A quick reflection or two, here on New Year's Eve:
I want to get my debut novel, The Single Eye, published as soon as possible. Yes, I need to finish my current edits. Yes, I ought to and shall let it rest for a month or two before I go over it one last time and then launch it out into the fearsome sea of readership. But I've decided that late March to mid-April is my farthest-out deadline for publication.
Why? Because I'm an egomaniac.
*Pauses while she hits herself upside the head and calls herself a silly goose*
Sorry. Correction: I need to get it published by then so I can take advantage of a sure-fire opportunity to do some face-to-face marketing. I've won a free ride to the annual Pennwriters' conference the third weekend in May, and I'd be an idiot not to have my book there ready to show my colleagues. Heck, maybe I could even get a little space at the Saturday afternoon authors' fair (though that may be open only to those who are trad published). Imagine it: Me handing out swag and selling (I hope!) my very own book!
So how much more pre-letting-it-rest editing will I do? First, I'll finishing evaluating my beta readers' comments and incorporating their perspectives as appropriate. Second, I'll finish redoing the places I myself know need redoing, whether anyone else has told me so or not. Third, I'll get rid of those passages where up to now I've told myself, "Yeah, that's a little cheesy and even kind of narrator-intrudery, but I'll leave it in because Ms. X the Famous Writer gets away with prose like that, and besides, I'm a first-time author and no one expects me to be that good." No. If I find myself looking around guiltily hoping nobody will notice What I Did There, the word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, whatever, needs to be excised and sent to the Outtakes File.
I'm setting the end of January to complete all that. Or the third week in, preferably.
My erstwhile beta reader told me that for my novel properly to fit the Suspense genre, I need to have scenes from the villain’s point of view, so the reader can worry about the awful things he has in mind for the protags and feel all the delicious frustration of not being able to warn them against it. ("Delicious frustration" is how I sum it up, BTW.)
I don’t dispute that this can be a good way to proceed. But for this novel, it ain’t happening. A) Because the book’s too long as it is, b) because I don’t want to get my mind too deep and dirty into that racist SOB’s plans and schemes, and c) because said plans and schemes involve way more people than just my protags, and it’d really get off topic if I showed him masterminding the whole nefarious plot. Besides, I don’t want to reveal the scope of the whole nefarious plot to the reader until the last part of the book. I want him or her to be uneasy . . . even though he’s not sure what he's uneasy about.
However, I definitely want to keep the reader aware that the villain is still working away against the protags, even after they’ve come more or less safely through his initial campaign against them. To that end, I’ve added a few lines to a couple of otherwise-innocent scenes, that will make it obvious to the reader that the male protag, at least, is being watched, tracked, followed, and cased out— even if at this point he’s not actually being harmed. Hopefully that will keep the ominous note going underneath, even when the main theme of a scene may be cheerful.