I am really, really behind on revising my novel. So behind, in fact, that it wasn’t until yesterday around five in the evening that I sat down to read the thing, and it took me two and a half hours to read the first half. There are a thousand reasons for my neglect but basically, September was a pretty shitty month, between continuous layoffs at work (I live to serve another day), quitting smoking (yes, really. for real this time. I promise. It’s been almost a month), the celiac disease diagnosis, seasonal allergies and the fact that every single thing we own decided to go kaput, all at once, including our coffee pot, our microwave, our dvd player and various car problems. I spent half the month either withdrawing from nicotine or gluten, the other half battling my allergies, several days wondering if I would be laid off, several more days watching people I care deeply for lose their jobs and, oh, hell, it was just a bad month. I didn’t feel well emotionally or physically for most of it.
BUT! It is October. I LOVE October. Any day now a frost is finally going to come our way and kill all this sneeze and sinus inducing mold, and in the meantime, pumkins and scarecrows and popcorn and apple cider and leaves turning colors and long walks and Octoberfest beers (well, can’t have those anymore, but still! Love them!) and then it’s November and December and, well, I love winter. I know a lot of people don’t but I do and October to the end of January is just about my favorite quarter of the year what with the football and the family visits and the winter solstice, and, well, you know. Also, sweaters and boots and scarves and going to my main hair man, Corey, for an autumn tune-up, color wise.
And that is why I didn’t start rereading my novel until last night.
So. I’m only about half way through, as I mentioned, and my opinions could change, but here are my initial thoughts:
1. I am not going to change from first person to third…I think the first person actually works better. This is hugely relieving.
2. I definitely rush too much – there are paragraphs so loaded with information that I wonder how much coffee I must have been drinking when I wrote them. Several places need to be unpacked and explored more deeply.
3. I actually have a lot more scene than I thought I did.
4. I am going to keep the overall structure, which I wasn’t totally sure about – it might not work on the end but I am going to need advice either from my readers or an agent (should I ever get so lucky) to improve it…I actually think it works right now.
5. I need to take parts of it much less seriously…there is a lot of opportunity for humor and I tend to skim over it. I am going to have to remember that each time I approach revising – to leave space for the light-hearted.
6. All in all, I am facing less work and more fun than I anticipated. In keeping some of my original decisions…point of view, structure, etc I don’t have as major an overhaul as I initially thought. My biggest challenge is fleshing it all out – adding details, taking more time with important moments- in general, making the whole thing more human, more real, more sparkly. How unwriterly is that…I actually think what my novel needs is sparkle. Perhaps more appropriately what it needs is the life that comes from really thinking and playing with it as opposed to pounding it out in the early mornings…time to add some late afternoon and early evening energy into the pages.
I have so many other projects I am keening to start – from short essays to a nonfiction book idea to a mystery series, to the prequel to this novel – but I am determined – DETERMINED -to see the process through with each project. The easiest thing in the world is to drift to another writing project without finishing one…the hardest thing, I think, is to see one through to full completion.
I don’t try and ask too many questions on this blog, but I am in a questiony mood today. If you are writing, how’s it going?
PS, my deadline to send this out to my readers is right before Thanksgiving. I don’t know if it’s achievable or not but it’s what I’m aiming for – I need something to hold me accountable!