Home stretch

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It’s been a struggle to make headway on the edits for the penultimate episode of the novel. It isn’t because Episode Six is particularly thorny or needs a lot of revamping. I’m making it harder because I don’t want to finish.

That’s also untrue. I totally want to finish these last edits. I wouldn’t take on the project of self-publishing my first novel and then drop it two measly episodes away from the finish line. But it was interesting how many obstacles I threw in the way this week.

First I had to write this week’s assignment for the How Writers Write Fiction MOOC. Then I had to submit writing to a literary magazine. Definitely couldn’t wait. Had to be done right away. Then I had to finish the application for a job immediately, even before they sent around the e-mail notifying me that the position was open. Then my meditation class had its last session, and I had all kinds of feelings about it being over that I had to process. Then I needed to cook dinner. Then finish reading Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics (so amazing- more on that later). Then do laundry. Then obsess about whether my back was hurting the same as it did a month ago or worse.

You get the idea.

When I actually dug in, the editing was fine. I did catch myself trying to justify my earlier “difficulties” with editing the episode when my boyfriend asked me what I thought was different about this section. I said stuff about cutting out fewer big sections of text, paying more attention to the tone, and worrying over setting up the final episode. As I talked, I realized those things weren’t the real difficulties.

It can be hard to let a project go. After it’s all finished and up on the website, I won’t be working on it anymore. Then comes the question of what’s next? Does it just stay on my website? Do I promote it in a more thoughtful and elaborate way? Do I try to sell it on Amazon or another online retailer?

Unfortunately, none of these possible next steps include tinkering with this particular plot or these particular characters again for the foreseeable future. I’ve got other characters and other plots rattling around on my computer that need my attention, but that doesn’t mean I won’t miss these guys. (Go ahead and see what they’re up to in Episode Five. Things are getting pretty crazy over there.)

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