The Mess in My Attic

Careful, Kemosabe

I’m nearing the end of edits (knock on every piece of wood available) and my mind’s completely frazzled. I’ve never felt this level of mental exhaustion or frustration. I’m at that point where I’m questioning every word, including those in this blog. Is the tempo correct? What about the subtext? What the hell do I want my subtext to be? Is that what it is?

I’m not sure how to process this frazzlement, though making up words helps. Taking a break sure seems like a good idea, but the brain doesn’t shut off. Watching a movie, reading a book, none of that seems to work.

That scene… THAT SCENE… THAT DAMN SCENE. Should I delete it? I should delete it. But wait, if I delete it, I’ll lose that critical elemental thread to the sequel. But is it really critical? Will anybody even remember the element once the sequel rolls around? Besides, is the subtext of that element even achieving what I think it’s achieving? But if I delete it, I’ll have to rearrange a bunch of scenes. Is that even possible?

Delete it, rewrite it, delete, rewrite, move it to a different spot, delete it, return it, swap it with another scene…. The house of cards inside my mushy noggin teeters with every keyboard stroke.

I’ve truncated and relayed the current clustermuck that is my current process not to evoke sympathy (though if you’ve got some cookies you want to send my way, I will be very thankful), nor to leap into some self-help list for how to deal with what Nathan Bransford calls the Am-I-Crazies, but for transparency, for truth in advertising, for commonality. I remember many times when I was in the trenches thinking that authors, those mystical people with book contracts, had everything figured out.


My inner architect is beckoning. I’ve got a house of cards to rearrange. Now go look at my smiling author photo and know that my book is perfect.    


JM AP Close_StraightJoshua McCune is the author of the Talker 25 trilogy (Greenwillow). Dragons, war, romance (though not with dragons – I don’t do bestiality). First one drops in early 2014


Filed under Editing and Revising

6 responses to “The Mess in My Attic

  1. kevanjatt

    “Second Guess” is my middle name.


  2. You described that stage perfectly. The confidence that everything is right just doesn’t come. There is a point where it feels good enough, though….:)


  3. Replace “scene” with “word” and this is a fairly apt description of picture book writing, too. Thanks for giving us a peek behind the curtain.


  4. Good luck! You can make it through this and with perfection =)


  5. I’m with kevanjatt! I totally second guess myself about scenes. I guess that’s why my cuts file is 300 pages long. It is the home of cut scenes.


  6. “Delete it, rewrite it, delete, rewrite, move it to a different spot, delete it, return it”…now that sounds familiar!

    Best of luck with your edits, Josh!


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