I've been reading through my manuscript, fixing the parts that make me cringe, changing things that don't quite make sense or no longer serve any purpose, and generally giving everything a good shine. It's going well. This is an important step, and I'm not rushing it, but it's also not taking forever.
Miscellaneous observations from the last couple of weeks:
→ I discovered that in one chapter, there are two separate scenes in which the narrator has a sandwich in from of him and doesn't eat it. This must be that symbolism my high school English teachers were always talking about.
→ It is possible to spend quite some time agonizing over where to put a paragraph break.
→ I thought I knew every twist and turn of my story, but I reached a part where I was puzzled as to what was about to happen. That was cool.
→ Though I'm generally able to write a coherent sentence, I'm amazed by how often that skill appears to have failed me. I continue to find some real doozies of tortured syntax. There are even some awkward sentences that I remember groaning at and fixing before, and yet they remain. I think they were so awful, they grew back.
→ I don't know how anyone else is going to react to this novel, but I'm over here laughing and tearing up and getting chills and feeling sympathy and pity and outrage. So that's something.
→ I'm not done. I will tell you when I'm done.
Good Stuff Out There:
→ Sarah Johnson of the Historical Novel Society compiles statistics on which centuries are the most popular in today's historical fiction: "The 20th century strongly dominates, with the 19th century in second place. The 'Dark Ages' are pretty dark. Historical novels set in the early medieval period aren't very common, at least until you get up to the 11th century (with 1066, and all that)." (Thanks, Foreword Literary!)