I have been armpit deep into a major developmental edit for the last eight months. It’s one that has delayed my getting Virtually Yours Forever off the ground and into the query queue for nearly a year.
Keep in mind that before I decided to go off the deep end and explore the possibility of adding a parallel plot line and three more characters, I thought the book was done – finished – completed. I’d edited it at least three times with my ED4Life, and ran it by another independent editor for a second opinion just to be on the safe side. (The second opinion was glowing, by the way. And this from a women who had not read the original novel.)
But then came this idea… This crazy idea that would bring the story into current times. That would add a layer of whacky. That might spin off into a screenplay. (Definitely could see this on the screen, oh, yes!)
This story line would need a ring of authenticity, so I enlisted a former employee who happens to work for the Feds to point me in the right direction. He can’t give me specifics, but I hoped he might okay the gist of what I was going for, or reel me in if I was totally off the wall.
And while I think the idea has merit (if I can pull it off), I think my original idea has merit, too. It’s not like there wasn’t enough going on with the Virtual Moms; if anything, their plates were not just full, but overflowing.
Which has lead me to the current train of thought: Can a writer tweak too much?
I know with other areas of the arts, yes, yes, you can fiddle too much. Take painting. You can add and add until your vision is obscured by busy-ness. You can get too close or fret over tiny issues that a random observer isn’t even going to notice.
After all, less is more, right?
On the other hand, an artful layering will be picked up – and appreciated – by discerning eyes.
As artists, we tend to worry about the finished product. Is it ready? Could I have done more? Will people enjoy it?
And so, the conundrum. At some point, you have to trust your heart and your judgement. You have to step back and let it go. Hope for the best, and move on to the next project, because worrying is not productive.