I’m sad today.
I’ve had to make a difficult decision.
I’m putting my project, See Me, on hold.
Yes, I love this book. It’s my Irish fantasy that has magical people, leprechauns, and faeries. It’s the story my mom read out loud to my grandmother on her deathbed, and even though my grandmother couldn’t open her eyes, she would chuckle at funny parts and remind my mom where she left off after breaks.
See Me was fun to write. In my mind and heart I know exactly how the story is supposed to feel…but getting that feeling across on paper is not always easy. Sometimes it doesn’t convey well enough for my liking. For years I’ve felt that the story needs something. Not just minor tweaks or changes, but something big. Something dealing with the pacing of the plot and romance. It’s just “off” to me. But no matter how long I ponder, the fix does not come to me.
This is why I decided to have a contest earlier in the summer to get beta readers. I was hoping to get feedback that would spark a huge “AHA!” moment of clarity. I got some amazingly helpful feedback about changes I can make to particular scenes, but as far as the overall storyline, I’m still drawing a blank.
Here’s the thing. Many of my beta readers (and my mom) are in love with this book. They “get it.” They can see where I was trying to go with it, and they jumped on for the ride. Those girls will probably be frustrated at my choice to shelf the project. Others simply could not get into it. At all. And I respect their honesty.
When it comes down to it, what matters most is how the author feels about it, and I’m not confident.
Even if I were to revise based on all the feedback I’ve received, it would still be missing that big “something” in my mind. Here’s a visual for you. Imagine a book is like a house. Reading it is like walking through the house, room to room, until you exit through the back door. Well, right now my rooms are decorated cute, but the purpose for some of the rooms feels obscure. I could go through and make adjustments to the rooms so they’re more pleasing to the eye, but at the end it still feels like the house is not as beautiful, comfortable, or large as it could be. It needs structural, foundational work. It needs to have the walls torn down and the floors evened out, and the layout changed. It needs to be bigger. That kind of work is time consuming, and it requires the builder to have a very specific plan in mind.
I have no plan. It’s like my imagination is broken when it comes to this storyline.
I could throw my hands up and say, “It’s good enough. Let’s just put it out there. Some will love it.” But it feels wrong to do that. As an author who values quality, I would regret it. I know that no matter how good I think one of my books is, not everyone will agree; however, it’s an author’s confidence and love for a story that helps them not to be crushed by bad reviews. Until I have that confidence I cannot consciously charge people for something I’ve written.
I really thought I could get it done this summer, and I surged forward with hope in my heart. I got a lot of you very excited, and I hate leaving you hanging like this. I’m open to publishing the story someday if inspiration for a proper revision hits me. But for now, See Meis shelved. I’m sorry. Truly.
Now I’m going to take my children to the pool and try to release some of the anxiety that’s been holding me captive. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we planned and it royally sucks. All we can do is move forward. I hope you’ll move forward with me on this.
I want to thank Carrie McRae for her amazing, tireless volunteer work on the cover images. I couldn’t love them more! I also want to thank Jenny, Samantha, Tiffany, Kayleigh, Luce, Julie, Maya, Jamie, and Brooke for beta reading! I’m saving all of your notes for future use. As to you, the readers, thank you for supporting me in my venture to self-publish.
Love and hugs