April 26, 2013

Beyond The End

Since I announced that I reached the end of my novel rewrite, people have been curious about why I'm not in fact finished revising. I know there's a danger I could tinker forever in the search for perfection, but I promise that's not what I'm doing. (Right now. That might come later.)

For the past two years, I always kept myself moving in a forward direction, partly to avoid that trap of endless tweaking. As a result, I would sometimes find that I needed to do something such as establish three chapters back that the characters had a previous discussion about the topic at hand. I'd make a note of it and keep going. So now it's time for me to write in all those little changes specified in my careful notes.

The three-stories-in-one nature of my novel also introduced some issues that I need to deal with. For various reasons, I started revising with the story that occurs chronologically last and finished with the one that happens first. That meant that when I deviated from my outline, I sometimes ended up with characters referring to past events that I altered when writing about that part of the past. For example, in the storyline I just finished, which is the earliest one, I gave the narrator's wife a whole subplot that I hadn't even thought of until I started working on that story. The subplot makes the whole story far richer (I can't even understand how I didn't think of it sooner), but it does mean I have to adjust all the places where the next narrator talks about this aspect of his childhood so that it makes sense with the new reality.

As I've been rereading what I've written over these past two years, I'm mostly pretty happy, which is a relief, but I am finding occasional sentences that are painfully convoluted and overcrowded with information. I'm looking forward to fixing all those before any other human being has to be subjected to them.

There's other stuff to do which is vaguer and therefore less easy to explain, and I honestly can't state how long it's going to take to make these changes. But I promise I will stop myself short of perfectionism and work on getting a draft that I can call finished as soon as possible.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ Robert Brockway offers 5 Tips for Punching Writer's Block in the Face: "Writer's block comes from the panic of potentiality: There's too much you can do, so you do nothing. Push that thought out of your head and put something down on paper that you know, as a fact, is going to be garbage." (Thanks, Lauren!)


Anonymous said...

I can relate & mine is non-fiction!

Suzy Paluzzi

Lisa Eckstein said...

Suzy, good luck with your own revising and tweaking!

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