I just finished an edit of the last novel in my trilogy. It took me about a month (I started it just before Christmas.) It’s been an interesting experience, and it’s really made me sit up and take note of some things (well, in addition to the fact that when I edit, I’m always changing the same things.)
- My writing is improving. And that’s always good. I compare the state of this novel to the state of my previous novels when they were at this stage of development, and things just flow much better. My writing is cleaner overall. That’s the way things should be, so I’m happy. It’s exciting for me that when I think about my favorite scenes I’ve written–and one in particular–they’re in this novel. That scene involves two noblemen characters who weren’t even present in book one! (Well, Vane was there but he was a toddler. Doesn’t count for much character development.) I make myself recognize the strides I’ve made in the right direction because I also have to accept:
- I will never be completely happy with a novel I’ve written. No writer can ever be. There comes a time when you just have to let go, and stop. Stop stop stop with the perfectionism. It kills me to keep working with a novel after I’ve sent a draft out to beta readers; I change things and I get so self-conscious about what other people are reading. Even knowing they realize it’s a work in progress, I feel bad. I need to get over that. I can’t stop improving the novel while beta readers are doing their thing. I’m not making major changes, after all. I’m mainly tightening things up. The major changes come after their feedback (well, er… maybe. Let’s hope not.)
- I need a short break before I start editing again. I tried to start another editing pass this morning (after finishing the last one yesterday). My brain’s a bit too fried. I’ve made some good polishing decisions concerning the prologue, but they took me much longer than they should have. I’ll concentrate on other things for the next few days, give myself a chance to recover and gear up for another go, and be productive in other areas of life rather than force myself to waste time. No point spending an hour editing a passage that should only take half that. Better to let things gel first, I think. I have SOOO much to do it terrifies me to consider it all.
- I’ll be ready to say goodbye to my characters when the time comes. As much as I love them–and I do–I’m getting tired of editing the same book over and over again. So, as bittersweet as the release will be for me, knowing I won’t be working with these characters again, I also know it’s time to let them go. I’m happy with the trilogy’s end and the way things fall into place. I just hope all my beta readers are too, or I could have problems :-/