This morning, I wrapped up my revision work at 26 pages from the end and celebrated: I’m almost there.
This afternoon the manuscript called to me again. I wanted to re-read the beginning, the page I know is pretty good because of its reception with people I trust.
Then I read the next page, the beginning of the main character’s narrative. It was meh. Still. After all those hours of work, Jed’s narrative was still meh.
So I rearranged the first two paragraphs, let go of my original idea for the beginning, grounded the opening more thoroughly, and let Jed’s voice flow, free from my private agenda.
And it’s better. Much better. Like, really, really good.
I read those new paragraphs aloud to Carey. I read them aloud to the kids. They agreed: It’s better. Like, really, really good.
So I did the entire first chapter again. I let go of my agenda, my ideas about how the story should be told. Removed my voice and let Jed speak for himself. And it’s better. Much better. Like, really, really good.
And then I realized I have to do the whole book again. One more time. Am I just bridging? Procrastinating? Putting off the inevitable shove into the world of my precious baby?
No. I’ve journeyed this far and now: My characters don’t speak to me any more. They no longer send me awkward transmissions across the bridge between real and not real for me to translate. No, they stepped across that bridge some time in the last few days. They exist. And they speak for themselves.
The book deserves one more edit with my characters directly at the keyboard. It goes fast, this way–no waiting for a crackling transmission, interpreting gaps in the sound, filling in the blanks with my own thoughts. So maybe I’ll be ready to send it out at the end of Christmas break anyway.
And when I do, it’s going to be really, really good. Not because of me, but because of them. Unless I’m the one who stepped across the bridge and into the unreal. Am I delusional? Entirely possible.
Photo credit: Who knows. It’s been around social media so many times I’d be surprised if anyone does. If you, by some miracle, are a person who knows, please keep it to yourself so I don’t have to get responsible with it. Or tell me, and I’ll fix it, but then you’ll never ride my unicorn again. Your choice.