Friday, August 31, 2018

How to Break Up With Your Book by Jaime Jo Wright

Jaime Jo Wright

We writers often become emotionally attached to our work—sometimes to the point of finding it difficult to let go, even when it’s in our best interest and that of the book’s. So, what do we do? Author Jaime Jo Wright just happens to have some great ideas. ~ Dawn


How to Break Up 
With Your Book

I went through a bad breakup a few years ago. It was the best decision of my life. I broke up with my novel. Ended it. I determined that while I still loved it, being in a relationship with it was not the wisest decision. Because I couldn’t see straight. My vision was blurry. And any criticism I received became super personal.

Criticism can be difficult to accept. Especially, when we are so in love with our work that it consumes us. Once, a critique partner hacked an entire chapter from my book. The remark came back with (moderate paraphrase): “this slows it down. It confuses me why it’s here. In fact, this is a completely pointless chapter.”

Ouch.

Or is it ouch? I needed relationship counseling. To make this novel be the best it can be, to strengthen it, to maximize on its potential, I need to be open to looking inside it and identifying its weakness.

This means three major implications:

1. Develop Relational Boundaries: My book does not define ME. When a critique partner, an agent, an editor, or, God forbid, my DAD, points out a flaw or an area of opportunity, it is not a reflection on me. No one is pointing past the book to me and shouting “YOU STINK!”. Most people tend to give honest feedback with the intent to help. That’s why it’s called “feedback”. They feed back to us information we can take, disseminate, and implement. All to create a novel that grows from its good foundation, to a better foundation.

2. Accept the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: In any relationship, there are aspects that are good, some that are bad, and some that are downright horrendous. There’s something in our novel that screams “FIX ME” and yet sometimes we can’t see it, but others can. Unfortunately, we often want to focus on our vision on the good and maybe some bad, but going to that ugly means scraping off the scabs and causing us to bleed. But it’s necessary. Like cutting that boring chapter that put my critique partner to sleep. Best. Surgical procedure. Ever.

3. Embrace Change: Change is important in any relationship. In the writing world, as you exercise your writing vocal chops, your writing will change. Change should be a welcome thing. When the editor asks you to change your heroine’s name, weigh it out on the scale of importance. Really. Is that name worth arguing over? When the critique partners suggest cutting several paragraphs of scene setting descriptors, ask yourself: will this change positively affect the outcome?

It's important to remember that breaking-up with your novel doesn’t mean you can’t get back together. Sometimes the best relationships are forged through adversity. J  Not to mention, sometimes the best perspectives are formed by looking from the outside in. Fresh eyes, new ideas, and critical thinking can take a good book and make it a great book.






For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and Midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant facade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she's wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she'll uncover.

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father's newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon's son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town—but it isn't until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they've waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it's too late and they lose their future—or their very souls.



Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher's Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited romantic suspense stained with the shadows of history. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy Tinkerbell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimejowright.com.

Connect with Jaime and learn more about her books here:

Web site: www.jaimejowright.com  




7 comments:

  1. Great word. Love the analogy of books as a person we're in relationship with that may or may not be working. Whether a paragraph, a scene or the whole darn thing. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Sometimes it truly DOES feel like a relationship. LOL

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  2. Oh, yes! I've had to break up with several books! But, I learned a lot from writing them - what worked and what didn't work.

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  3. Great wisdom, Jaime. I'm learning so much about this right now, as I'm new to a critique group. But I'm loving the feedback. It's making my novel so much better.

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    1. Critique groups are SO helpful!! Enjoy the feedback and learn and grow!

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  4. Love this! Fun approach. Gives a great perspective on getting needed distance from our work when taking necessary criticism. Thanks!

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