My intention was to spend a few days finding a 3000 word extract to use for the NW submission. Piece of cake, right? I’ll just do a minor touch-up on a chapter I’ve written for the novel; like air brushing a model. Instead, I spent my time hyperventilating into a paper bag. It’s hard to figure out what my best work is. What best represents me? Writing is the sum of all things: serious bits, funny lines, quirky moments, even those average pages in between. So what is a panicked writer to do? Work up something new of course – something written last minute. I sent the piece to my Uber Editor and he emailed me immediately. You can’t send this. Send the JJ stuff. Send in Jilly! As if my protagonist was some Special Ops commando reserved for nerve wrenching occasions. He tells me that I may want to consider dumping the rest of the novel except for JJ. It is only 70,000 words, he says. Too numb to argue, I put JJ in an envelope and sent it off. Afterward, I question my decision. What am I afraid of? That I’ll bore my readers? That I won’t be able to sustain their interest? How can I write a novel if I don’t have the confidence that I can sustain?