Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When Is It Time to Let Go?

I am completely honored to host Cherie Marks at Tattered Pages today, who brings us a post about Letting Go. I think we've all been there at one time or another. She's also hosting a give-away for a free e-book of Into the Fire, her latest release from The Wild Rose Press. So, be sure to leave a comment to be entered into the draw! Take it away, Cherie!!

Into the Fire
I’m very proud of Into the Fire, my short story with The Wild Rose Press, but my first novel I wrote for publication will never see the light of day.  Most published authors have these manuscripts getting dusty under a bed or saved to a file that hasn’t been opened in several years.  Occasionally, these are dragged out just so we can assure ourselves this story was not meant for human eyes, and we tuck it away again when our beliefs are confirmed.
That first manuscript was a learning experience.  It shaped my voice as a writer and became my first completed novel in over ten years.  I’m thankful for the time I spent writing that story and those characters.  They’ll always be like real people to me, and the feeling of writing The End can’t be beat.  Yet, after six fruitless contest entries and a couple agent/editor rejections, I finally let it go.  Throughout my lifetime, the most difficult choice I’ve ever had to make is deciding whether I should “let go” or “hold on” a little longer, and writing a novel is no exception.
But how do you know when it’s time to “let go?”
Critiquing is the name of the game, and all writers have to play if we’re going to win in the end.
Lately I’ve felt very blessed, but one of the greatest blessings has been the amazing members of Kentucky Romance Writers of America.  They have been supportive beyond the call of duty and kicked my writerly butt when needed.
At a recent meeting, we critiqued each other’s back cover blurbs.  What an experience that was.  Let me assure you I appreciated every minute of their attention to my writing, but they didn’t hold back when highlighting the plot holes in my current work-in-progress.  True, it was difficult to hear what they had to say because just like one of my fellow writers pointed out, each rejection feels like someone is slapping your baby, but in the end, this is a story I’ll hold onto, and the advice they gave will make this a stronger, better story that readers hopefully won’t have an urge to throw across the room.
It’s important to let writers and readers (even some who aren’t writers themselves) give an honest critique of your work.  You may not always like what you hear, but you’ll gain invaluable perspective into a reader’s perception of your novel, and you’ll learn when to let go and when to hold on a little longer.
So how about it?  Any unpublished manuscripts under your bed?  How did you know to let go?  Or what encourages you to hold on and keep working on a manuscript?  Leave a comment and your e-mail address to be entered to win a copy of Into the Fire.
I love to hear from readers, writers, and in-betweeners, so please e-mail me at authorcheriemarks@gmail.com
Into the Fire Excerpt:

Months after he stole her affections—then her executive chef position—Shyann and Luke meet again under sizzling circumstances, competing head-to-head on a televised cooking show called Kitchen Twist. Each arrives with a motive: Luke intends to win back Shyann’s heart, even as she wants closure on the not-so-tasty heartbreak he once served up.
Luke knows culinary masterpieces require a delicate touch, but that knowledge is tossed out with the leftovers as he works to show Shyann he’s not such a bad guy. Now he pushes his skills to the limit to win the competition and satisfy a bet.
Can two top chefs resist each other as they move out of the pan and into the fire?

Here's the Blurb:

His hands burned with awareness of where they rested. His pulse raced, and her lips were mere inches from his. As if time stopped completely, they stared at each other, and for the life of him, Luke couldn’t seem to remember why he’d come in here. 
Shyann shook off the haze first. “Let me go. I can get this without you.”
Against his need and with exaggerated motion, he pulled his hands away. She stumbled and eyed him suspiciously but went back to jumping for a high box.
Although he appreciated the bounce of her breasts each time she leaped upward, he forced himself not to stare, gathering some of his ingredients instead. But after watching for a few more seconds, with an irritated grunt, he reached around her, grabbed her target, and handed it to her.
“I said I didn’t need your help.”
“Fine, I’ll put it back.”
His hand touched the box, and she pulled it behind her. The motion caused their bodies to collide again. Her liquid brown eyes blazed up at him, and even as a small voice in the back of his brain screamed he didn’t have time for this, he couldn’t seem to pull away. She looked so damn soft and vulnerable, and all he wanted to do was step out of the way of her win, give it all to her because she deserved it. But first, he wanted to kiss her, a long, hot, turn-their-knees-to-jelly kiss.


Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Oh, hon, I don't let go. I keep dragging that awful manuscript out and revamping until I can't take it anymore. Then I tuck it away until the next bout of insanity hits and I drag it out again, hoping THIS time I can turn it into something readable. I doubt it'll ever happen. But as I grow stronger in my writing through other projects, hope keeps nagging at me. Time will tell.
vonnie (dot) davis@ymail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

I don't let go either. And I received a contract offer on a story I'd tossed under the bed in 2007.

Never give up!

Selena Fulton

Kellie Kamryn said...

I have a few that one day I intend to shape up the way they were meant to be! But sometimes you do need to put it aside, and work on something new to gain some perspective. great post!

Mackenzie Crowne said...

I have mixed emotions about those pages in my 'we'll see' drawer. At the time I wrote them I was operating under an Ignorance Is Bliss concept. I had no idea how really bad a writer I was, and so just kept plugging along. I pick them up now and think, God, who did I force to read this? That was awful of me! But they do serve a purpose. They are black and white proof that when you just can't stop doing something, you can't help but improve. So, though I won't ever be rewriting them, I keep them around for pure inspiration. Great post, thanks.

Jennifer Jakes said...

Well, the novella I'm editing now is actually an oldie. But it is a goodie, so I couldn't let it go. However, there are some stories that I probably won't revamp b/c I can see now that the plot/conflict wasn't strong enough.
Great post!
(Don't enter me in drawing. I have my copy;)

Lilly Gayle said...

My first manuscript will not only never see the light of day, it no longer exists. It was written in 1996 using Lotus Works and saved on a 5.5 inch floppy. Even if I still had the floppy, I'd bet there is a functioning computer in the US that still has that large of a floppy drive. lol! 13 years later, in 2009 I signed my first contract and less than a year after that on 5/28/10, TWRP released my paranormal vampire romance, Out of the Darkness.

Don't enter me in the drawing. I finished reading Into the Fire last night. I'll try to post a review tonight, but I loved it!

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Cherie! I'm so glad you could be my guest today! I'm sorry I haven't gotten on to welcome you until just now. It's been a busy, busy day. My first manuscript...how do I say this. It got published? The bad news is that I wish it would have never been put to print. The house that did it offered no editing services. Can you imagine? My first novel and no editor. I shudder at the thought. I've tried to get the rights back, but they won't release them. So for now, while I can say my first story got published, it doesn't really count, because I keep the books hidden under my bed -- exactly where the story should have stayed until I knew what I was doing.

Cherie Marks said...

Whew! I tried all day to comment, but no matter how much I stood on my head, turned cartwheels, or pushed enter on the keyboard, nothing went through.

First, thank you so much, A.J. for hosting me. After last night's Halloween haul, it has been a sugar-enhanced day, and I've checked the comments throughout the day in frustration because I couldn't get any of my own through, but thanks to everybody for stopping by and saying hi.

Calisa Rhose said...

I have a few that I'd like to work on 'some day' but doubt it will happen. They are resting peacefully. Why disturb them?

I already have my copy of Into The Fire so don't enter me. I just wanted to come by and see what you had to say.

AJ Nuest said...

Oh no, Cherie! I'm so sorry to hear of your trouble getting your comments to post. Dang it! Next time (if you agree to a next time) email me and maybe I can help you. Sorry about that!

Cherie Marks said...

A.J., I appreciate the offer, but where I work, all my e-mails are blocked also. I can sometimes take my lunch break and go where there is free wifi, but today was a working lunch.

Thanks for being a great hostess anyway. And I so appreciate the awesomest people in the world who stopped and commented.

I'll draw a winner and contact that person with a copy of Into the Fire tomorrow.

Mary Ricksen said...

You got me. I still don't think the first one is ready and it was published two yrs ago!