I'm guessing most people coming by here today will be long familiar with the IWSG, but in the event that you're not, the IWSG's purpose is:
To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
(For more information, or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.)
And this month, for the very first time, I am one of the co-hosts. Thank you for the opportunity, IWSG gods!
Now on with the post...
Okay, so there's this episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer in season six (episode four) called Life Serial, in which Buffy tries to figure out what she's going to do with her life. (Note: that is not the point of this post.)
At one point in the episode, she tries working in retail. A customer comes in wanting to buy a mummy hand (true story) for this spell she's working on. When Buffy attempts to fulfill this customer request, she suddenly finds herself in this seemingly never-ending time loop in which she is forced to contend with this (uncooperative) mummy hand over and over again in an attempt to satisfy the customer.
As you can possibly imagine, it doesn't go well. For example, once the mummy hand tries to strangle Buffy. Another time, the mummy hand attempts to strangle the customer. Buffy kills the mummy hand with a dagger (which is where the title of the post comes from, in case you wondered). Buffy chops off the mummy hand's fingers. Buffy tackles the customer, assuming she's the reason why this is happening.
At one point, Buffy's just doing this:
Which brings us to the actual point of this post: (you were beginning to think there wasn't one, weren't you?)
I am trapped in a terrible, vicious editing/revising time loop. My WIP is the uncooperative mummy hand, and I am simultaneously Buffy and the unhappy customer.
And it's my own fault, too. Every time I think I have successfully wrangled the mummy hand (I love this metaphor.), the damn thing manages to escape, or the customer complains, and I have to start all over again.
Now abandoning the metaphor completely for a moment...The beta readers are patiently waiting for the pages, but I'm having a hard time letting the manuscript go. I know the purpose of beta readers is for them to supply the author with feedback on what works and what doesn't work. And if there are story arcs (or anything else) within my manuscript that do not work, they will tell me.
But I don't want to send out something with which I'm not happy. I'm not sure I'm ever completely happy with anything I write (I have issues, I know.), but at the very least, I don't want to send out a story that's making me feel the way this WIP has been making me feel.
Which is to say, restless and edgy and overwhelmed with the sensation that something is just off—even if I cannot put an exact finger on what that something might be.
I feel that sending the story while feeling this way would be wasting my betas' valuable time, and I don't want to do that.
So I've gone a few extra rounds with the mummy hand, and I'm gearing up for one more. There's a story arc in the last third of the novel that I just don't think I've written well enough. This week and next, I intend to take another pass at it.
I think it may be the very last thing I need to do.
Of course, I have said that before.
Have you ever done battle with a mummy hand (either figuratively or literally)? Ever been trapped in an endless revision time loop? How did you break free?
That's all for me today—Thanks for stopping by!