This week I finished reading, for the fourth time in six months, my debut novel The Confessions of Adam. This was my last reading. With an advance reader copy in hand, it was the last opportunity to edit the text. I finished the novel.
Three thoughts come to mind at this milestone:
- It is strange to be so familiar with a text. A sort of blindness sets in, an inability to process any further what text is doing. Instead of learning more about the intent of the story with each pass or draft, I now learn what the story is about from readers, from engaging with readers in conversation about the novel.
- I’ll not do it again. The temptation is to say to oneself, ‘I must do this again. I must write another novel like this one.’ But the fact is I won’t. I won’t do this again. The next novel will be different in more ways than it is similar. The next novel will have its own challenges and personality. Each book is a unique, a custom effort.
- You never finish a book, you just stop. Leading up to this reading, there had been dozens of beta readers and editors, including Cyndi and I. Yet we still identified around 35 edits. I am convinced that I could read this novel every month for the next year and find changes I want to make. It is time to stop, to go to press. I’ve done all I can.
So long, Adam of Eden and Oren of Susa. It has been a pleasure working with you.