I feel a mini-rant/rage creeping up on me. All because I allowed self-doubt to wedge a space between what I knew to be true and real for the characters, their histories, their current circumstances, and the uncertain futures facing them all… and reader prejudices, expectations and entitlements.
I chose to edit the last book in the series through to the first, carefully parsing the overarching plot and the individual, self-contained dramas enacted on a more intimate scale.
I was working up to altering significantly the plotlines and outcomes for at least two of the books, until I got to book #2 today, and realized how wrong, how inauthentic, how downright obscene it would be for me to cave to readers with nothing more than self-indulgent triggers and little understanding of the human condition, of what makes us unique, frail and ultimately worthy of forgiveness… and love.
During the edit, I did change wording, along with punctuation and the usual adjustments that come with a fresh eye on old material, but those words were forged to strengthen, not emasculate, the emotional core of men struggling with those most intimate of feelings. Men for whom emotional detachment was a modus operandi, until circumstances drove them to confront the consequences of their actions, to make choices, and to fully own their own feelings.
Book 2 ends on a bittersweet note, and a ray of hope, but there’s no fantasy ending here where love conquers all, forever and ever and ever. Rather, it ends in the bosom of reality.
I’m heading into book 1 now, feeling better about my writing than I have in a very long time.
I know this thing, but it required reaffirmation—that I must write to please myself, to be true to my worldview, to respect my characters, their circumstances, their uniqueness, and to be the conduit for their voices and their stories.
To all who have supported that vision, who have given Story the respect it deserves… to you all, thank you.
The question should be, are we good enough.