November 22, 2013

Nearly There

Since my last revision update two weeks ago, progress continues apace. There have been no more repetitive conversations about ice cream, though I did find that frequently, my characters experience intense situations as a "frozen moment", "some frozen span of time", or a "frozen silence". Which isn't too far from frozen dairy confections.

In this revision pass, I've noticed a theme to the different issues that needed fixing at the beginning, middle, and end of the story. (This is separate from my previous tripartite classification of easy, medium, and hard problems.) For the beginning chapters, I had a lot of notes about explanations and character traits that I had to better establish by adding details and bits of backstory. The middle of the novel mostly required shortening, and that's not too surprising, given that "sagging middle" is a common manuscript diagnosis. Now I'm deep into the final section, and for these end chapters, the common issue is that certain things don't tie up as plausibly or satisfyingly as I hoped. I would venture to guess that a great many revisions could be structured around these same types of beginning, middle, and end fixes.

I mentioned on Twitter that since I'm going to end November with significantly fewer words than I started, it's like I'm doing a reverse NaNoWriMo. My friend Lilly says this means I've leveled up, and I love that way of looking at it. However, I have also spent the month often feeling envious of my NaNoing buddies as they experience the excitement and thrilling terror that comes with writing a new story. I'm looking forward to the time when I'll be able to work on something other than this novel and embrace the messiness of a first draft again. But in the meantime, to everyone doing NaNo: Good luck on the final week, and I salute you!

Good Stuff Out There:

→ At Beyond the Margins, Julie Wu looks at What Writing the Second Novel Is Really Like: "A couple of writers compare writing novel two to having amnesia--'a rare form...where you remember everything except how to do your job,' says Julie Kilber. Amy Nathan describes it as 'seeing someone you are sure you know well, but not remembering her name, where you met her, or what your connection is to her. And then, trying to figure out how to say hello without revealing any of that to anyone.'"

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