First up: some swoon for you.
Moving on. I once saw a blog post on YA Highway from Veronica Roth (FOUR!SWOON!) about how to know when to trunk your manuscript, and how many times you really do have to read and revise your own book before it’s ready to query/publish. One of her points was that you’d better love your own novel because if you are lukewarm on it after revision one, you’re going to want to slit your wrists by the tenth revision (okay of course she didn’t say that, that’s my own dramatic flair).
At the time, we had done a few minor revisions on the book, so I nodded and smiled and maybe even commented with dramatic chin-stroking wisdom how true that all was. But oh man, it’s almost like That Naïve Lo is too cute and silly for words! *pinches own cheeks* Because at that time I could still read our book and get lost in it, I still got excited to edit, I still had a million ideas for how to tweak this or that!
In fact, I loved editing. A prereader would suggest a change and I would be all:
And then I would call Christina and tell her all of my elaborate plans for us she would be all:
But that’s just how our lovely duo works. I’m about charging in and she’s about letting the ideas simmer before acting. We’d always end up on the same page.
At this point, we’ve done maybe
fourteen thousand two hundred and seventy six twenty revisions and sometimes I feel like the least creative person on the planet anymore. I don’t mean we’ve done 20 huge manuscript overhauls. [We’ve had three of those.] By revisions I mean adding or cutting a scene here or there, killing off a minor character (muwahaha), or maybe changing the order of when things happen.
And by “revisions” I’m not even counting the little edits we do every.single.time. we look through the manuscript: word changes, rephrasing, trying to strengthen the voice in a certain section. I mean, we’re getting to the point where we’re changing things like, “his expression shifts from amused to wistful/apologetic/longing” and then I’m like DOES THAT WORD EVEN MATTER THAT MUCH ANYWAY? HE HAS HIS SHIRT OFF, NO ONE IS LOOKING AT HIS FACE.
So I started thinking today that when you get to the point that you can’t possibly see your manuscript clearly anymore, and the only thing you can be sure of is that it’s in English and (mostly) correctly punctuated, maybe it’s time to stop playing with it and send it out? Is losing all objectivity a part of the process? ::waits for successful, published authors to weigh in::
I’ll be honest – I miss the days of infatuation with our book, of planning to read chapter 3-4 and then being surprised when I find I’m lost deep into chapter 29 and didn’t even consider stopping. I don’t get lost in it anymore because I practically have this thing memorized. Christina swears she could sum it up in interpretive dance if the occasion ever calls for it.
Come to think of it, it’s kind of cool to know this wonderful project so well. Like, when I met Mr. Lo and we were all OMG YOU ARE THE MOST AMAZING PERSON ON THE PLANET WITH THE NICEST LIPS EVER WHY CAN’T I SIT IN YOUR LAP ALL DAY LONG and now we’ve been married for nine years and we’re like I LOVE YOU SO MUCH BUT PLEASE STOP TAKING OFF YOUR SOCKS AND PUTTING THEM ON THE TABLE. Or, something like that. It’s still love, it’s just more familiar love, and familiar love is easy and comfortable and the love you chose forever, sock habits be damned.
So it is with the book. It’s so familiar now, it’s hard to see it with fresh eyes. But I miss feeling sure that there was swoon. Maybe just like I sometimes need Mr. Lo to look at me and go “Woah. Hottie in the baggy snowman jammies, come here often?”, I need to take this novel to a different coffee shop and see it with fresh eyes.
Just to be safe, I’ll give it a week free of my revising-fingers.