Friday, March 19, 2010

Get That Weak Stuff Outta Here!

I'm sharing an excerpt from a draft of my novel last January (early 2009) that went out to agents. I only sent a few queries out (to test the waters...gah! My book was not ready) and was offered representation, but the agent wanted me to change some aspects about my book that I felt very strongly about. It was a hard decision back then, but now I'm so glad I held strong to changes that I felt would make my book something different than it was. I have an amazing agent now and felt no regrets after I declined my first offer of representation (and a few more after if you can believe it...what was I thinking!?).

However, before I sent my book out to new agents, I made some major revisions in the book (see this post). I'm a bit embarrassed about this first version because Kate, my main character, is nothing like the girl she is now. In the first version, she was weak and let herself be pushed around by her boyfriend. She turned ignored things that were wrong and allowed herself to be treated like dirt. She wasn't what I wanted a girl character to be like, and I realized that when I worked on revisions all summer.

Kate is now strong, sure of herself and an individual. She makes poor choices in my book, but she isn't a weak person. I love her now and have no idea who the wimpy girl in my early excerpt below was...

I would like to think that we all have those moments.

Those times when you want to believe everything is good, everything is pure and all intentions are true.

You feel safe, secure, maybe even loved, and you want to think this moment is going to last.

That you are a part of something that can only get better.

With everything that was going on in my life; I wanted to think that Jack and I were still good, that I could still count on him.

That’s why I ignored what happened between Jack and I.

That’s why I went to school the next day, found him near his locker and walked to his class with him like everything was the same.

That’s why when Jack didn’t bring up the parties again, I didn’t even and when he told me he was busy Saturday night, I nodded and let him be busy without me.

That’s why when Jack started becoming more busy during the week and soon on the weekends,

I told him I understood.

That’s why I didn’t ask why he wasn’t inviting me to be busy with him.

That’s why I stopped asking Jack things.

That’s why I took the questions that I had rattling around in my head, keeping me up at night, and pushed them down deeper, letting them get lost with all my fears about Brett.

I

felt

Jack

slipping

a

w

a

y

so I didn’t try to push Jack, I didn’t try to demand things or ask things. I tiptoed around him on glass slippers, careful not to crack through the ice that was our relationship.

There were times when I wanted to say more, times when it would be fair to ask why he turned when I saw him coming down the hallway at school or why I heard people talking about a party he was at, when he had told me he was at home obeying the curfew my dad enforced. I wanted to ask him what was going on, because I knew something was going on, but maybe that something wasn’t what I wanted to know about, so as messed up as it sounded, it was easier to ignore things, to pretend the bad feelings I were having were nothing.

What about you? Have you included things in your book that you later look back and wonder why you did that?

3 comments:

Kristan said...

Definitely have! Sometimes you write things in the heat of the moment, or you think they're genius at the time, and it takes a little bit of distance (physical and temporal) to realize that it's not working the way you want it to. Which doesn't mean it sucks, necessarily. Just that it's not right.

I can definitely see the difference between more recent excerpts you've posted and this one. I did love this line, though:

"careful not to crack through the ice that was our relationship"

Christina Lee said...

Oh definitely!!!! I actually look back at my very first WIP and wonder who in the hell wrote it--LOL!!
I like the whole
a
w
a
y
thing :)

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh, I love the way you write. Even if this was an early draft, it's beautiful.

And yes, our characters/scenes/plots change dramatically from revision to revision. It's amazing, isn't it?