Right now I’m struggling through my own copy edit pass before handing it off to a fresh copy editor. Why am I struggling? It’s not the grammar rules or the spelling. Most of that is correct. Well, it looks correct. Maybe I’m actually a terrible copy editor, and I’m missing all manner of mistakes.
No, what I’m struggling with are errors in the next level up. That sentence is awkward. I have used this word too many times. No, he didn’t run quickly from the room. He bolted from the room. And ouch – that’s a point-of-view error. What am I doing in her head when this is clearly his scene? God, how many more pages left in this chapter… was it always this slow?
I don’t think it’s necessarily as bad as all that. Perhaps more than anything it’s that I’m reading the text slowly with a critical eye. Then add the fact that this is at least my fifth reading of the novel. There aren’t many surprises left for me. I’m not wondering if they’ll survive the attack. I’m wondering when, for the love of God, is this bloody attack going to finally be over? And enough with the fucking split infinitives already!
It also doesn’t help that I’ve got two more novels under my belt that my memory tells me are much better. That’s natural, of course. The more you write, the better you get. But at the moment this feels like a night and day difference. Then again, these other novels haven’t gone through the kind of scrutiny that this one is getting.
This is probably the point where a lot of writers trunk that first novel, except I don’t know if I can really even call this my first novel. I’ve already trunked two incomplete novels, plus the trilogy that never got off the ground (despite about 30,000 words of world-building) and the 250,000 words of short fiction that came before that.
Of course, I’m not alone in this. Every writer goes through this as some point in their career. Not all of those that persisted made it, but none of the ones who quit did.
And so I persist.
Wait, was that supposed to be in first person or not?