You started it, how are you going to finish?
As I pushed through the first draft of You Killed My Brother, I started to doubt the story was good enough. I had always written in psychological suspense with elements of horror, and never psychological crime. I wanted to jump genres to prove that I could do it. So when I started the editing process and began to work out the finer details of the plot in You Killed My Brother, I got about halfway through when I placed my red pen down (yes, I handwrite my manuscript as well as my edits). That is when I gave up on the story.
For the first time in my writing career, I was battling self doubt and questioning my capabilities as a writer. What I had written was crap and I needed to get away from it. Forget it ever existed.
Working on the same story day after day for months, writing, revising, and making sure all parts of the plot are connected can be grueling. There is no doubt it is the most important part of the writing process, and it exposes every flaw. Every page was filled with red pen, spilling onto the back of the page as well. Frustrated and knowing I was looking at entire rewrite, I decided was going to break away from You Killed My Brother, I shifted my focus to a new idea. It felt refreshing to be back in psychological horror; after all, it’s where I am most comfortable. The intricate plot and creepy scenes of the new story challenged my imagination. But I had a distraction that was quite literally nagging at me
The idea that I had spent months, had lost hours upon hours of sleep, had chosen THAT story to write and I abandoned it was nothing short of quitting. That bothered me. I’m not a quitter. That’s not the trait of a writer. We put our time in, bleed out an array of emotions, work out painstaking details and hope our readers connect with what we do.
I needed to see that with this novel. I started something, but allowed frustration to get the better of me. I abandoned it and thankfully it was calling me back. But how was I going to finish it and not fall into the same trap?
I stumbled across old outline notes on You Killed My Brother and saw that although some of the details of the story had changed, the original story concept and theme had remained intact. It was a powerful message about revenge. It is a story I purposely geared towards a broader audience than my prior two novels. I wanted people to see what would happen when criminals collided with the wealthy and make it as real as possible.
Seeing my initial passion for the story rekindled my flame, and in a period of time about a month long, I finished the rewrite and completed the novel. And I’m glad I did. It seems the ending has left people a little surprised and I’ve had multiple reader requests for a sequel which I’m currently considering.
So now I’m curious, what have you done that might have helped you through a similar situation?
About the book: How far would you go to make someone pay for hurting a loved one? Rainer is a successful doctor and father of two. He's a celebrated member of the community for his exceptional care and charity work. Brick is a local street thug that can't keep his nose clean. When fate brings the two together through tragedy, the life of Rainer is changed dramatically, setting into motion events that change communities. Glenn is a seasoned cop and Rainer's younger brother. Trusting the justice system, he keeps his desire for revenge in check as Brick is brought to trial. But when the jury hands Brick a lean sentence, Glenn sets out to avenge his family's suffering. But what he forgets in his rage is that for every action, there is a reaction.
About the author: Keith Rommel is a native of Long Island, New York and currently lives with his family in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. Keith is a retail manager and has enjoyed collecting comic books since he was a child (a hobby inspired by a teacher in grade school to help overcome a reading comprehension disability). Keith Rommel is the author of the critically acclaimed dark suspense Thanatology Series entitled The Cursed Man and the Lurking Man. His newest novel: You Killed My Brother is a fast-paced suspense thriller with crime and some rather unorthodox police work. Keith has had several writer how-to articles published and has appeared on numerous radio shows and at many signing events. Keith is currently hard at work on the third novel in the Thanatology Series due out summer 2013.
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