Recalibrating

I’m over halfway through the current round of revision of The Book of the Dead, which has been going swimmingly. Until yesterday. I was in the middle of one of my favorite scenes, about to re-introduce a character, when…bam, all of the sudden I can see an arc for him that I have never contemplated.

It literally stopped me in my tracks. I had to write down the bare bones of the idea, close my laptop, and stop working to let it incubate.

On one hand, it’s fairly late in the game to be making a big change. This was supposed to be a semi-final draft (if such a thing even exists). On the other, the new trajectory that came to me in a flash solves about three problems that I’d been worrying over: one about representation, one about reception, and one about pacing.

So today, when I was supposed to be polishing up a chapter, I am about to re-structure three. We’ll see how it turns out.

Dodging Doubt

It’s that time again, when I depart from my mountaintop university, drive six hours, and end up back home in an existential crisis. It comes from lack of structure.

How will I attempt to abate this? Writing, of course!

I plan to knock out a final-ish draft of The Book of the Dead in the next month and a half before I leave for Ecuador so I can hit the ground querying when I get back. My goal is at least half a chapter a day, using the process I detailed in this post. I’m fighting a lot of doubt right now over just about every aspect of the story, so hopefully total immersion in it will belay that.

I found a quote on tumblr that I will be referencing when I feel  this way: “when u dont like ur art take a deep breath and remember u created it from nothing, like a god” —hypeswap

I think this can apply just as well to writing. Nothing like a power trip to chase away hesitation. I’d love to hear others’ ways of coping with doubt.

 

Editing Editing Editing

EDITING. Endless, exhausting, invigorating. It’s how I’ll be spending my writing hours today, so I thought I’d share my current process. (Of course, there are so many processes and stages and convolutions that I could never document them all.)

My manuscript is at that stage where it doesn’t need another entire from-scratch draft, but the prose needs some all-around touching up. Here’s how I’m doing that this week:

Step 1: Open original document on half of the screen.

Step 2: Open new document on other half.

Step 3: Re-type the original in new document, taking it a chapter at a time.

Thus far I’ve found this method to work really well for me. I’m following along my story and fixing what needs to be fixed, tuning what needs to be tuned, but in a controlled way that doesn’t feel like I’m re-inventing the wheel. I’d love to hear anyone else’s preferred methods of torture as well.