The euphoria of finishing a novel, which for me is generally a yearlong process, fades quickly when the editing starts. I thought I’d overcome the perils of being a panster (rather than a plotter) by working with a developmental editor.
I appreciate the help of my critique partners, which have resulted in a need for major reworkings of my new Contemporary Western/Women’s Fiction. But even an Urban Fantasy completed and heavily edited multiple times since 2017 needs more before being submitted, which lead me to believe there will always be room for changes.
Market trends certainly play a part, since what readers want, and as a result what editors are looking for are moving targets. But the bottom line always seems to be cutting scenes that are not helping to build tension and conflict, and those that don’t advance the storyline.
For the urban fantasy, what is probably the fifth major edit resulted in re-ordering the opening chapters and cutting scenes that only involved the protagonist’s internal struggles. But for the Contemporary, the third major edit will require removing most of the first chapter, and then re working the next five or six to accommodate those changes.
That will ramp up the tension and conflict, but my own personal tension and conflict about the process have been so high it’s been paralyzing. The complexity of the task is also colliding with the writing on the next book in the series. Keeping track of how all the plot threads change will require a time consuming methodical process of tracing from Book One through Book Two.
I wonder if full time writers struggle same distractions that part time writers face that have prevented me from just doing it. Then again, considering the stress, the losses, the distractions and the difficulties we all have been experiencing over the past year makes a bit of writer’s block seem far to trivial to worry about.