Reading through a galley proof of a soon-to-be-published work can, I’ve discovered, make you very insecure about your writing. While I was looking over “The Meaning of Vengeance,” every bit of awkward phrasing, every cliched or often-used (by me) expression began to rear its ugly head. (Look! There’s another cliche!) And it’s too late to fix it. It’s on its way out the door.
By the time you get to the end of the manuscript, you wonder if anybody could possibly like this dreck.
I’ve been through this before, when editing my stories. Usually, it passes. I’ll pick up the manuscript a month later and re-read it, and suddenly it seems really good. How could I ever have doubted it?
Of, course, after I work on it for a while, it goes back to being dreck.
So, I’ve learned to ignore my manic-depressive mood swings concerning my writing — or at least try to — having faith that the final product will be good. I’ve been honing my writing skills for a very long time now, and very little that I write is completely terrible. Most, in fact, is pretty good.
But this is the first time I’ve reviewed something that’s about to be published. Soon, readers who aren’t friends of mine will be looking through those pages, noticing the awkward phrasing about Ari’s beard and hair (Is it just the beard that he keeps closely trimmed? Or is his hair close-cropped, too?), and the bad line expressing Geirr’s doubts about Ari’s love. Will the reader be disgusted and put it down? Will they think my characters are dull and the romance unexciting?
Will they realize that the god, Frey, never really had antlers on his head in Norse mythology?!
Well, okay, that last one might be a bit esoteric…