Here we go again. It’s phase three of the A Housefly in Autumn remodel. As I predicted, between rewriting the middle and obsessing over the beginning, I’ve come to that time when I feel compelled to tweak the ending.
The good news is that it’s only the last couple of paragraphs I want to redo. The bad news is that those last two paragraphs contain a mother lode of tone. That’s not bad news in itself; it’s only bad news when you want to change them. It’s like changing whole pages at the beginning or whole chapters in the middle.
For the beginning, the concern is drawing readers in. At the middle, the worry is keeping them. The finale needs to hit just the right note. I think my previous note was a little flat and I’m trying to sharpen it up a bit.
When they are the last two paragraphs, two paragraphs can seem like a mountainous rewrite. It certainly has taken me more time than any two other paragraphs ever have. I’m still not completely satisfied, but at least I’m moving in the right direction.
On the bright side, I don’t have to count this late alteration as a self-induced delay to publication. This time I got smart and started obsessing about something while I was still waiting for my expert proofers to finish reviewing their copies. By the time they are done, this behemoth, two-paragraph rewrite should be complete.
At that point, I can feel good that I’ve given beginning, middle, and end their fair shares of obsessing and overthinking. The book will be as good as I can make it, lacking another 20 years’ worth of wisdom, for which I am not willing to wait.
It may seem like I’ve been talking about this book for 20 years already, but that’s just not true. I’ve been working on this book for 20 years (probably a mere 18, but who’s counting?). I’ve only been talking about it publicly for, well, far shorter than that.
Even so, I realize it may seem like I’ve been posting about this book for a long time without actually producing something like a book. No one feels this incongruity more keenly than I do. But no one sees the light at the end of the tunnel more clearly than I do. I am two short paragraphs away from concluding that it is what it is. Then all who are so inclined may judge for themselves whether I should have waited for 20 years more wisdom.
At that point, I can turn all my worries toward marketing. Marketing has been known to make me whine like a first grader with liverwurst on pumpernickel in his lunch box. Now that’s something to look forward to. Stay tuned.