I made myself promise that I would not start Where Things Come Back until the first three chapters of my first completed novel were revised. It took far longer than I had initially anticipated.
I started this novel a very long time ago and while I didn't work on it everyday with school and everything I did work on it frequently. It had changed very much since its conception when I was about twelve.
In the fall of 2011 I finished writing it. All of the actual writing was done. It needed some revisions and I'd changed some things that needed to be back edited, etc. I was ecstatic. It was done. It was also far longer than it had any right to be. But this was shortly before NaNoWriMo started so I put it down and started something else for the month. After that I did some small work on it but nothing too major. I worked quite a bit on my other project but not too much on that one.
And then I realized that I had never read it all the way through. I edited it in chapters and had been working on it like that since. I set a day aside to read it. It was then that I started to see the problems. There was such a gap between when I started writing and when I finished that in some ways they barely seemed the same. The writing was different and what I had wanted to do was different. I couldn't just sit and read I was trying to fix things that I couldn't fix as easily as I wanted to.
I was frustrated because I wanted to start reading Where Things Come Back and I hadn't realized how much work needed to be done. I revised things and wasn't happy with them because I knew that wasn't what it needed. It took me excruciating weeks of rewriting to get something that was remotely okay.
After all of this work I realized something that I struggled with. I didn't need to revise or edit, I needed to rewrite and rewrite a lot of it. I changed and added so much later that the beginning and end were barely the same book.
After I came to this decision I remembered reading something on Beth Revis' blog where she said she learned that sometimes it was easier to rewrite than revise. I think that's true.
I'm not afraid of the work, however daunting it may be, I just need to organize what I want to do with it. But what I was afraid of, was the same thing happening to the other books I was working on. So I made a tough decision. I'm going to stop working on my long time project in favor of finishing the NaNoWriMo one. It's so close and all the same project right now. The other needs so much plotting that I'm going to hold off.
I haven't not been working on it in so long that I'm feeling a little lost. But I do think it's for the best. This had been a story I've been working on so long and covers so grand a plot that I'm determined to get it right and sometimes to do that you need to step back.
I still work on it a little. How I want to do something or what I want someone to say (especially in book two) still come to me sometimes so I jot them down but that's it. It's a struggle but I think it's best until I can sit down and rip the whole thing apart.
What do you loves think? Is it impossible to write a cohesive novel over a long span? Is it a bad idea to stop and take a step back? I'd love to hear from you.