I always planned for the Silver Moon Saga to be a trilogy. After I finished writing THE SIGHT SEER, I loosely outlined the second and third books. I had titles and new characters I couldn’t wait to introduce, and a killer cliffhanger for the second book. But then time passed. In between getting an agent and landing a publishing deal, I wrote two more manuscripts. When it came time to ready THE SIGHT SEER for publication, I had to go back and reread it to refresh my memory. Newer, better ideas came to me, and I started tweaking the outlines for books two and three.
And that killer cliffhanger? I swapped it for an even better one.
At least, I thought it was a better one. “This will make them gasp!” I chuckled to myself as I wrote it. Unfortunately, when it came time to write book three, I was no longer laughing. “What did I do?” I moaned. “What was I thinking? Who ends a book like that? I don’t know what to do!”
To say I was overwhelmed is putting it mildly.
The original cliffhanger was about my main character, Gabi. It was a huge, shocking revelation that she would spend the third book dealing with. But the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t like it. Instead, I made the cliffhanger about Rafe, Gabi’s demon-slaying boyfriend. But guess what I didn’t realize? In addition to solving all of Gabi’s problems in book three, I would also need to address Rafe’s problems.
And so the book grew. And grew. And grew.
It was a monster. A beast. The words wouldn’t stop coming. There were chapters upon chapters as I struggled to tie up every loose end. It was a mess, a disaster, and I kept crying, “Why did I end book two that way?! How did I break book three before I even started writing it?”
Yes, I’d broken my book. And I didn’t know how to fix it.
“Take a step back,” everyone said. “It’s not as bad as you think.”
“It’s worse than that!” I insisted. “It can’t be fixed! I should give up and never write again!”
Yeah, I was really that dramatic. It was bad, so bad. Thankfully my beta reader is also my best friend, and I trust her judgement. She read the messy, broken manuscript and told me it wasn’t as bad as I feared. Yes, I needed to fix things, but I could do it.
And so I worked on it. And worked on it. And worked on it. It took me nearly a year, seven drafts, and many, many emails to my beta (“How’s this scene?” “What about these changes?”), but I did it. I survived and the book survived. And I have to say, I’m pretty damn proud of that book. It’s still a beast, but at least it’s not broken.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t despair. Breathe. Just remember that you can always change what you’ve written. While it would be nice to write a perfect manuscript from the start, it’s not going to happen. There will be rewrites. Many, many rewrites.
Your manuscript is not broken. You can fix it.
Melissa Giorgio is a native New Yorker who graduated from Queens College with a degree in English. She’s always dreamed of being a writer and has been creating stories (mostly in her head) since she was a little girl. Also an avid reader, Melissa loves to devour thick YA novels. When not reading or writing, she enjoys watching animated films, listening to music by her favorite Japanese boy band, or exploring Manhattan. She is the author of the Silver Moon Saga and the Smoke and Mirrors series.