I’m still working on it. Mission: Fall in Love with My Book Again.
I honestly thought I was there a couple days ago, when I got a decent chunk of editing done. This revision, this time, is more straightforward than my last. My first Pitch Wars revision of this book was a jigsaw puzzle/murder scene/blank page. I moved shit around and cut entire chapters and wrote so many brand new words. I started it with an empty document, copying and pasting things from my original draft when they worked and starting fresh when they didn’t.
This time, I’m reading the whole thing from beginning to end again, taking my edits chronologically one chapter at a time, which gives me a better idea of what the actual reading experience of this book will be for strangers. I got to this pivotal scene that I’ve always loved and I thought, “oh man, I can’t wait until they bang,” which as a romance reader IS MY FAVORITE PART OF A BOOK. Especially when you KNOW it’s going to be SO LONG until they bang!! Ugh! The best!!
I really liked thinking I can’t wait until they bang about Dahlia and London. Because I made them up. I know exactly when they’re going to bang. But I was still excited for it. That’s good.
But after that really great day of editing, when I wanted to shout my love for these characters from the rooftops, I’ve fallen back into a bit of melancholy. I don’t know how to write a pitch that isn’t over 100 words. (They should be, like, 50 or less.) I don’t know how to write a pitch that actually captures my book. Another mentee (who I love) is writing a very very similar book to mine; why would an agent pick me over them? What the fuck am I going to title this thing? I need to stop overthinking everything. I need to stop getting ahead of myself with my dreams.
One thing that’s for sure, though, is that a lot of my favorite parts of this book are ones that came out of the second, third, whatever revision. And I know that means I need to keep doing it. Revising, writing. Focusing on the good parts.
Here’s one of those parts. Dahlia and London have just gotten quite drunk together, and are now returning to their hotel rooms. Dahlia has revealed a lot of her guts, this night.
Dahlia paused, key card in hand. London waited, a step behind her, hands back in their pockets. They were unsure what was going to happen here. If she was about to be sick. If she was about to invite them inside. If she had just forgotten how to open a door.
She twirled toward them and poked them in the chest.
“I just want my life to be big, you know?”
Dahlia’s brown eyes were unfocused.
“Like...like the way your favorite song feels, when you’re sixteen. I want my life to feel like that. I want to feel big. I want to do messy, stupid things, things I’ll remember, things that are interesting.” She bit her lip. London wasn’t sure if they were breathing. “Maybe Hank will have kids one day, and I can be that kooky aunt with lots of stories, you know? I’ll wear chunky jewelry, like Janelle, and say funny, inappropriate things. And they’ll be like oh, that Aunt Dahlia.” She smiled. “I would like that.”
London’s throat felt tight, aching from things they wanted to say but couldn’t find the words for.
Dahlia turned toward her door again. She put the key in the handle. Barely audible, she said, “I don’t want to be small.”
She walked inside without saying goodbye. London started at the door helplessly as it started to close.
Suddenly, Dahlia turned around and opened it again.
“Hey,” she said, smiling. “You know what I like?”
“Rice Krispie treats?”
“Making you laugh. Your eyes disappear, and your face does this...thing.” She waved a hand over her own face, not helping with this description at all. London had no idea what she was talking about. But for perhaps the first time in their life, they were exceedingly grateful for their face. For making Dahlia’s own face look like it did right now. Like her previous monologue, like her divorce, had never happened.
“Can I see your phone?” London asked quietly.
Dahlia looked confused, but she handed it over. Quickly, they typed in their number, sent a text to themselves. So they could check in on her tomorrow, make sure she was okay.
They handed it back and looked at her one last time. “Good night, Dahlia,” they managed to say.
Dahlia smiled, and then she closed her door.
London stood in the quiet hallway for a long time. They wished they could see through that door, to make sure that she was still breathing, that she wasn’t going to be sick in her sleep. That her chest was still rising and falling. That her bruised, so-far-from-small heart still beat safely inside her skin.
Read books about love. Allow yourself to feel big things.