The Neverending Edit

A couple of good (read: productive) days of editing the novel have got me feeling, well, productive about my time off from work thus far, but they also have me mired in doubt. I feel kind of like the horse… was it Artex? … from The Neverending Story, who wandered into the swamp of sadness or whatever and finally got so depressed and full of doubt that he was unable to move and just sank into the depths with hardly a whimper. (By the way, what the hell? Who puts something like that in a movie ostensibly for children? Let’s just have this horse — beloved by one of the main characters of the film — just fargoing give up on life. That won’t scar the children in the audience forever. Come to think of it, that movie as a whole is actually pretty bleak. The entire story world gets sucked up into The Nothing? This vast, invisible, intractable force? Okay, let me un-digress…)

Yeah. Mired. I feel like the leg of the edit I’m working on is a solid one, one that does good things for the story, but I’m afraid that I’m doing it all wrong, and as a result, I’m afraid to take much further action. Fearful of breaking the thing further. Fearful that I’ve sunk in dozens of hours working in the wrong direction. Which is probably why I’ve been hiding from the novel behind all those excuses for the past couple weeks.

But we all know that the only thing hiding accomplishes is wasted time, and running from the inevitable means you only die tired. No, the thing to do is to lean into the skid, embrace the suck, power through the rest of this edit, and brace myself for the feedback to come. Because I’m pretty sure that, after I can get all the sprockets and gizmos stuffed back into the chest cavity and do one more polishing pass, I’m going to send it out to some readers and solicit some feedback from a mind that isn’t mine.

And, boy, oh, boy. That was an idea I had pretty much already decided upon in my head, but actually giving voice to it and putting it in writing fills me with an entirely new sense of dread. For all that I think I’m telling a good story, that I think it works and will resonate with audiences, I simply can’t know.

A metaphor that gets tossed around in my life as a teacher is that “we jump out of the plane and build our parachute on the way down,” which always gets a few laughs but is really a horrible way to approach education. The metaphor is apt, though, for the writing world, I think. I just have to trust that this parachute I’m building won’t be shredded like my confidence when I finally unfurl the thing.

Trying for a short story by the end of the week, but outside of that, I may give myself a few days off from the blarg. All the cool kids are doing it, and there is a lot of action for our family (families) at Christmas. So, you know. This might be my last entry for a few days. Unless it isn’t.

Late-night indecision is fun!

Also, look at the lame-o who calls 10:30 late-night! What a sap!