Hurray! (Imagine me throwing confetti and doing the happy dance.) I finished the edit of my literary fiction novel. But I didn’t throw confetti or even eat a chocolate bar. Instead, I brooded. And I decided that something was wrong with the ending. I really liked the ending that last time I read it. Seven years ago.
After a period of self-flagellation, I decided that the ending might be tolerable. In fact, I was probably suffering from I’ve-worked-on-this-so-long-and-so-hard-that-I-have-no-perspective-on-my-work-and-I’m-in-danger-of-ruining-something-good. I have suffered this malady before. The last bad case I had, my beta reader emailed me and said something along the lines of “Why on earth did you cut the heart and soul out of the story, you lunatic? Please tell me you have an original copy.” Actually, she said it much more nicely than that. After throwing neatly filed papers all over my writing nook, I eventually found a copy of the original so I could put the heart and soul back into my story... Now that I think about it, the story that I exorcised the heart and soul out of was the first three chapters of this book. Hmm. That doesn’t bode well, does it?
In a twist of irony, my kind beta emailed last night and told me that she’s planning to delete a few hunks of her novel. My advice? WAIT!
N.B. For those of you who aren’t familiar with “betas,” they’re people who read the completed novel and give kind words of encouragement and criticism.