in the future, my Destiny's Road characters and ideas can come back in another form.
The second story I've had to let go is one long-time followers of my blog will know about - my contemporary fantasy, starring triplet protagonists - Sibylline Nights.
Sibylline Nights was born during NaNo '11, and was actually the second time I'd attempted to tell a version of this story about witch triplets - the first version never getting more than 5k. This time around, things were going to be different. I plotted and planned more. I had character sheets; I had elaborate backstory and world building. I even wrote 26 posts on Sibylline Nights for the A-Z blogging challenge. I felt like I was writing what I knew, while still pushing myself. I really, honestly, thought Sibylline Nights was 'the one'. I knew it needed work, and revisions and edits, but I thought I could stick at it, and make it perfect. I completed the story at almost 106k words, and revised almost 50k of that with help of critique partners. I was also entering contests with the characters from Sibylline Nights and receiving great feedback about the voice. But, by the time I'd revised chapters 1-30, my feet were getting itchy and Camp NaNo was rolling around. I decided to take a break from Sibylline Nights and start a new story. I had every intention of going back toSibylline Nights once I'd written a first rough draft of my Camp NaNo 2012 paranormal romance Cupid. But, somewhere along the lines of writing Cupid and getting feedback on the early chapters, I started to see all the flaws of Sibylline Nights. While it has some fantastic elements and amazing characters, the plot needs streamlining and I really need to tighten and focus the narrative. I also came to realise that though I adore fantasy, my real love - and where I'm stronger as a writer - is romance. Cupid has allowed me to blend the two. So now I've shelved Sibylline Nights - though I hope to, one day, when I've improved as a writer, go back to it, as write it as the story it deserves to be.
So there you have it, the two times in my writing life where I've let go. And you know what? I feel better for it. Even the experience of writing about letting go has been immensely cathartic. I know both Destiny's Road and Sibylline Nights won't be shelved forever, one day I can resurrect them and allow them to be the books they were meant to be. But for now, I trust my instincts, know my strengths and weaknesses, and have let go of my babies.