Letting Go While Still Being True to Myself
Earlier this week I was putting together a last minute query. That’s NEVER good idea. However, I wanted to submit something if I could. And I’d fallen out of love with what I had been submitting (Manuscript 1), I’d received a recent rejection with great points (Manuscript 2) which inspired me to revise, and I’d looked over the other 8-10 ‘ready’ manuscripts that just didn’t seem right. Which brings me to Manuscript 3.
I have a whole series written out, which was initially inspired, like much of my writing, by a dream. And in this picture book dream for Manuscript 3, I also dreamt up the main character’s name and personality. Though the age has changed somewhat, I can EXACTLY picture this kid.
However. And this is a big HOWEVER. While I was writing my query, I was contemplating this agent who is a big advocate for diversity in children’s books, but also in the publishing industry. Here I was writing about how I grew up reading mountains and mountains of books, all of which featured main characters who did not look like me. And I was excited about how my mixed girls are growing up in a very different literary world than I did.
And in the very next paragraph? I was pitching my story all about a toddler-aged white boy. Not that there’s anything wrong about that. But I had an epiphany.
WHY COULDN’T THIS MAIN CHARACTER BE FILIPINA? OR MIXED? AND A GIRL.
The answer: she could be. She should be. She will be.
Now, I don’t think all my characters have to come from the same background as me. That would be boring. But for this particular picture book, I’m kind of excited to re-write the main character. I’ve held on to his name for too long. And sometimes you have to know when to let go. And re-write.
Besides, I’ve already come up with an excellent name. If it happens to be my childhood nickname, so be it. I’ve always wanted to be a hero. :D
Tell Dr. Bookworm!
For all you writers out there, tell me a time when you had to let something go. A favorite scene? Some witty dialogue? The entire first chunk of your novel because it really starts on page 10? (That last one is for someone in my writing group who likes to say this and is often correct.)