I’m nervous as I’m editing this second book in the Incomplete States series. The series’ first book, Four On Kyrios, was straightforward for the most part. This book, Entangled LEREs, is well-named, with entangled stories and characters. It reminds me of Slaughterhouse Five meets The Sound and the Fury, Cloud Atlas, and Lincoln in the Bardo. Editing becomes intense for me. I imagine readers asking themselves and the book, “What’s going on? I don’t understand.” Makes me want to revise it to make it clearer and more linear.

The muses push back against that impulse and insist that I don’t change anything. And there it goes, I’m cringing and sweating, thinking, what am I doing? “Trust us,” the muses urge. In response, I hold my head and rub my forehead and temples, and think, pitting desire to change things against the muses’ directives.

The muses remind me, “You’re in the middle of the series. Don’t make any major changes until you’ve gone through all four books.” Right, because the mud settles later, and it all becomes clearer. These are mysteries in mysteries, all part of the concept and story. Yes, I remember writing these chapters and battling the muses about it back then.

Man, it makes me nervous, though. My jaw hurts from gritting my teeth. Should a writer have such a love/hate relationship with their muses and the novel in progress? I remind myself that I was going all in, that, yes, I knew when I was writing it that it would be way out there. I remember those battles with myself from back then. I hope readers can get through it and find the effort rewarding. Even as I nurture that hope, I remind myself, I write for myself. I’m my only guaranteed audience.

I think it’s time to call it a day.


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