Editing my YA fantasy novel has been like climbing a cloud-shrouded mountain–I get to what seems the summit, admire the view, and suddenly I get a glimpse of a better view. New possibilities appear and I’m find I’m not at the summit at all. So I climb a little higher, see the vista, and again I see a view that wasn’t there before. So I keep climbing and climbing. Logically, I should reach a point where more editing does more harm than good, but every time I think I’m at that point, I see something more is needed after just a couple days. My family has heard me proclaim this puppy finished more times than I want to think about.
Sometimes the “improvements” are just cosmetic–typos, awkward phrases, etc. Some are dramatic, like changing the POV from 3rd person, past tense to 1st person, present tense. After that last massive change, I honestly can’t imagine taking this to another level, but if I wait a couple days, I know that view may change. There may turn out to be more mountain to go. Luckily, I know it won’t be long before the clouds part and I know the answer.
Part of this frustrating phenomena is that I am not so much looking for how the story reads, but how it feels. I change the words, but it’s the emotional feeling from those words that is my goal, the emotional experience of the story that is more than plot. It’s not so much that I want to read a book, but that I want to experience it, and I expect that from my own writing, too.
So, here I am, once more checking out the view and wondering if I’m there yet.