The above was twat (hereby past tense of tweet) by Deborah Biancotti last night, and struck a chord with me. I am not a musician, so it was not a very good chord, but a chord none the less.
I'm belly deep in revisions on this sorry sack of soggy scrotum. Revisions are normally painful, as it becomes apparent how much work you have to do to get the draft you wrote to match the Amazing Wonder Power Masterpiece you have envisioned in your head. Typically there is a lot of work. A lot. Of work.
And angst. Lots of that too.
Which I expect, but this time has been harder than usual because, unfortunately, I like this story.
I mean, I like like it. You know. Really.
You know, when you were in school and just starting to think about boys/girls and had a crush on someone, and it was a totally unreasonable crush, there was nothing attractive about this person at all, they were not your type and you never even had the chance to say 'excuse me' when passing them in the hall, but that was irrelevant because you liked them.
This lack of contact meant you'd constructed an image of them in your mind, which was exactly what you wanted them to be. Anything the real person did that contravened that was conveniently ignored for the sake of this daydream, and you couldn't handle any of your friends slagging this person off because that was also in contravention, and you plastered over every such thing and continued blindly on, until the dream wears out and you realise just what a dumbass you've been and omg so embarrassing why did you even admit to liking them?
The fact that I like this story means I can't trust myself with it.
My perspective is skewed, I'm more likely to forgive its flaws, instead of honing in on them and tearing them out with my shark teeth. Hell, I'm so biased I can't even see the flaws (sharks don't have great vision). I'm sensitive to any critique of the damn thing, so I'm arcing up instead of listening and taking that advice.
I am pissing myself off.
How am I supposed to make this story as good as I want it to be if I can't see it properly?
Normally, I don't like my stories. I get excited about them, absolutely. I believe they're worth writing or I wouldn't even start them. I have great fun in exploring them, and I like the challenge, and the (hopefully) final conquest.
But I don't like them, not in that starry-eyed sense.
Much as I hesitate to state any sort of opinion that whiffs of authority, much as I dislike using the word 'should', I'm going to do both, and say this is not the sort of relationship a writer should have with their work.
Tailend revisions should be about breaking up with the work. You need to put distance in, so you can improve it, make it as good as it's going to be, and because you are letting go. Once a story is finished, once it's done and you are not in a position to change anything else in it, nor is there anything left to change, it isn't yours any more. You're the writer. Now you've written it, it isn't being written, it has turned into something to be read.
And readers are going to wade in and read it and not give a shit about you and your sad embarrassing little crush on your story.
It's time to start writing something else.