So, you write something. And it’s your baby. They’re your words, it’s your story, your world, and everything makes complete and utter sense in your head. It couldn’t be clearer if you tried. So you save it and go on your merry way. A few months later, you come back to it, read it, edit it, and think that it’s still pretty damn awesome. Everything makes sense, and there’s no reason that it shouldn’t be on the NYTimes Bestseller List. In fact, it would be a crime for it to not be.
And then you start letting people see it. Quietly, you’re jumping up and down and shouting with glee in your head because you know, just know that they’re going to love it, want to read the rest of it, and then dedicate their lives to the cause of making sure your book is known. That’s how freaking awesome it is. They read the first few pages, and then they turn to you.
That’s when you see it. The faintest glimmer in their eye, the one that says they’re about to tell you something you’re almost certain you don’t want to hear. That glee inside you starts to fade. Then they start to speak and every word is like a spear through your chest. You smile, thank them, and head home, all shriveled up inside.
A couple of days pass. “No!” you tell yourself. “Things are great! That’s just one person! They didn’t know what they were talking about!”
But for the sake of argument, you go back to it. You rewrite the beginning, because you can only make it awesomer.
Yet, as you write, those words come creeping back into your head. Oh, they’re not negative comments for the most part. They’re observations, they’re ‘well, this could be better’, they’re ‘well, does the story start here or not?’
That’s when you realize: they’re right.
The goddamn story doesn’t start where you’ve been starting it for the past two years.
And you know what? Without the help of fresh eyes, I’d never get to that point. I’ve been sitting here, staring at Burning Eden for ages. It doesn’t start with his father dying. It doesn’t start with him being disfigured. Nope. They’re interesting things that happened to him, that influenced him, and which can certainly be used as backstory during the actual story, but it’s not where it starts.
Am I happy with this knowledge? Not totally. Starting somewhere totally new means revamping the way it’s told. On the other hand, I really do think that it will tell the story better than the first goaround.
Moral of this particular story: other people rock.