I’ve spent the last week looking over galleys of my novel, The Unremarkable Squire. This stage of publication is a strange one for me.
First, I start over-analyzing all my sentences. Is this really the best word here? (Never mind I’ve asked the same question a half-dozen times over as many previous edits.) And then I start to wonder how anyone could read such a thin, contrived piece of work. And if they do read it, isn’t it likely to come off as bland and rushed and derivative?
(This, of course, is the latest version of the writer hating his own work. Which happens about every other draft. Possibly more.)
The more I read, though, the more it becomes clear I couldn’t have written this book. Whose characters are these? Where did they come from? How did they come to say such things? Who placed the events of the plot in such a nice order?
Fact: The process by which ideas transmogrify into a story is suspect and mysterious and should not be trusted.
Then there are the passages I love, that I’ve always loved, and that I’ll open to randomly once the book’s on my shelf.
And I remember the witch’s brew of ingredients that created the story and that no one will care about (nor should they)–Celtic myths and my Old Testament college class and random Greek words and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (not the movie, just the title) and an old cartoon character I used to draw. And so on.
It’s an old book, started more than 10 years ago, and a new book, the final chapters added a year or so ago.
It’s a ridiculous book with a dry sense of humor, full of physical comedy. Oh, and some theological grounding (if you care about such things).
I’m pretty much convinced that it’s a good book and that no one will read it and that everyone who reads it will be very polite about it. (That’s the tongue-in-cheek paranoia.)
I’ve ten more pages to proof before I decide it’s both the ending it needed and not ending enough.
In conclusion, an author should not and cannot properly evaluate his own novel. At least, I can’t.
Still, I think you’ll like it.