Monday, August 27, 2012

The Book Of My Dreams: On Finishing The First Draft I Didn't Think I Could Write

The amazeballs Beth Revis once wrote about the Book Of Her Heart. This is the kind of book that speaks to your true self the loudest. It's the one who embodies you the person as well as you the writer. As Beth says:

All books are works of art and take some of ourselves to write, but a "book of your heart" is one that is ripped from your very soul. It's the important one, your baby, the one that you wrote with blood, sweat, and tears; the one that means more to you than any other.

I have a Book Of My Heart. I finished the first draft about a year ago, and I even started revising it, but I stopped. Why? The story's a bit long, but to sum it up: I quit running away from the Book Of My Dreams. 

In 2009, long before the seed for the Book Of My Heart came around, another seed planted itself in my brain. The problem? I didn't think I was good enough to write a novel based on that seed. But it was through and through the Book Of My Dreams--what I was DYING for someone else to write so I could gobble it up in one sitting. This seed had GIRL POWER and BAD PEOPLE and GOOD PEOPLE WITH A LOT OF HEART and MAGIC and PRETTY DUDES WHO AREN'T DOUCHEBAGS. 

So I figured someone else would write it eventually.

Three years later, no one had written the Book Of My Dreams. Of course, a ton of books had similar elements, but exactly the Book Of My Dreams? Nope. I was proud of myself for slicing my soul in half and tackling the Book Of My Heart, though. Really proud. Even better, I felt free enough to think I could write anything. Amazeballs Beth is right: 

If you're a writer who is unpublished, then I hope and pray you will eventually write the book of your heart. It's a wonderful thing, and the closest I've come to touching magic. But I also want you to know something very, very important: the book of your heart is not the apex of your writing. It is not necessarily the best thing you've written, and it's not necessarily your only shot at getting published.

Yesterday, I finished the first draft of the Book Of My Dreams. As I wrote the last scene, I teared up. No, it wasn't a particularly sad scene, but it meant so, so much to me. The whole novel means a lot. Not just because of its content, but also because of its existence. It's a real draft. Horrible and cliched and illogical, but it's real.

I have no idea if the Book Of My Dreams will get published. I do know I'm going to revise it a billion times and query it. I also know it's the best book I've ever written. Is it the most personal? No. Is it the most me? No. But it's close enough, and it's everything I never thought I could do.

I think you owe it to yourself to try it, too.

Now tell me: are you working on the Book Of Your Dreams, or the Book Of Your Heart? If neither, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?????


  1. Congratulations again, lady. No matter what kind of book it is--of your heart or your dreams--it's a huge accomplishment! I hope you'll tell us a bit more about it! For me, right now, I'm writing all sorts of books that are ... fun. Sanctum is definitely the book of my heart, but I've written many since then, and each one has something in it that motivates me to write.

    1. THANK YOU, Sarah!!! I'll most definitely spill the book deets soon! :) I'm thrilled to hear you're working on fun stories, even though the book of your heart is finished--I think that experience can only make your other stories even better.

      Oh, and have I mentioned HOW BADLY I want to read Sanctum? BECAUSE I DO. :D