Revisions, Yet Again

I'm at the nausea stage of revising my novel--that is, the thought of other people reading it nauseates me and, I worry, reading it would nauseate them too.

On yesterday's walk, I noticed this balsam, which made me think of revising all over again.

The rust-colored branch that's hanging down was cut but not severed when the municipality trimmed back the trees growing over the street. I didn't stop to check closely, but I think the extending branch was damaged at the same time.

I don't know enough about the secret lives of trees to know why or when or exactly how, but I have noticed that evergreens also prune themselves. They drop needles that are no longer useful to them. These branches had help, but trees back in the bush are also dropping growth.

Which is what I've tried to do with this novel--get rid of the parts that aren't useful, that no longer work. The novel has taken several twists and turns through the years, as I've learned and experimented and despaired. The kernel I'm exploring is the same, the relationships still fascinate me, and I love the setting. But in working through all its iterations, I've gone down a few blind alleys.

The point is, like the tree, my novel doesn't need some of those branches any more. I've tried to get rid of them, but I know I've missed several.

Still. The tree grows over the course of several years. So has this novel. They're still pruning. And so can I.