Writing the Wrong Book

Uncategorized, Writing Rambles

Okay, I know this can feel like a scary, touchy subject for writers to think about for long, but hear me out. I am *thisclose* to crossing the 25k word mark in this manuscript and I think it’s a fitting time to tell you that I wrote this book wrong at first. 

I wrote the whole thing. I revised it. I got feedback and it was nice, readers were enjoying it, they had thoughts, but ultimately nothing that was changing the way I was feeling about it which was…only okay. 

Here is the truth: We are never too good, smart or talented to write the wrong book first.

We might think we have to write it that way because on the surface it makes a whole lot of sense. Maybe we think it’s our brand, or we really WANT to write a certain kind of book because it’s something we like to read. Maybe we had an idea and we ran with it, but we were sprinting in the wrong direction for 70,000 words. 

And sometimes the book you wrote that was wrong, was good. Maybe even good enough. But not really truly YOU. 

The you component is what transforms a bunch of plot points into an unforgettable story. It’s what creates passion and unlocks imagination in a reader. It’s what actually makes the book “on brand” in the first place. 

I’m glad my agent could feel the lack of ME in the book and gently nudged me with her insight & great feedback toward the truth I wasn’t telling. Because the key to good story is getting to the honest truth. It’s dipping into the dark well inside you and finding the deep water hidden there. 

It’s okay to write the wrong book. And it sure feels good to bleed out the right one. 



Weekly reminder that I work with writers at all levels & stages! You can check out my creative services right here on my website. 🦄

NaNoWriMo Week Two at a Glance

Writing Rambles

So, the shiny, funny Tracey Neithercott posted this comment on my What’s Up Wednesday post yesterday:

Rebecca, here is how you finish:

1. Put on real-people clothes.
2. Leave the house.
3. Head to grocery store and/or back-alley sugar dealer.
4. Buy caramels.
5. Go home.
6. Write.

And it gave me an idea. Here, for you now — and because I’m avoiding my own NaNo project at the moment, hoping it will stop trying to eat my brain if I leave it alone for a minute— is what the end of the second week of NaNoWriMo looks like for some (me):

1. Wake up in the morning after tossing and turning most of the night because you should have written 4,237 words yesterday and you didn’t and you know you should have and so you couldn’t possibly let yourself feel OK about getting the sleep you need to actually write 4,237 words in a day since you didn’t. (Especially when you watched New Girl instead and drank too much non-celebratory champagne before bed. NOTE: In reality, this is probably why you couldn’t sleep.)

2. Make coffee. Check on young son, who is just waking up and looks cozy and miraculous. Lay down with him, thinking he’ll want to cuddle. He really just wants you to fix his Spiderman toy, make him breakfast, sing the ABC’s and explain why the seasons change. Glare at slow brewing coffee.

3. Once son is at school, have more coffee. Listen to inspirational music or watch LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, contemplating your life choices. You could have been a talk show host. You are a great talker. Why did you choose writing? Why do you torture yourself this way? Kelly Rippa probably never tried to write a novel in a month. Kelly Rippa has abs of steel and hair of silk. Make mental note to stop using food as a writing reward.

4. Drink more coffee, this time put in a shot of Bailey’s because it seems necessary and fitting.

5. Write panicky, manic email to CP about all the things in your WiP that scare you. Decide that you will never write another novel if you think it will have to be a series again, especially not another fantasy novel with tons of world building, a detailed plot, and murder. Realize after writing that sentence that sounds very boring indeed and that you want to write big, crazy novels that scare you.

6. Drink more coffee, with more Bailey’s, and then put on a coat and take a walk. (NOTE: You still haven’t written any words, but if you need to you can stay up all night. You can’t rush the muse.)

7. Read email response from CP who won’t let you jump off the ledge, who will hold your hand and guide you back, and who does know exactly what you are up against. She’s feeling the same thing. Every writer trying their hand at NaNo knows how you feel. You take to Twitter, where this is confirmed and together you all decide you will not be beaten, but prevail.

8. Play Eye of the Tiger or We are the Champions on Spotify at an earsplitting volume. Eat a caramel and drink some more coffee because who were you kidding that you weren’t going to use food as a reward?

9. Get down to work.

10. Look at clock — after getting less than 1000 words but being majorly in the groove — realize it’s time to get your son from school. The evening-time dance begins. The muse heads off to the bar, and you decide “Screw her, I’ll be back tonight, and we can share a pot of coffee while she sobers up to inspire again.”

11. Write forward, even when that means you don’t have a clue what the hieroglyphic symbols on your screen say, but the word count rises as does your formerly rock bottom self-esteem.

You have this. I have this. And even when you don’t and I don’t, somewhere out there is someone just like you who is on their seventh hour of staring at their computer screen hopelessly waiting for the muse to get back from her drinking binge.

Write anyway. Write often. Just keep writing.

For inspiration and giggles:

Onward, NaNoWarriors!


Uncategorized, Writing Rambles

Lady Writer

I’m doing this workshop with author Nova Ren Suma. If you don’t know her books yet, or haven’t found her blog, you can follow my links below. She is brilliant, as a writer, and supremely cool as a person.

Nova stuff:


Goodreads for her books Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone 

Twitter handle @novaren

Someone in the workshop, which is also full of talented budding writers, requested we share our specific writing process. I was formulating my response, and decided it would make a great blog post. Or, a decent one anyway.

The writing process is as subjective as reading can be. There is no ONE RIGHT WAY, just as there is no ONE RIGHT OPINION. By necessity, not desire, I am a very flexible writer. Which is why my process must be discussed in two parts.

New York:

We lived in Brooklyn for close to two years. I began writing my novel sometime in October of 2011. At that point I was writing during my son’s naps. I made my goal 1500 words a day. I usually achieved that, and if I didn’t, I tried to make up for it. (FYI this may have contributed to by first draft’s utter shittiness.) But I completed the first draft at 72,000 words in April of 2012. Then the revisions began, or the rewrites, or the slashings. Over the summer I got a college student friend of a very reliable friend to come keep my son five hours a day, three days a week. Then my son would nap, so I could write more.

That writing took place at a cafe. I wrote, tried to decipher the wonder of Twitter, and blogged, in the bustle. I have learned to tune everything out when writing. (Like, right now, my son is jumping up and down beside me on the couch. I DONT CARE.) Unfortunately, people in my life seem annoyed by my single-mindedness. I have a sibling who now thinks my only response to life-altering news is, “Umm-hmm, that’s interesting.” Followed by the tapping of keys.

We traveled a lot during our time in NYC. I wrote on airplanes, library’s, the obgyn. This meant that I also had to write through my exhaustion, or boredom, or desire to have some fun.


(Current writing process, most of the time. Only been this way four weeks.)

Monday, Wednesday, & Friday my son attends Montessori school. I write pretty much the entire time he is there. Sometimes, I make my dear husband go get him from school to eek out a few more minutes. I have a dedicated workspace that may be my favorite place in the world. I have written about it before on my blog here. It’s up a ladder on the thrid floor of our house which overlooks an exspanse of oak trees budding out for spring.

My productivity is shocking in this environment. My husband has recently asked me, (to my standard self-absorbed response) if make-up and showering had gone out the window in the light grand inspiration.

I can honestly say, though, that I consider each incarnation of my writing process to be worthwhile. Being able to write no matter where you are and what is going on is really important. Certain kinds of writing are better in certain places. Certain foods and drink can encourage certain words and emotions, just like music can. I drank moonshine once for character development. (Not reccommended.) But all forms, all processes, are valid.

I don’t plot. I spend a lot of time revising and mulling because of this. At this stage in revision I do plan scenes and subsequent scenes when a rewrite is in order. I do a lot of jotting, and going, “Yeah, that’s better. I don’t want to punch that scene in the groin anymore.”

To each his own.

So, what’s your process? If you care to share.