I think I’ve finally done it. I’ve discovered the joy in editing. Revising the scene structure in my novel in order to address the bigger picture and ensure that my themes are consistent is actually working. Over the last week I’ve taken the first quarter of my novel and really examined what it is that I’m trying to achieve in that first part: establish characters, create conflict, identify a central problem – both external and internal – and introduce the first crucial choice of several for my protagonist. I’ve cut huge swathes of material, swapped whole sections back and forth and sketched out new scenes that better highlight my themes and reflect my protagonists story arc.
I feel I like I truly understand my novel now and I know that I can develop it, polish the language up and present it well. This is it. This is the novel that I imagined. I believe I can do this and do it well. Changing my approach and admitting I needed to step back from the minutiae at the sentence level has made me more confident and reignited my passion for this story.
And, as I write this, I’m listening to a song that sums up my entire struggle with this process. “Wrong for the Right Reasons” – a song that appears in one of my current favourite series, Nashville.
Sometimes you have to have faith in the process and keep on trying. Everything I’ve done up until this point has helped me get here; the ideas that I’ve had, the writing that I’ve dismissed, the characters I’ve been trying to understand – it’s all contributed to the depth of the novel I am now creating. And it’s got the potential to be a great novel – something I’m proud of and believe in.
Now I just have to work hard to get to the end.