Ready to Move On, But Another Revision Awaits

I’m a firm believer in letting a finished work sit for a while before giving it its final revision prior to its final editing.

But there is a problem that arises as well – or at least it does for me – and that is my brain has already moved onto other interests.

What to do?

I’m referring to my fourth novel, A Love Story for a Nation, which I actually really like. It’s quite different from any novel I’ve ever written, and those of you who know me, may be stunned to find out it doesn’t even contain the world Vietnam. It doesn’t contain any reference to any country in the world. It’s unique in that way.

I finished the first draft of it in August 2014. I took the next couple of months revising it until finally in October I sent it out to some beta readers. I have since received some feedback and now am ready to put it through the grinder one more time — except for the fact that I don’t feel like it!

In all that time that has passed, I’ve moved onto other ideas. I’ve written 2/3 of my fifth novel. Just the last couple of days I’ve been struck with the idea of a new play – I came up with the premise while watching “Into the Woods” in the cinema. I’ve also started production on a musical I’m directing for May. And now out of the past, comes my 4th novel, hobbling towards me like an orphan, reaching out in anguish asking to be brought to a finish once and for all so it can be released this summer.

Hmmmph!

If only I worked as a full-time writer!

Back to reality.

The grind of authorship can take no shortcuts. It must be done. I have always told myself that I will not release a book half-heartedly.

It needs one more revision. I need to suck it up and do it. My other creative ideas will have to wait.

So here I go.

That Sinking Feeling that a New Novel is Almost Ready

I spent part of the afternoon looking over some edits I received back from my proofreader for my third novel, The Reach of the Banyan Tree.

As I was polishing some language and grammar, I found myself analyzing every word I had written. Sudden angst welled up within me, and I started to think that perhaps this novel isn’t ready for a readership yet. I started doubting that I was ready to finish the publishing process with this book. I started wondering if it was any good and if anyone would like it.

In other words, I found myself in the exact same place I had been before just a few months before the release date of my other novels. That thought gave me some comfort that perhaps I needed to calm down and trust the process.

No book is ever complete. I could tweak and rewrite and manipulate this novel for another five years, but what would that prove? Very little, really. I finished writing it about ten months ago. Then I took it through a dual editing process. I sent it to beta readers and received a lot of great feedback. I let it sit for a few months and came back to it again at the first of the year. I heard from some more readers and then went through another editing process in order to bring it to my final round of proofreading.

I’m still not satisfied. I still have that sinking feeling that something is wrong and no one will like it. But I have the good sense to ignore fleeting doubts and move forward. I won’t allow myself to be paralyzed by something that may or may not happen. It’s time to release the novel.

So once the edits are complete, the formatting will begin on the paperback, and I’ll be sending our ARCs to a bunch of reviewers leading up to its release.

But you can be sure in the meantime, I’ll probably sneak in one more read-through just to satisfy me.