I have a 98,000 word novel that took me a year to write: three months for the first draft plus nine months of revision. It's all about to become one of those proverbial darlings that I must kill. Only a handful of people have read it, and no one else ever will.
Say your goodbyes! I'm holding the delete key to its head right now! Here it goes—BANG! It's dead!
All that work, early mornings, late nights, hours pondering and agonizing and wracking my brains while staring at a blank screen—gone in the blink of an eye. Alas, poor book. I knew it well, Horatio. *sob*
Whoa, I'll stop there. Honestly, I'm just trying to make myself feel sorry for myself. Starting an entire book over from the beginning seems like it ought to be a difficult thing to do. It should feel arduous, sacrificial or something besides exciting.
But I'm just excited. I've got a book that still has a lot of things wrong with it, and I'm realizing new things all the time. This a chance to fix everything! Because this book deserves it. When I'm done with this draft (plus probably a couple more passes to fix new problems I may introduce) I'll have a shining gem worthy of the characters I've come to know so well. A couple months ago I wrote that I couldn't quite see my characters faces, and couldn't hold a conversation with them. Now I can do both.
And really, hardly a single hour of the time I've spent writing is wasted. I've been learning how to write, and I can say with sincere Edisonian optimism that I've found a dozen ways not to tell this story. I'm really pumped. This is the draft where the characters come alive on the page the way they have in my mind. This is the draft where the story makes perfect sense and flows inevitably to a better ending. This is the draft that I'll be able to hand to anyone in the world and say without reservation, "I wrote this."
Give me three months from tomorrow.
Oh, and brain-wracking has been minimal.