I’ve been writing a children’s book for what seems like a million years. It’s my first book, or my first attempt at a book, at least. I’m painfully close to the end but I just can’t make it through that last stretch. However, the problem is worse than story-ending-itus. I fear the issue might be the parts that I’ve already written. Yep, it’s that terrible moment when you realise your ‘masterpiece’ is actually a bit of a mess. Not enough of a mess to chuck away but not little enough to shrug it off and continue. I’m in writing purgatory! I have to face my worst enemy once again; editing.
After numerous attempts at editing in the past and finding myself in the exact same position, I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong? Clearly, I don’t have the editing knack! I’ve got editing-blinders on, edit-slexia, edit-phobio, or some other editing-based disease (of which I’m sure there are hundreds). Unfortunately, they appear to be practically incurable, so here’s a few inventions I’d like to see made before I (digitally) tear up my whole book:
1. A Personal Writing Trainer
They’ll push me to bench press 50k (words), do all my (story) plan-ups and practice on the plot-trainer. I’ll be novel fit in no time and racing my way to the finish page. (You may have guessed I take my creative stress out with word play and puns…)
2. A Thoughts Jar
Although it doesn’t sound it, this is a highly technical gadget. It just saves your useful thoughts as you think them, helpfully downloads them onto your laptop/notepad and maybe even subtitles them or groups them into sections. Of course, there would be some worries about having your intimate thoughts flying freely through digital world (which I don’t really understand and am a little scared of) but it’d be worth missing those don’t-have-a-pen-to-write-down-my-amazing-idea moments.
3. Reader’s Glasses
‘This is already a thing!’ you may say. But, no no, what I mean is; glasses to see your book from the reader’s perspective. Some of it may be a little heartbreaking at first but I desperately want to know what reader’s would think too!
4. Real Critics
So, obviously these do exist but the are in short supply. As much as I adore my kind loved-ones praising my work, I also wish I could get a nice blunt, honest answer with a couple of suggestions and a pinch of opinion. However, both hopeful writers and the poor designated reader’s of the writers know how very difficult it is to get this right.
5. A Plot Tuner
You know how guitars have electric tuners? If not, you pop this little diggery on the top of your guitar, twang away and it will give you a positive ‘ding’ when you hit the right pitch. I would like that for my story planning but rather than panning between C and F# it would go through ‘delete the whole chapter’, ‘perfect – very Austen’ and ‘probably a bit OTT’.
6. A Deadline
Again, as you know, these exist. However, more than ever I just want a real deadline, a nagging teacher telling me to get to the next page and some kind of event or date to aim for. It sounds so simple but to really persuade yourself of the urgency of the deadline and stick to it can be near impossible.
7. A Time Machine
I know it’s a bit of a cliche but I have good reason for it, I promise! I’d like to pop back a few years and give ‘child me’ my first draft and see what she thinks. I’ve considered giving my book to an actual modern day child but… kids are mean!
I would probably also use the machine to check in with future me to see if all the hard work is worth it!