Returning to this after a throbbing headache editing session that broke me a little bit was a thing of relief. It’s not that I consider myself perfect with the book that I have been working on for the better part of five months since I finished the draft, quite the opposite, in that I could cut the whole thing to pieces but it would sacrifice the narrative voice.
What was gratifying was that I can see where I have progressed since that point. I don’t entertain self deprecation or self pity too often, more an acceptance that I am working to improve, that I am in competition only with myself and that I set my own conditions for victory. I used to rely heavily on ‘and’, there was a pendulum between lush detail and narrative austerity in my writing, and now there’s a degree of balance within that. Editing, as painful as it can be, reveals your foibles and doesn’t mitigate them. What irritates you will definitely irritate a reader, and you don’t edit for the kindest, most supportive reader, no you write for the asshole who’s looking to find fault in every sentence. If you can silence them, then you’re ahead of the game.
I’ve spent a long time with Until She Sings, through it’s iterations and at one point, a complete rewrite. There are a few suggested cuts from my agent, which I am going to go with, but last night, I was word blind so have asked someone to look at it for me and come back with suggestions. It’s a bit of a slow build, ends up being outrageously erotic and a few months ago, was the peak of the book but with the change in focus, a stronger narrative and a bit of a rethink about the structure, it doesn’t really fit as it was. I
In the greater scheme of things, it doesn’t matter, it’s a quality problem to have and although I agonised over it, I trust my agent entirely and they know the readership I am going for better than I do. I can only know myself, and so the scene will not survive the editing process. The things you learn matter if you can see them in context and apply them to your purpose.
Show up, do the work, go home. Come back tomorrow, do it again, keep doing it. So, three paragraphs of lamentation there, but it will be okay. I’ll have forgotten about it tomorrow.
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