My very first novel, the young adult novel Moonlight Cafe, went through many iterations. As I wrote on my Writing Evolution page, The Moonlight Cafe started as a short story I wrote for a college creative writing class. In that form, it was written in third person. When I made it into a young adult novel, I wrote it in third person from multiple points of view. Then third person from only one point of view. Then first person. Then I cut out the entire middle section and completely changed that part of the story. Then I changed the end. Then I changed the middle again. Then I made more changes. Then I added dream/past life sequences. I finally considered it “Finished” and took it to the Writer’s Digest Editor’s Intensive Weekend for a real editor – Alice Pope – to review the first 50 pages. I disagreed with some of her comments, but many made a lot of sense, and after pondering them all, I realized the novel needed a complete overhaul. By that point I was so sick of it I never wanted to look at it again.
Then for NaNoWriMo 2009 I decided to work on the complete rewrite of Moonlight Cafe. I had a completely new basis for it. For much of September and the entire month of October I researched like crazy. Then, starting November 1, I wrote madly for 15 days and reached 50,000 words. I hated it so much that on day 16 I opened my laptop at the write-in and stared at the screen for 15 minutes. I’m serious. I just stared at it. It was blank. I was at a new chapter (hence the blank screen), and I could not stand the thought of writing another word on the “novel.” (I put that in quotes because it is such drivel I really don’t see it as fit to even dream of calling itself a novel.) I honestly would have rather jumped out a plate glass window than write another word. So I didn’t. It was nothing like I envisioned it. It was nothing you could call a young adult novel by any stretch of the imagination, even if you were completely insane. It was, simply put, crap. Crap that no one (I hope) will ever, ever, ever in a million years read. (I say I hope because as awful as it is, I won’t delete it from my hard drive. Maybe one day inspiration will strike and I’ll realize I was wrong about it, and it’s wonderful. Doubtful, but who knows.)
The NaNo 2009 version never got a title. It certainly wasn’t The Moonlight Cafe. What I originally saw in my mind for the rewrite had a few threads of plot that were pulled from Moonlight, but I knew it wouldn’t resemble it at all, for the most part. But I would know it as having the same origin. I would know from where this story came. That is not what happened last November. It is not what I dreamed of writing.
Moonlight Cafe is near and dear to my heart. I really want to see it in print someday. But at this point, my urban fantasy series completely has my attention. And I still can’t really stand the thought of working on Moonlight much more. So for the foreseeable future, I won’t. I have the various incarnations saved digitally. I even have the “final” draft printed out and stored in a purple binder. (Someday I’ll have to label my binders with the novel name – they’re all purple.) That novel is patient. It will wait. Someday I will go back to it and tweak it. Maybe it will prove to be worthy of the time and effort it takes to find an agent. Maybe it won’t, and I’ll self-publish it, simply for my own satisfaction. But for now, it will wait.