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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm working through the last(or second to last) readthrough of my next novel. It's technically the first one I wrote. I published a different one first,  because it was closest to done.

This one has required so much work to get it to a point I'm happy with, and having mostly positive reviews on my other novel has just made it harder to look at this one.  It's a little paralyzing.

My wife(and primary beta reader and editor) is trying to talk me into letting go of some of the control of it. She says I can dither over the story for years, without finding or fixing any noticeable flaws. She says I already have. (I wrote this one 3 or 4 years ago.) She says I'm just worrying myself because it's so different from the first novel, but that I'll be hurting myself, and hurting it if I continue to look for reasons not to finish it. She wants me to call this draft it... Let her give it one last edit, make sure I haven't introduced new errors, but to not do another full rewrite, just spot-corrections where she sees issues.

I've redone the cover for my first novel, and have been trying to focus on everything but finishing this draft of this one, because I know we'll have to decide how much work I have left on it. The new cover looks good, the other stuff needed to be done, but I'm sure it can't be good to draw this out. I need to either decide whether to set this project aside and pick another one I'm more confident in to follow my first book with, or to decide that this anxiety is just my own insecurity, because I've had reasons to procrastinate on being an "author" for so long, and can't do that any more.

Letting go of the first one was not anywhere NEAR this hard. I sincerely hope that this'll stop by the time I'm ready to release 3 and 4 for the world. Does it?
 

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It is definitely possible to worry a book to death. Has anyone other than your wife read it? I think it might be good for you and the book if you have 3 or 4 beta readers give it a look.
 

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Monique said:
It is definitely possible to worry a book to death. Has anyone other than your wife read it? I think it might be good for you and the book if you have 3 or 4 beta readers give it a look.
I second this. Have more beta readers go through it and implement any good suggestions they have & check it for typos, etc. Then release it into the wild! The book wasn't meant to sit on your hard drive forever. ;D
 

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Nic,

You and your wife are too close to the book.  You need to get this into the hands of people not afraid to tell you honestly the novel's flaws.  Your wife and close friends are likely to think anything you write is excellent.  You need criticism, not praise, in order to render a book suitable for publication.  Get the book into the hands of unbiased readers and those who understand the art of writing.  If you have not yet done this you have no way of knowing whether the book is ready for the world.  Once you publish and start receiving one-star reviews, it's too late.  Your reputation is tarnished and now you have to dig yourself out of a hole.  Better to learn your book is rubbish now, before the general public tears it to shreds.  If it's rubbish and you resist the temptation to publish, you can take the time necessary to work it into gold.  But if you publish garbage, you'll have a difficult time indeed convincing people that you are capable of greatness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When I first wrote it, I had the full thing posted on my blog. No one has seen any of the changes I've made since I began revising it, though that first draft is probably still online in the archives. I had some individual chapters critiqued in a writing group when I first began revising it, and the only feedback was "I like that character" and "I like your dialogue." I wasn't able to get a direction on what needed work from any of it. I offered copies to a few other writers I trust a few drafts back, but so far no one else has actually gotten to go through it.

The biggest changes happened after I got her involved in it... Her critique was scathing, and has improved it a lot. She's the sort of reader you have nightmares about. Every book we own is covered in her annotations on the plot flow, continuity errors, etc. One of the earlier drafts of this, she gave me 10,000 words of harsh criticism, on a 50,000 word draft. I've only met one or two professional editors who could rival her attention to detail and knowledge of writing. We have an ongoing bet how long before she gives me critique that reduces me to tears. It's been close a few times...
 
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