Wide Horizon: the Final Push

The time has come…

After years of hard work, countless nights bleeding onto page after page, untold hours of editing, rereading, rewriting, reworking and reworking again, work on my debut novel is nearly complete.  It hasn’t been easy to get to this point, and there is still work to do.  But after months of frustration, at last I’ve hit my stride again, and having rewritten several key scenes, the end is finally in sight.

I feel the need to give a big shout out to my editor, Lauren.  Her input was immeasurably helpful, especially with regard to strengthening several key points in the story.  After working for years on a story, you can’t help but get used to it.  Even if a section didn’t turn out quite the way you wanted, you can only read over it so many times before you just accept it as it is.  When you reach that point, an outside perspective can be invaluable.

Upon reaching part 3 of Wide Horizon, I’ll admit I was rushing.  I had grown self-conscious of my ballooning word count, and honestly after writing the same thing for more than two years, I just wanted to finish.  Thus, much of the pivotal final chapters was stunted: I cut corners, deviated from my original vision in the interest of drawing things hastily to a close.  And while I’d like to think I managed to get my gist across, the real heart of the story was lost.

As my editor astutely observed, due to my rush to complete the story, the ending fell flat.  It stood in ugly contrast to what had, to that point, been an engrossing and imaginative story.  After such a powerful body, the ending felt hollow and unsatisfying.  While initially I had chafed at such a scathing critique of my work, my umbrage didn’t last long.  She was right, and honestly I needed someone else to tell me, as I had grown complacent with what I had written.  I was satisfied, simply because it was what I had already done, and part of me felt too creatively exhausted to go back and redo so much.

Whoever said “Admitting you have a problem is the hardest part,” was, I surmise, not a novelist.  Thanks to my editor, I’ve been well aware of the problems with Wide Horizon for months.  Solving those problems proved far more difficult.  However, by returning to my original vision, by pouring over my notes and reassessing, I have finally been able to plow through this rewriting.

Upon reflection, this is how I wanted my time with Wide Horizon to end.  Once again, I find myself deeply engrossed in my story.  I can hear the characters’ voices, understand their motivations.  I can see what transpires as the words hit the page.  After years of tireless work, Wide Horizon is going out with a well-deserved bang.

The coming week will be grueling.  In addition to completing and revising my rewritten sections, and reintroducing them to the manuscript, I intend to undertake a final, full-length revision.  I’m going to start at the top, and pour over the entire novel from beginning to end.  There will be more clipping, more editing, but by the time the smoke clears, I truly believe I will be left with a finished product I can be proud of.

I’ve reached the final stages.  Wish me luck, dreamers.

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