It started with an offer from my publisher to publish my manuscript Perfectly Normal. Which is really nice. I'd almost forgotten that I'd sent it to them - way back in the days that I was just a writer and a Mom. Before the big diagnosis. They gave me a month to make up my mind, and most of me wanted to say yes, but I just couldn't feel good about it. Mostly because I don't have the energy or frame of mind to start promoting a new book. I can't even get around to promoting my old book. But also there was something about the manuscript that just didn't feel right.
So I opened the dusty, neglected file and started reading it for the umpteenth time. And realized that my problem is all in the voice.
My other books have all been in third person, with point-of-view changes in most scenes. Where Hearts Prosper has two voices: Carmen, the mom; and Paige, her teenage daughter. This worked well since the two spend most of the story on different ends of the country.
But this new story, Perfectly Normal, is only seen from the point of view of the main character, Mira, which makes first-person a logical choice. Especially since it's written for young adults, who tend to like the intimacy of first person. But when I started writing, I just couldn't latch on to Mira's voice while in first-person. I fussed and changed and changed some more, and finally decided I was just a third-person writer. I then tried to add other points of view--her parents, her boyfriend, her trainer, the villains, but didn't like that either. Adding other voices gave away too much of the mystery.
The end result was an 80,000 word young-adult science-fiction novel written in third person with only one point of view. And it just felt wrong.
So on a whim I changed just the first page to first person, simply by using the find and replace feature in Word to change all the pronouns. I took both versions to my daughter. She's read this page at least a dozen times and so of course groaned when I handed her the two pages. But after reading both versions she informed me that the story had to be first person. In Mira's own words.
They were there anyway, I just hadn't realized it. So I went through the entire document and changed every "she" to "I", every "herself" to "myself" and every "they" to "we." And it's finally the story it should be. Mira's story. The girl who considers herself a perfectly-normal human being, and hates being called an alien, even though she is--technically--from another planet. The girl who falls in love with a boy she's not even supposed to talk to, and quickly learns that the only way to keep him safe is to leave him--if only she could.
Now I just have to work on finding a publisher again. But I'm thinking I might until my hair grows back.