“Man Enough” needs to be edited. I think it is a great book, and so do 99 percent of the people who have bought it so far. Or at least, the ones who gave me feedback or posted reviews. “Man Enough” was my first novel, and I am still in love with it. But polishing a novel for self-publishing and polishing it to be published by an actual paper publisher are two different things.
So, on the fine advice of one of my favorite authors, and with a list of potential problems in hand, I have taken to editing my baby. I feel like the narrator in that Anne Bradstreet poem.
Yet being mine own, at length affection would Thy blemishes amend, if so I could. I washed thy face, but more defects I saw, And rubbing off a spot still made a flaw.
Right? I love my child. I labored over it, I cried over it, I gave birth to it, and I absolutely love it, but the more I look at it, the more I think about what I could do to help it be better. It’s a conundrum. On the one hand, I am in love with my characters and I want to leave them alone to live their lives in peace and happiness.
On the other hand, couple with my awesome characters are some run-on sentences (from me, who could believe it?!) and perhaps some dangling participles. (Why didn’t one of you let me know I was dangling?) A few minor typos. Some awkward sentences. You know. All of that boring stuff that has to be done if you want a good grade. I have the same problem with research papers. “Beth, you have a great voice and I love your ideas, but you are lazy. Punctuation goes *outside* of the parentheses.” Oh yeah.
This is why I have been awake all night, tossing and turning, and eventually deciding just to get up and work on the damn thing, because there isn’t a magic wand that is going to go through and take care of all of this for me.
So, I am digging back into the mechanics of the thing and hoping to get it done soon because the new novel has been put aside to do this work, and the new novel has absolutely no interest in mechanics. The new novel is all about the love and the raw, sweaty, unfiltered underbelly. There is no editing there. There are no misspellings or run-on sentences or split infinitives. There is only passion. That is, until it is finished and I have to pull myself out of author mode and into editor mode. I much prefer author mode. We are allowed to be careless and eccentric, and we can work in our underwear.