It’s 12:52 AM and I’ve just finished ‘officially’ editing my debut YA novel, Akarnae. I mean, sure, I’ve edited it (and re-edited it) heaps before, but I worked with an actual editor this time, one who gave (seriously cool) professional feedback. I’ve never had an editor before, but can I just say here, they’re awesome. Or, mine is, at least. She’s like a word-ninja. I feel like I need to get my hands on one of these and send it her way:
I’m just amazed by how the simplest of suggestions really helped add depth to my manuscript. Even things like, ‘… It’s more dramatic if you delete this word…’ and ‘… Add a sentence here about [whatever]’. I feel like my story has just become so much more than what it was before. It’s like a caterpillar that has transformed into a butterfly. And now it’s ready to fly.
I’m also so, so, so happy with the new beginning. I was never a fan of my original beginning (which actually wasn’t even the original-original beginning), and that sucked because beginnings are important—especially in books! But now I absolutely love it. And there are other parts that are so much richer now as well. I’m just so pleased with how it’s turned out!
But you know what? I’m also really nervous. Because while I know that it still has to go through proof-readers and the like before it’s released to the public, now that the actual story editing is complete, it’s pretty much done—and that means people will soon be reading it.
I know, I know. That’s totally my dream come true. But understand this, once it’s published, it’s out there. Bam. Done. No take-backs. That’s pretty scary stuff! Especially when I consider the hordes of authors who can’t stand to read their old books because they only see their mistakes. I never want that to happen to me. I love my characters and absolutely hate the idea of ever resenting how I’ve written them into being. That would be awful! Not to mention, Akarnae is part of a five-book series, so I’ve still got a long way to go with them!
I know I have so much writing growth ahead of me, but I never want to despise my beginnings. I can only hope that my characters and stories will grow with me, and that I’ll always appreciate the journey that has led to me becoming a better writer and, hopefully, a better human being.
Does that make sense? I guess I can also think of it this way: I could edit, edit, edit everyday for the rest of my life, and I’m sure I’d still focus on things to nit-pick over. I found that even when I was re-reading the Harry Potter series recently—there were a number of writing ‘wrongs’ that I noticed. I can’t help but wonder if J.K. Rowling ever opens her books and cringes at the words she’s penned. Words the rest of us love, but words that perhaps she might have altered with a touch more editing. That’s a crazy thought, huh?
At the end of the day, we writers will always second-guess ourselves. I think it’s just a part of the package. But I guess I’ve just come to the conclusion that sometimes we have to risk the ‘what ifs’ and hope that our ‘good enough’ is, in fact, good enough. Perfection has no part in writing—there will always be something that could have been done differently. A character’s name, a room’s description, a town’s location—we create all that, so it’s up to us to believe that our version of the story is the write one. (See what I did there? Am I right?… Yikes, I think I need sleep…)
Before I get any weirder, it’s time for bed. My plan is to rest my manuscript for a couple of days and then read it from cover-to-cover in one sitting so I can check to make sure it flows well, etc. (Because, hey, when I’m reading a good book, I often won’t put it down until I’m done, and I tend to notice ‘issues’ more if I read it in one go—so I figure it makes sense to read my own manuscript like that too!)
Okay, seriously… It’s a good thing I touch-type because my eyes are so blurry that I can barely focus on my laptop screen. Sleep is calling me! ‘Night, everyone!