I’ve been cheating.
I was supposed to take a small vacation from my book while waiting for my readers to get back to me with their feedback. Theoretically, this would help me get much needed perspective on my manuscript and recharge my energy. Also theoretically, it would allow me to get some other work done without feeling guilty.
Naivete, thy name is Allison.
Out of insecurity, impatience, desperation, sticktoitive-ness or something similar, been I’ve been peering back into the ms, editing both chronologically and skipping around to tighten up known issues. I’ve also been doing a hell of a lot of research on the editing process.
It’s true, just about anyone can write. It’s the rewriting that’ll kill ya. I’ve written plenty in my time, though this is my first novel. In various college classes, I got good at spinning a story and moving on. I was rarely offered suggestions on tightening up a story, save for some small superficial edits. Getting into the meat of editing is brand-new to me, and makes me feel a bit over my head.
Simple rules such as “Start with a disturbance” or “get rid of all adverbs” are brand new to me. Intellectually these rules make perfect sense, but in the writing process, they aren’t natural quite yet. I’m sure as I continue to write, these obvious rules will weave their way into my habits and style. For now, though, I’m nodding wide-eyed at the blogs of seasoned pros when they tell me to identify my midpoint “game changer.”
My manuscript is becoming a puzzle that I’m obsessed about cracking. It’s seducing me to not only spruce up the dialogue, clear out the redundancies, and polish my prose, but recalibrate and reconfigure the plot arcs and redraw some of the character’s intentions, too.
Each time I think I make it to the crest of the hill, I see more inclines ahead.