Soul-Searching: When is it ready?
Lots of soul-searching going on. I understand that clarification is needed in character relations; I understand that in cutting the first 50 pages of background, I was bound to miss something in the umpteenth rewrite, and the explanation of a brother’s death is it; I understand that there are grammatical errors I overlooked. All of that is doable. All of that means some dedication on days off, and I’ll still achieve the “by the end of 2015” goal. The problem is, I also understand that somewhere along the line, I have to answer to the omission of time, that my middle transition isn’t as effective as it could be. Previous readers made comments, but no one seemed distracted enough to say that the book was incomplete; I started thinking that, with a little bit of revision, it will work. After all, I’ve been plugging away at this thing for eight years (eight years with the current point of view and story line, even more years if you count the vignettes that were created prior to the notion of turning my ideas into a novel-length piece of historical fiction).
So the question becomes, what do I do? Is the book enough without revisiting the passage of time, without writing a whole new section to be inserted right smack dab in the middle of the “final” draft? Do I hire a professional agent or editor to help me with this decision making? Do I go ahead and put self-publication on hold and make the necessary additions to make the story more complete? Do I need to tie up loose ends with the antagonist, too, instead of using the unknown as a player in Book Two, when I haven’t the faintest clue if there will ever be a Book Two? Or do I simply make the edits that I know I can accomplish and publish the work as is? Deep down, I feel like it’s not there yet, but will it EVER be there? Will I ever truly be finished with the story and feel confident in its completion?
Today’s post was supposed to be a reflection about starting the November Poem-a -Day Chapbook Challenge and a plug to read a new poem that was written this week, but either I didn’t have the time or I didn’t argue with my excuses. I have no poem. I have no challenge reflection. I have nothing but some soul-searching.
The upshot: When discussing this situation with my sixteen year old son, he told me to wait until all the critiques come back, maybe someone would have a suggestion. He told me that I was further along than I have ever been, and that's good. And he's right. It's a journey, and soul-searching is good, where I am is good, and where I'm heading, no matter how long it takes, is good.
I totally relate to this blog! Not in this exact moment, but I have been there so many times. I feel like everything I do is a work in progress, and even things that I "finished" long ago can use rewriting! I saw a play performed that I had written years before and I kept thinking, "if only I could go tweak this, tweak that." Then I gave up worrying and moved on. Anyway, it's such a difficult answer- is it that we are perfectionists? is it that a work is never really done? The main question to know the answer to, I think, is based on the individual self and style. Meaning, if someone is a writer who uses constant rewrites to delay putting something out there and moving on, then that must be taken into consideration. But perhaps it is a writer who just throws everything out there and never edits- that's a different set of obstacles. For me, I try always to get as close as possible, but I do think an intuitive writer (and you seem like one, from what I read on your blog) will have a sense of what's true for the project? Just my two cents!
11/5/2015 09:41:14 pm
Thanks so much for your comment, Erin! I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone. I truly do feel that I have to attack this "last" obstacle. It has bothered me for some time. I don't want readers to feel cheated, and I think that's what I'm doing. I've had ideas for this lapse, but nothing has come to fruition. I just need to dig deeper.
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