December 4th, 2006

A Pocket Full of Murder

Spit and polish or rinse and spit?

So a couple of days ago I started giving Knife one last edit before printing it out and mailing it off, like a Responsible Author ought to do. I wrote myself a nice little checklist of Things To Watch Out For and Things To Be Done based on the comments I'd received from various beta readers, and certainly enough time had elapsed since I read the opening chapters that I ought to be able to look at them objectively (or so I told myself).

And indeed, all seemed to be going along swimmingly, with a bit of tweaking here and a name change there and some trimming of overused phrases and cliches, but nothing really devastating... until I hit Chapter Four. At which point I started tearing out my hair and wailing ZOMG I HATE MY PROSE SO MUCH AND MY CHARACTERS HAVE NO EMOTIONAL RESONANCE AND MY PACING SUCKS and spent about two hours trying without success to rewrite the entire beginning of the chapter, until I stopped and told myself that I was probably just being hormonal.

No doubt, said I to myself, this happens to every author after she has spent several months rewriting a novel; she's spent so much time looking at the nuts and bolts that the machine no longer works for her the way it would for a reader. Therefore, I ought to stop obsessively line-editing every sentence, just make the changes that I know have to be made, and get the book out the door before I am tempted to spend the rest of my life trying to get it absolutely perfectly right.

Either that, or the book really does need a lot more work, but I'm just being lazy and making excuses so I can get it out of the door.


*tears hair*