The Art of Second-Guessing

Handwritten page showing second-guessing with crossoutsMy massive revision of Veritas (a YA sci-fi) is moving apace. Some chapters fight me hard—I have so much to revise and add that I virtually (and sometimes literally) rewrite them. But some chapters I tweak. Perhaps add a sentence or a few phrase. Those chapters provide a break for me, but when I get several “tweak” chapters in a row, I start second-guessing myself.

After struggling with a chapter that knocks me down, talks back to me, and generally kicks me around, when I get a tweak chapter I feel like I must be missing something. I mean, it can’t be that easy. Not when the last chapter was so hard. There must be some glaring mistake I am not seeing.

So I scrutinize and I poke and I prod, but I end up back where I started. I think this chapter is all right. But am I right? Second-guessing.

Marked-up manuscript--no more second-guessing!Luckily, this is where critique partners come in. They will look at my chapters, the fighters and the tweaks, and tell me if I’ve missed something. If weaknesses hide beneath the polished surface. They will tell me what doesn’t ring true, what doesn’t feel real, and what knocks them out of the story. Hopefully, this revision will have fixed most of those things.

Once I get their feedback, I will no longer second guess myself. Until then, I will continue to plod through the revision. I’ve just finished chapter 36…of 83. So there is plenty of second-guessing ahead for me!

What about you? Do you find yourself wondering what you’ve missed when revisions seem “too easy”?

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