On editing… and pointillism

The blog is quiet. I think spiders have taken up residence in the dusty corners of this blog. I’ve seen a tumbleweed skip by. Oh sure, I whizzed in to tell you about some events, but that hardly constitutes an entry, does it? What on earth have I been doing?

For the most part? Revisions, revisions, revisions.

Since I finished Book Two (by the way, I finished book two – did I mention that? Yay me!) , not a single person has read a word of it other than me. That’s because it’s my first draft, and, well… ugh. I know some writers who whip out completely polished first drafts from the get-go (my envy knows no bounds), but most other writers seem to wade through the same muddy first draft waters as me. The first draft throws down the clay, the revising is where it gets the polishing and shaping.

I’ve been polishing like mad.

For some reason, it’s made me think about pointillism.

by Georges-Pierre Seurat

by Georges-Pierre Seurat

And coincidentally, I’ve also read articles recently about Hal Lasko, a 98-year-old MS Paint pixel artist


and Liza Lou this bead artist who covered an entire kitchen (including tablecloths, breakfast cereals, you name it) in millions of tiny glass beads


I’m not an artist, but these pictures blow me away. I can imagine Lou sitting down to her work, maddeningly gluing one bead at a time, making sure every bead is in the right place. For Seurat, every brush stroke. For Hal, every pixel. Whatever their chosen medium, they are focused on the minutiae.

That’s what I feel like at the moment. I feel like my manuscript is magnified to 500%, and I’m making sure every word fits just right. Each one of those 92,484 words is big and important to me right now. I’m deleting, moving, adding words with care and scrutiny.

But now, there’s the fear. I wonder if those artists ever felt this: the fear that when they step back from their drawing or their sculpture – when they look at their finished work as a whole – it won’t have come together as perfectly as they envisioned. In fact, they pull away and they realise it just looks like a messy blob. The dots don’t come together. They don’t blend to the eye. They don’t form a cohesive whole.

This is the stage I’m at. I’ve fussed over the words. I’ve magnified and examined and prodded and poked at my manuscript, but when I step back from it and read it as a single piece… will it hold up? When someone else looks at it, will it survive the scrutiny?

As always, the only way I will be able to tell is once I’ve let it go, out into the wild… or maybe I’ll just hold onto it a little longer.


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