A question for you, my little pretty one, pretty one: Do all writers behave this way, or am I just particularly insane? Because I've been working on my novel for roughly five years now AND I JUST CHANGED IT. AGAIN.
I was almost done my edits, almost ready to give my manuscript to the freelance editor I've hired. And then I went and changed it. It's pretty major stuff, too, what needs to be rewritten. All the subtle weaving background stuff, underlying motivation, showing without telling stuff. Ugh.
As much as it grilled my cheese to realize that these changes are necessary, these changes are necessary. My subplot is so annoyingly complicated with so little pay-off for the reader. Here's the gist:
See there's this secret, yeah, a secret from my main character's past that only certain secondary characters know about. This secret unfolds slowly, gradually, until... well, nothing. But wait! There's more! See, it turns out that those secondary characters don't know the whole truth, only bits of it, bits that my main character keeps to herself, buried under trauma and disease and religion and snow and self doubt and and... wait! There's more! There's a secondary narrator, too! She tells her own story through these diary entries that are supposed to be subtle and mysterious... but you pretty much know what's up from the beginning. And she's connected to the main character who's connected to the secondary characters...
I mean, wow, talk about overkill. It was impossible to show and not tell. I could barely keep the subplot straight and I'm the one who made it up!
When I started writing this revision I thought, hey, it's literary fiction -- plot elements are allowed to dangle without ever amounting to much. And then I read Cloud Atlas and was terribly disappointed. All that delicious language and set-up, and for what?
I don't like reading those books, why the hell would I write one?
Anyhoo, I'm not upset about the changes, the making of, the realization of. Keep it simple stupid, and all. But what I am upset about is how these changes make me feel. And how they make me feel is this: that this project will never be complete.
This book is starting to feel like a growth, like one of those benign tumors with hair and teeth and a heartbeat -- a teratoma is what it is. I love my teratoma because it's a part of me. But it's sort of sucking the life out of me, too.
If you're having a bad day like I am, read this. It didn't cheer me up today, but it may do the trick for you.