Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Learning Curve: A Guest Post by Kristen Strassel

I just reached THE END of my fourth book. It’s mind-boggling to think about.  Finishing this particular manuscript also closed the door on this series.  I’m actually mourning not being able to work with these characters anymore. They became such a huge part of my writing identity, as well as who I am, to not be able to live my writing life through their story is going to be just plain strange for a while. 

A writer friend of mine just nabbed an agent. While this isn’t his first book, this is the first one that just might get published.  Now he’s waiting anxiously for revisions. We chatted a bit about it last night, and I realized that the decision to publish really changed the way I wrote.

Once you want to make your book available for the world to love as much as you do, you really do have to let go. For many of us, representation means the first set of industry eyes that will look at our manuscript. I thought my first book, the one that I was offered representation on, was perfect when I got The Call. You can laugh, I’ll wait. Several rounds of revisions later, I learned how to write subsequent manuscripts tighter and more effectively. My later books haven’t needed as many revisions because of it. 

The book I just finished was the first one I started writing with the knowledge that it would be published. It intimidated the hell out of me. As I finished it, feedback started coming in on the first two books in the series. To hear how these characters effected people, and to know what they thought of the story, was extremely humbling even with good reviews. As much as we all say we write fiction, it’s hard to keep some autobiographical elements from sneaking in. I was much more aware of the rules I broke, and the how people might react to this new chapter of the story.  My main character had a major decision to make to close out the book. Would she do the right thing, the thing many readers might hate, or would she screw it all up? Were those all the same thing? I had to let my main character do what was best for her. 

In this series, many of my parameters were set by the first book. I already started working on a new book, and it’s exciting.  This new project already has all the benefits of the things I learned while writing this last series. No book is ever perfect, but thanks to books one through four, book five starts light years ahead of where I used to be. 

Want more of Kristen? You can check out her book, BECAUSE THE NIGHT, right over here and follow her on Twitter for extra awesome! 

We're going on our annual holiday break, but no worries, we'll be back with more awesome than ever on January 6th. Have a great holiday, everyone!

1 secret replies:

  1. wow fourth book! You go girl! I've learned from my first novel that I had much more to learn. I'm still learning! Can't wait to hear more.