I finished my hand editing of Phase last night. 24 hours before my deadline (my own and enforced by my friend, Haley). The final sixty pages or so was a lot of cutting out scenes, moments because in the process of editing, a lot of things have changed. A lot.
And I’m okay with that. I’m choosing to look at this turn of events (the retirement of my books and rights reversal) as an opportunity to make this (and probably Shift) a better book. I wrote the majority of Phase in 2009 and 2010. Who I was then, as a person and as a writer, is a lot different than the me of now. I wasn’t teaching English at that point and that change in my life has probably affected my writing more than anything else. I’m so much more critical of how I construct sentences, phrases, and everything else. There are parts of the original Phase that make me cringe. Parts that felt so important that they had to stay in the story even if, in hindsight, it doesn’t feel natural or (trendy word here) organic. There are sentences in the book that I stare at now and wonder ‘what was I thinking?’ Paragraphs that feel stilted and disjointed.
I think it’s also my age. I’m thirty-seven. I was twenty-eight when I started this story, in a job I was not fit for and in a setting that turned out to be temporary. How twenty-eight is so young, I don’t know, but it is. I’ve read at least 500 books since then (I’m sure my Goodreads Reading Challenges will support that) and I understand story and life better. I think. Maybe in ten years, I’ll look back on this version of me with the same amount of amusement.
So, Phase is changing…shifting…dare I say…phasing. Events, motivations or manifestation of motivations are all disappearing and appearing. And I think, I hope, that the final story will be even more true to the characters that I love so dearly. Because at its heart, it’s a story about a regular girl, Sophie, and a friendship with someone different than her, Jules, and about that girl realizing that who she is, as herself in all her quirks, is enough. She’s important because she’s herself. No other reason.
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