Hat Trick

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It’s difficult to switch from writer to reader. I’m in the final phase of editing, and I’m reading my middle-grade mystery for the umpteenth time to see if it flows, hits the vital plot points, and becomes something the reader will, hopefully, have difficulty putting down.

The reader in me dives in, and becomes engrossed with the Gothic mansion and the scary relative. It’s a good sign. Then the editor in me decides to tweak a phrase, insert a word, or enhance a setting. Reader out, editor in. I scribble my edits, put down the pen, and quietly slip out. Editor out, reader in.

This back-and-forth tussle has been going on for the last two readings. The good thing is that my brain stops with a jolt at a misspelled word or a clunky phrase. The bad thing is that I keep pulling myself out of my own story. I’ve tried wearing one hat through an entire reading, but just as I dedicate myself to reading, the editor makes its demands known. And, vice versa.

As frustrating as it is, I think the reader hat will emerge victorious. There are less stops for the red pen, and more pages being turned to find out what’s going to happen next. I don’t know if the editor’s hat will ever be set aside, even when the book is published – that seems to be a trait I have, wondering if I should have used a different phrase, word, or color.

And yet, the story needs to be finished. I need to call it “done,” send it out into the great, wide world, and see if it can stand on its own. It’s time.

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