Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke

Sometimes I think the universe or Fate has to intervene to tell us something when we’re clearly refusing to listen to anything else but our constant self-talk and self-doubt.  And today, one message came loud and clear – again.

Don’t fix what ain’t broke.

A week or so ago, I posted that I was going to let a book go twenty minutes before my son’s school aide raved about a book she’d read on the Kindle I’d loaned her.  The book, of course, turned out to be the draft of the book I was about to let go.

And so I hunted down the version she had read (I have over 20 now) and found it. Then I started editing that version which happens to be the one closest to the original draft, bearing the same voice as its predecessor – it’s prequel – Loving Ashe.  Unfortunately, the critic took over, deleted 20k words and began adding new chapters, changing the tone, the voice, and the overall mood of the story – just like it tried to do ten other times in the last year.

Then Dropbox stopped working two days ago, refusing to save the new versions in the remote folders.  And when I transferred the file over to my iPhone so I could run it through Voice Dream Writer (which does amazing text-to-speech in a word processing environment), the file that got transferred was an older one from a month ago, before I butchered 20K words from it and changed the overall tone.

Today while listening to “Salli” read my manuscript back to me – the unbutchered version – anxiety hit again and I realized then why I was a bunch of nerves.  No matter how the more mature writer in me would like to overhaul the whole thing and produce something so sleek and representative of my marketing-conscious writing style (AKA “write to market”), my subconscious still prefers the original version where I wrote because I absolutely just loved to write.

Now while it may seem that I harp on and on about words, if you’ve read my books, my stories, every one of them, boil down to character.  I like deep POV – like, deep-deep POV to the point that I don’t write in one genre.  In fact, my last book, Everything She Ever Wanted, was an exercise of reining in deep POV for the sake of making it fit, at least, one genre – contemporary romance.  It failed with Harlow (in a good way!), but it worked to an extent with Dax.

The new chapters I had added to Loving Riley the last two days had none of that.  Like all the “new” versions that came before it, the new chapters were sleek, smooth, and expedient in its narrative.  But deep POV was gone, leaving my character cold.  Oh, so cold.

And maybe that’s why my nerves rebelled like they always do.  The message (Dropbox failure and all) came loud and clear: Don’t fix what ain’t broke. Let the book go, and for crying out loud, move on.

Brendan James performing “Nothing For Granted” (or what I call Dax’s song)

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