The final edit of the hummingbird overhaul is done. I don't know if I've added enough of an arc to make the majority of readers follow along or not, or if I've added too much sentimentality.
I will wait a couple of days before doing my "read it out loud" final check, but I think it is ready to send to another round of magazines/contests.
It was an interesting process, trying to know when to use and when to discard reader comments. Some were easy. If they came from a clear unfamiliarity with naturalist writing in general, or stressed phrasing that conflicted with my voice, I tended to focus more on their spirit than their letter.Clarity, typos, and awkward phrases were quick fixes. Sometimes it really just take another set of eyes.
I'm so fried right now, I'm not yet sure the new piece is better (see also, "wait a couple of days"). I'm hoping it is. I feel like a few ideas were better fleshed out.
And in (FINALLY) finishing Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, I have also gained a greater appreciation for the work of a naturalist writer. I am thinking now about what I want my writing to do, as surely it must do more than just lie orderly on the page. Fiction writers are best when they are developing and investigating themes (vs just plots)--so too are essayists. I have an idea about some of mine, but it is a topic that needs more investigation.