I finally finished my second novel now entitled Tall Pauley. In previous posts it was entitled Saint Pauley, but under the influence of my first readers, I changed the name. And I think it is a much better fit. If you want to read portions of the final version, you can go to Authonomy.com. I have posted the first 12 chapters there. You can give feedback to what you read there as well. So, when I say the book is "finished" what I really mean is that I am letting it breath before I attempt to publish it.
The last few weeks of a book are some of the most grueling things to deal with. I have to approach it as a job and that there are certain things that must be done to get it as close to complete as possible. No matter how many times I read it, there always seems to be something that could be better and there are always typos!
But a long time ago I learned some important things about art. I am a visual artist as well as a writer, although coming to terms with myself as a writer took far longer! In those early days of being a college art student I over-painted and over-drew many pieces. Some of those things an eraser could take care of, others required being repainted, and yet others just were not worth any more time and effort. But, each piece taught be something new. I learned to see each piece as a step in the right direction--no matter how awful or wonderful it had come out. And here is what I learned in that process. All art is a process. It is a beautiful, magnificent, hard-won battle to create and re-create something from my imagination.
There is something else I learned as well. And that is that art in its "final" form is never perfect. I still look at some of my paintings and drawings and think of how that part could be different, or that color could have been deeper, or . . . That could go on ad infinitum! But to truly let it be what it is, one part of the process, I have to let it be what it is. I have to leave it alone standing on its own merits, permitting the viewer to think and say about it what they will. Only when I got to this point could I enjoy my own art and not over-draw or over-paint it into ugly muddiness.
Because of those early lessons in visual art, I found it easy to translate that into the art of writing fiction. With my first fictional love being short stories, this process is a far easier thing than that of a novel. I used to wonder why authors would only publish one book a year. Now I know! The love and care and feeding and revising and editing and adding and subtracting--this is the stuff of writing. And then I have to let it go! I have to let it go to stand on its own merits. I also need to let it go so that I can continue to improve. If I stay in that one novel, what opportunities would I miss by taking on a new subject or a new point of view? I don't ever want to miss an opportunity to explore and create more. So I will let Tall Pauley rest and move on to another adventure in art.