I am in the process of editing – and as those who have read the unfinished work can attest – I am swamped.
No worries though, because the book I started out with is not necessarily the book I am drawing to a close. I’ve learned a few things along the way – including things about verbs, sentence structures, and not repeating myself. I’ve also learned to use a thesaurus, but the most important thing is to conserve words like they are breathes left in a scuba tank when you are too far from the surface to make it home. That means that I do not need to repeat myself.
Also, considering that some of the submitted SBL paper (rejected) is in the book, I am now very thankful that the paper was not accepted. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not a good self-editor on the fly. So, I print the chapters out, use a red pen or three, and then edit back into the electronic copy. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed that I was rejected for the SBL paper on Mark, but most likely, if they did accept it, I would not have touched it until the day before the meeting. Oh well, maybe next year.
I’ve changed focus on a few areas. Instead of narrative criticism, I am leaning more to form criticism as the natural home for mimetic criticism. Narrative helps, but it seems too focused on the modern audience. Maybe I am wrong here, but I am in doubt that the ancient author worried about character development; I am convinced that the ancient author worried about audience development. The story is not internal, but external, or at least in Mark’s case.
I have come to appreciate the Classics more in this process. If I had all the time and money I needed, I would seek out degrees in that field as well as New Testament.
As this is my first book, I am trying my best to make sure it is as near perfect as I can make it. I think the premise is sound and it I can prove it. But, the writing is what worries me. I once could write in beautiful poetic prose, but I did not use it; I lost it. Now, I find my writing dry, barren, depressed. I want words and sentence structures that whip the audience into an emotional delight, but maybe that is only for fiction.