It’s been five months since I last worked on my book. It feels like a year has passed. I had to do a lot of non-author stuff in that time. I moved back to Canada from Costa Rica (for a few years, at least). I got a new job, a new place, furnished it (because I had nothing), moved my husband and pets, and had to get licensed for my new job, which involved studying and passing three very difficult exams.
I’m finally set up for what I’ve always considered to be my dream job (besides being a famous author, of course!). Now I’m ready to get back into writing my latest book: a mystery thriller that takes place in Costa Rica, where I was living for the last five years.
I was pitching agents in March and April. Then I got a request for a full manuscript from a well-known agent, one I had a good feeling about. He got back to me a week later with enthusiasm over my book, great feedback, and a kind rejection. His rejection didn’t bother me at all because his feedback was what I’d been wanting for so long: professional insight.
He highlighted strengths of the story, some of which I was aware of, but he pointed out aspects that I hadn’t considered. Great! The criticisms, strangely, were what I was most excited over. They reflected my own doubts on the story, and they were more valuable to me for that reason. All I really want is to write good books and get better at writing. I was so elated when I read his long email, you would have thought that he had agreed to sign me on. I’m sure he was confused when I wrote him back the most cheerful and grateful thank you. I also got feedback from a beta reader, a popular content creator whom I respect very much, and she provided me with insightful pointers.
At that point, I had to take a break from my story to focus on matters outside of my fictional world as I was relocating and starting a new job. While I was busy doing real world things, my mind still worked in the background on fixing the story. Then, it happened. The big fixes became clear, and I was able to work out how I would execute the story. I doubt I could have found the solution had I not taken that hiatus from writing.
I have to re-write the whole thing, but the main character, her inner struggle, and the gist of the plot are still intact, so I’m not starting from scratch. It’ll be a tougher challenge to write while holding down a full-time job. Having less hours in a day to write requires way more discipline—and drive. So far I’ve got the general outline, enough to get me started. Then yesterday, I wrote the first two chapters. There’s no turning back now, I’m all in once again, one chapter at a time.