Thursday, February 09, 2006

I'm Putting out a Hit on my Inner Editor

Well, there you have it. I knew I'd eventually have some sort of psychotic break and try to kill off one of my less attractive personalities (of which I have a few).

So here's my problem: I'm just doing the final run through before I pass it off, and my inner editor has me in a frenzy. I keep thinking of ways to make the book better and to improve and refine some of my characters. I could easily spend another six months working on it. I've also reformatted in a standard font (I like writing in one of those annoying fonts you're never supposed to submit in) and lost forty pages. I miss them, in an irrational-yet-stubborn way, and I suddenly feel like I need two more chapters to make up for the missing pages. I don't, of course.

This week has been a very interesting experience, as has writing this blog. The fact is, I'm not used to writing to deadline and it's making me a tad...well. Peckish. I had originally planned on finishing the second draft of the book by Christmas, but I got terribly ill with a not-very- interesting illness that won't even net me any sympathy. After spending so long writing the book you'd think I would have at least come down with leprosy or something, but no dice, it was just a bad cold. The deadline that I set for the final run-through is this Sunday, and I'm going to hit it if it kills me.

As I do so often when I come across a literary challenge I haven't faced before, I consult the experts. The consensus on rewriting? Don't overdo it. Awesome advice, except I'm not quite sure when that point is. Anne Lamott, in "Bird by Bird" says that you come to a moment where you just know that you're done. She adds, "of course, there will always be more you could do, but you have to remind yourself that perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor." I am trying to keep this in mind, but I think that there are just some things about writing that can't be taught and we all need to come to on our own terms, and I think this is one of them. Dammit.

So, I have done a full read-through and outlined about five major spots where there a theme gets dropped, or a character needs to be refined more, or an image doesn't work. I'm going to fix those and then force my inner editor to put down the red pen. By Sunday.

I hope.

Peckishly yours,
Maia

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