“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Michelangelo
I am in the throes of editing my most recent novel. I have taken my last stab at it myself and sent it out naked and afraid into the hands of other readers to be picked over and marked up. It is a terrible time. The copies will come back to me with heart-breaking slashes, corrections, ideas and warnings…but as painful as some of those will be that is precisely what I want, what is best for me and for my novel. My writing group gives me the input along the way and for me that is a great boon, but this sending my baby out whole to be judged in the harsh light of “Here it is, it’s done,” is nerve wracking. These critiques I prefer to get whole, not a running commentary in bits and pieces over the days. Drop the whole ten ton package on me at once; I will accept the sudden crushing weight and slowly…days, weeks…will begin to sort through it all. I will launch happily into the punctuation corrections, because I suck at it. I will look hard at the grammar, because sometimes they’re right. The toughest parts are the suggestions on story line, character, dialogue, plot movement…my darling quips torn to shreds, that perfect scene devasted, etc. Hard to swallow, hard to bear…but in the end I do swallow it, not whole by any means. Some comments and suggestions are easily discarded…not my story, not what I’m doing. It’s the ones that hit home…that “Oh, my god, they’re right. How do I fix it?” Those are the real prizes received from this stage. Those are the jewels that I receive from this scariest part of my process.
I love my final edit readers, love and fear them. So bring it on!