Editing by reason of insanity

Am I merely incompetent? Without talent? Haven’t read enough books? Haven’t written enough words? Or is everything going swimmingly and I’m on track to be the next Diana Gabaldon?

Wait, who said that?

Why am I asking you?

Moving slowly but steadily through the teenth (no, not tenth) round of editing/revising my literary upmarket women’s historical adventure thriller novel—did I miss anything?—and I’ve been doing my best not to go full-metal bugshit or fall into the “why-bother-this-is-all-pointless-drivel-so-let’s-all-walk-into-the-lake-with-pockets-full-of-stones” trap … but it’s been tough going.

Sometimes, after eight or nine hours straight of rewriting and double-checking and hunting for just the right word or deleting words which have been overused, I start to feel a little nutty.

Geezus! I haven’t read my most favorite book fifteen times, but that’s prolly the total number of reads I’ve given my very own scribbles.

And I’m not done yet.

As of today, I’m probably at the half-way point of what I’m calling the final-final-FINAL-holy-shit-I-do-mean-final!!! edit on this thing.

I love my book but I’m ready to move on to the “People Actually Reading The Fucking Thing For Pleasure” stage of the game.

I have other books and short stories and pissy blog entries I want to write.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the story. I haven’t read or viewed one like it. And I’m confident in the themes and plotting, and I genuinely like and loathe the appropriate characters.

That must mean I’m ready, right?

Problem is, I’ve been here some thirteen or fourteen or eleventy-seventy times before.

I’ve honestly lost count on the number of times I’ve gone over the manuscript after obtaining feedback from beta readers, editors, cornered family members, desperate vagabonds, indentured orphans, and one rather vulgar sock puppet.

After several years—maybe closer to five—I’ve about had it with this thing. And, because I’m neither elvish, vampire, nor Betty White, I don’t have the rest of eternity to blow on this project.

So, by the powers vested in me by narcissistic delusions and dangerous amounts of whiskey, I really really really believe the work I’m putting in this time will be the last work I need to do in order to land an agent.

Do people “land” agents? Like a fish? Trap? Is that better? Gonna trap me an agent. That doesn’t sound too creepy, does it? Well, answer me!!!

They say to set deadlines. So, I’ve given myself about one more month—until Thursday March 28—to finish smoothing and polishing and other floor-waxing related terms.

And then, when I have declared literary victory over … myself? … I shall query the handful of agents I’ll have by then vetted.

Because I don’t want to fall for another door-to-door phone service scam or get back into vacuum sales or end up like one of those sad Scottish coal miners Tom Follett keeps writing about.