So, I just read the first chapter of Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee, that’s trending all over the Internet as a promotion for the book release on the 14th of July. This was the original book she wanted published.
Let go of expectations. Read it as if you know nothing of To Kill a Mockingbird and you won’t be as shocked. This is a different story with an edgier style and slower pace, yet still crafted by a genius.
I’m leaning toward To Kill a Mockingbird being the better choice, however.
According to an article published on International Business Times website, March 12, 2015: “Harper Lee: Elder Abuse And Fraud Charges Investigated By State Of Alabama” by Barbara Herman. The state of Alabama is investigating allegations made by a doctor acquainted with Harper Lee, who claims “she did not seem to be lucid when he visited.” He fears Ms. Lee maybe be the victim of financial fraud due to her supposed agreement with HarperCollins to release an early draft of the book that became, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960).
If Ms. Lee had deemed her original manuscript worthy of a second look she would not have allowed it to stay tucked away. And furthermore, what writer, in their right mind, would want a rough draft published after they worked so hard rewriting the book for publication. (see my post,”Fling the Manuscript Out the Window”)
I certainly wouldn’t want my original NaNoWriMo draft published.
An interesting story is told about Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird (1960), by biographer, Charles J. Shields in his book, Mockingbird (2006)
(Summary mine) Sometime before publication, Ms. Lee was struggling with revisions. She opened the window of her apartment and flung the manuscript into the darkness. Years of work scattered in the snow. Thankfully, her editor made her retrieve every page.
I wonder how many writers give up months before greatness. I’ve been rewriting my “Precious” for years. Thankfully, a writing coach gave me direction and encouragement, stating, “You have a good draft to work with.” But the learning curve is huge and daunting. I’ve almost hit the delete button more than once. I almost stuffed every year’s hardcopy into the wood burning stove. But I can’t let it go. My bucket list consists of one item: Publish My Book.
Harper’s Lee’s fit encouraged me to understand the, nobody will care anyway, days. So, hang in there another year struggling writer friends.