I don’t tell Betsy about any of this, of course. Because I’m a newbie and I’m scared to death that I’m going to ruin my big chance with my for-real publisher. So I keep telling her everything is fine, and she keeps asking to see the draft of book two.
But I put her off again and again. Another month. Another two weeks. Four more days….
Eventually she says she *needs* it. Seriously. Now.
So I send it to her. It’s a mess. The beginning 100 pages are just a tangle.
Just to make it clear how different it was from the finished version:
1. The manuscript I gave Betsy was 150,000 words shorter than the eventual print version of the book.
2. Vashet didn’t exist. At all. Bredon didn’t exist. At all.
3. There was no Adem hand talk. No tak. No ring rituals in Severen.
4. There are whole chapters that were nothing more than this:
Chapter 31: [need title]
(Something happens with Ambrose here.)
That’s how bad parts of it were.
So anyway, I send it off to Betsy, nervous as hell. She calls me a couple days later, real concern in her voice, and says, “Pat, this is really rough….”
I say, “Yeah. I know. But I can do it. I can put in the hours.”
Betsy says, “It’s going to be a *lot* of work. There are some real problems in here. Some parts are really skimpy.”
I say, “Yeah. I’m making good progress though. I’ve got my new workspace set up and everything.”
She says, “Book two has to be really solid, you know. People have high expectations. It’s really going to determine the course of your career.”
I say, “I promised book two would be out in a year. I just need to knuckle down and write hard for the next five months. No breaks. I can do it.”
She says, “That’s not really how your process works though. You’re a reviser. You like to get feedback from your readers and tinker with things. There won’t be any time for that if you’re still drafting the book now….”
I say, “I promised though. And I’ve scheduled it out. I’ve been writing 14 hours a day, and so long as I can keep that up….”
She says, “I really don’t think you can make this book as good as it needs to be.”
I say, “I can. I know I can do it.”
She says, “I’m pulling the book out of the production schedule.”
I’m stunned into silence, just standing there in my kitchen. I suddenly feel… good. Like someone had been standing on my chest and they just got off. “You can do that?” I asked her.
“Yeah,” she says, “I’m pulling it. You can’t disappoint people with the second book.”
I say, “Oh thank god.”