Thursday, January 06, 2011

Chiseling Away

It's a new year, and what a better time to get back to one of the main purposes of, which is to trace the creation of a new novel through completion for my fellow writers out there. And so, here's one of what will be many progress reports to come.

Okay, what you see above is a single page from one of the opening chapters of the manuscript, and what I'd like to point out here is the amount of red ink scribbled in both the text and in the margins. Yes, it's been a difficult beginning so far, but I know exactly why, and it has everything to to with the approach with which I took this time around with the actual writing.

I'll tell you this: no more will I run through a draft without looking back. I don't care what Stephen King preached in his book, On Writing. It never worked for me during the first two books, and even the initial thought of working that way in theory never settled well, even as I started this new approach. I do not recommend it. The experiment was a success only in the aspect that I learned what not to do the next time around.

It's quite obvious that these opening chapters, written over four years ago, were done in times of great distraction, and only in completing the first draft did I finally develop a tone for the book, one in which I now have to go back and keep consistent throughout. In essence, it doubles if not triples the amount of work during this next run-through, making me think twice about a previous statement I'd made claiming that the red pen stage was my favorite ... not like this, and not with such admittedly amateur prose.

However, I can report that as of a few days ago, I have chiseled through the marble of the early expository stuff enough now to where I'm starting to see the better written pages. Whew! I knew they were there somewhere. I mean, it hasn't been that long ago that I was writing the thing, and I certainly remember how meticulous I was then. Who knows? Maybe I hit some sort of stride as I writer somewhere in the early sections of this book, finding my style and then going on auto-pilot throughout to the end, with those early pages the only evidence of my stumbling around looking for a voice.

But then again, it could be that I got sober somewhere in there, which made me pick up speed in every aspect of my life, especially the productivity part.

There. At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I'm going to go with that second one. If it weren't for putting that bottle down, and if it wasn't for the support of my Jessica, I would have never even completed a draft.

You know this book is going to be dedicated to you, Jess. Just deal with it.

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