I have some news.
The best of news.
Are you ready for it, readers?
WE FINISHED OUR FIRST ROUND OF EDITS.
Now looks like this:
(Well, that’s actually a pretty clear page.)
Killing Mercutio is now, officially, a second draft! We started out at 151,000 words and, as of right now (some edits are still going into Google Docs), that number stands at 126k! 25k cut in one swoop. Talk about the power of editing, guys!
I know this seems like bragging. Sorry. I don’t mean to brag. I’m just really super excited about this. A and I have been working on this novel for over a year, from concept through to now, and I just can’t believe we’re here. We’re within a couple weeks of sending this out for OTHER PEOPLE to look at! Eyes that aren’t ours, reading a novel we wrote? Gods…it’s amazing.
And terrifying. I love my characters. I love my characters almost more than I love the sum of their stories. They’re my babies, and they are amazing. But…what if no one else loves them like I do? What if that feeling I’ve been shoving away with dogged desperation for weeks–the feeling that this is all for naught, and the novel is shit–is…valid? I can’t bear to have friends–people I respect and admire–look me in the face (or, more accurately, send me a message) and say they hated it. Did I let my babies down?
Did I let myself down?
I think this might be the danger in edits. You become so critical, you have a hard time seeing what’s worth loving. It’s hard to turn around and dive into the “this is awesome and I love it” stage again. Not to mention, I can’t read the thing like, you know, a reader. I notice every hint and know exactly what’s coming at any time. And I notice everything I think I should have changed. Gods, we’re so much harder on ourselves than we need to be, I think. Creative types are always so much harder on themselves than they need to be.
I need to swallow this feeling. I have two more chapters to edit into the Google Doc file, and the epilogue, and then I need to send this out. I need to let go of my fears and trust in the work I’ve put into this. The work WE’VE put into this, since I know A feels the same way. If I love my characters so much, there must be a reason. I’m too self-critical to love something that’s awful. And, dammit… we worked TOO DAMN HARD for this thing to suck.
So, readers…it’s time for us to be brave, and let our children fly the nest. I’m willing to believe they’ll soar.