So the lesson here, I think, is that I need to take time between drafts, and to make sure the books are as good as I can make them before I send them off. If I have doubts, then hold back.

I'm much better about this than I used to be, but I still have a ways to go.

It took 3 months to see "Deadfall Ridge" clearly. I mean, early on I saw that I probably needed to jettison Chapter 2, but the information kind of went with the rest of the set-up. When I figured out how to get rid of the rest of Hart's motivation story, then Chapter 2 could be sacrificed too.

A perfect example, by the way, of killing your darlings. I really, really like Chapter 2, and feel it works as a short story. I may just do that. Put it out as a short story.

Could I have waited 3 more months? As it turns out, why not? It's not like the publisher is in a hurry.

So I'm going to read through "Deadfall Ridge" today and tomorrow, adjust it to the new beginning, and then...send it off. Maybe if the publisher is on the fence, this will sell it. Maybe he'll just be annoyed, but no harm there because that will mean he'd already rejected it.

I still have a decision to make about the order of chapters. I may move the second Sherm chapter up to be the 3rd chapter over all, and only bring in Hart as the 4th chapter. Since he's the main character, that seems a little strange. would probably make more sense. I've now built up Amanda and Sherm to the extent that it doesn't seem so very out there.

The more I think about it, the better it sounds.

(Yep, that scans. Also throw in a scene of Amanda putting the box in the back of the Jeep, then everything makes sense.)

This new version makes Hart more of a "North by Northwest" Cary Grant-like innocent wondering what the hell's going on. 

Anyway--waiting for clarity is good, and along with it come a willingness to cut and change, which is harder when I've just finished.

I've decided to wait until Oct. 5 before starting on  the rewrite of"Takeover." Give myself a full month away from it. Give myself time to see everyone's input.  Hopefully gain clarity and perspective and the willingness to make changes, to kill my darlings, to be ruthless in pursuit of a good story.

This especially works if I've sent the new version of "Deadfall Ridge" to Gary for his consideration.

In the end, the books will be better for it, no matter what happens on the publishing front.