Friday, January 20, 2012

I'm Going to Rewrite Sacred Fire. Again.

I had marked a dayon my calendar to start submitting query letters. On that very day, I decided my novel about the Vestal VirginsSacred Fire – needs to be rewritten.


For those of you new to this blog, here’s a recap: I started writing Sacred Fire June 2007 and didn’t finish it until around June 2010. After an insufficient amount of editing, I foolishly sent it to 112 agents on November 2010. Only one of them requested a partial. Ouch. So I got some very talented betas and revised it twice. I went to a writer’s conference where I got two requests from agents, and one of them said no.

Getting this far has been a long, arduous process. It’s gotten to the point where the word “done” seems like a magical place that’s impossible to reach. I thought I was “done” and ready to get agents and become famous already. But here’s the problem:

No matter how much I've improved my book, it has one fatal flaw. I've been aware of this flaw for years, and all my betas have metioned it, but I didn't know how to fix it. (I'll talk more about this fatal flaw in my next post.)

I poured much thought into the flaw, but eventually I gave it up as a lost cause. I thought my novel was still good, so I should send out the book and hope for the best.

My genius writing mentor (every writer should get one of these) insisted that it wasn’t impossible to fix. She harped on me repeatedly, but I just didn’t see how it was possible. Then, on the day I was going to start querying again… it “clicked.”

I thought I’d be devastated that I have to rewrite my book yet again when I was already revved up to get an agent, but I’m not. I’m actually kind of excited. Like I said, this is a problem I’ve been dealing with for years, and it made me feel helpless. Now I think I might be able to make this book what I wanted it to be all along.

I don’t know how long this process will take. The change could be major. Last time I revised this book, it took a year.

Both last November and this one I sent my novel to my dream agent. I think it would be amusing if I sent it to her for the third time next November. I could say, “Hello, remember me? Happy anniversary.”

There are only a few things about this that disappoint me:

1.      Once again, I have to put my other two books – Hunger and Fierce – on hold. I already miss them!
2.      I spent so much time marketing this book and building a social network, and apparently, it was premature.
3.      I combed through the manuscript for typos, and I have to do it again once I’m done with this revision. I hate copyediting.

Yet looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. All the social networking I did has been for my good, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the wonderful friends I’ve made online. I greatly improved as a writer when I wrote Hunger and Fierce and I wouldn’t be able to fix Sacred Fire without having written those books. Sometimes, you just need a clean slate instead of rehashing old mistakes.

I still can't believe I'm going to do this. It hasn't quite sunk in!


  1. Ugh...sorry to hear that you are at this point.

    BUT--you are such a talented writer, and Tuccia has an amazing story to tell. Because of your dedication, I know that you will find success with this story.

  2. So cool that you've figured out a way around a tragic flaw.

    And, you have plenty of time to get famous...fortunately, since, in writing (unlike reality TV) it takes plenty of time to do so.

  3. I love it when things click. Too bad you have to rewrite it, but it sounds like it's going to be awesome. I think my first novel would be better if I rewrote it, because I've learned so much since I first started it. Good Luck on the rewrite!

  4. Maybe it isn't really a flaw in your book after all. Sometimes an anomaly just needs to be acknowledged; real life is filled with little pieces that don't usually fit together nicely. Whatever is troubling you about your manuscript could actually be turned into a strength.

  5. I actually really love line-editing. I'm a freak like that.

    And I totally get what you mean about the excitement you feel, even though you have to do so much work. I'm feeling it just thinking about how you're feeling it!

  6. Sometimes as writers we need to take a step back in order to get farther than we were before.

    I admire your decision. I really do. Though it's been a long process, you've come far and I'm sure these changes and time spent will be worth it in the end. :)


    The Red Angel Blog

  7. Good luck. You've already taken the first, and possibly hardest, step, which is to dive in with a positive attitude. Writing the best possible book is the most important thing, regardless of how long it takes.

  8. Thanks, guys! This was a tough decision to make, so it's wonderful to have support and encouragement!


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