I started writing my first novel decades ago and have been 'driven' to re-write it several times over the years, since my libellous first draft. On the other hand, I wrote 'my second novel, my illustrated teen fiction book in a couple of months. A top London literary agent immediately offered to represent me, but unfortunately he retired before he had a chance to send it round to all the publishers.
I was seriously contemplating wallpapering my office walls with both manuscripts, when a net publisher saved my sanity by offering to sell both novels on the internet in e-book, paperback and hardback. I was so relieved I didn't have two dead novels in my closet, that I felt inspired to write yet another fresh draft of my new novel.
I've 'only' been working on my new book for four years now, and I'm still not happy with it. I originally had a different idea for the book, but when I stupidly told a writer friend the premise, he easily persuaded me it would be too ambitious and difficult for me to write. I should have believed in myelf. Like an idiot, I listened to him and was stupid enough to allow him to help edit my book, even though he wasn't a professional editor.
After I finished each chapter, I gave it to him to read and (don't ask me why), agreed with his ideas on how to re-work it. At the time, it was quite inspirational knowing I wasn't writing in a vacuum. It was also exciting having him 'edit' my book during it's work-in-progress, because he was so enthusiastic. When I (thought I had) finally finished the novel, I wasn't surprised he'd been so complimentary, for I realised the book wasn't mine, but due to his input, was his.
I impulsively tore up the four hundred odd pages and started my novel again from scratch, returning to my original idea. I'm confident I shall be writing for the rest of my life, for (besides my other projects) I would like to write the novel's sequels and prequels, 'Star War's' style, if I ever finish the book that is.
I should have learnt my lesson about not listening to people. A few years previously, I wrote a play which had a staged reading at a defunct 'prestigious' fringe theatre in London.
A casting director friend offered to cast it, and it seemed that every actor in London turned up to audition, some of them were well known too. There was so much positive response to the staged reading, that the Artistic Director of the fringe theatre, a Marxist student type offered me a second reading. She advised me how to re-write the play and I was stupid enough to listen to her. I rashly re-wrote it in a week.
There had been so much publicity by the time of my play's second staged reading (a tabloid showbiz editor friend got carried away and wrote in his column, that a famous movie actor had optioned to make a move of it), there was standing room only.
Another friend who had adored my first version offered to host an after play party at his house, but unfortunately, he and everyone else who had appreciated the first staged reading were horrified how I had ruined my play. And, all because I didn't believe in my work.
Copyright: Frances Lynn 2006
Frances Lynn is a professional writer and journalist. Her novels, "Frantic" and "Crushed" are published by Eiworth Publishing.