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Firstly, a quick introduction to this novel since apparently I haven't mentioned it before :). Key That Must is the result of needling, pushing, prodding, and prompting from my oldest son. For his 10th birthday, he wrote a poem to go with a DnD game. It's a masterful epic verse. He then turned on me (not to me ;)) and demanded a story. It took maybe a year to start an idea going, and shortly thereafter, I realized the idea would never fit within a short story. So Key That Must was conceived and then born for NaNo 2004. Here it is 2007, my son is 14, his poem now has some 4-5 verses, and the first edit/feedback round on the novel is complete.

I've now received the feedback on Key That Must. Why is it that all my novels seem to require serious rewrites of late? Is it because I'm working on tales that are not so easy to tell? Or have I become lazy?

Really, I don't think either of those questions gets to the heart of it, which is simply that my stories aren't leaving me once I write The End. They're lingering, having discovered this grand process called editing and wanting to make sure they get some.

This has at least one noticeable consequence: It doesn't matter if I wait a week or two years, I still won't be able to approach the story with objective eyes.

Thank goodness for critters and good ones at that :). The feedback I've been given helps me pinpoint where I succeeded and where I failed. Finally, I understand what people say when they edit to get closer to their initial vision. I don't have to like it, but I can understand it.

What all this means is that I've got some tough edits ahead of me, but I've also got the ability to see through the confusion to the path once I'm given a lantern. The Key That Must that I end up with will be structured differently than the original, but it should bring people to the heart of the story, an admittedly complex one hidden under a common garb.

Hey, I've always said I wanted to be like Shakespeare, able to tell a tale on many levels. Well, I'm halfway there. I can conceive of stories with many levels to them. Now getting that blending down is the next step :).

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Margaret McGaffey Fisk

April 2017

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