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Monday, July 21, 2008

Waking the Fire

This has been a busy summer. Family business has occupied most of my time since early May. Writing days have been rare and discontinuous, requiring constant restarts, which is just deadly for my development style. It didn't help that I was caught in the deadly middle of the book, the oft-mentioned "it's all crap" stage.

I was beginning to panic. Deadlines don't move, and I'm determined to get this book in on time. I feel as if I used up all my slacker chits on the Lighthouse books - two books instead of one, five months late with the first, a month late with the second. [Yes, Yes, many authors are constantly late, but I'm a good girl, you see.]

I've mentioned some things I've done to restart - rereading, rewriting, rethinking. But last Friday when I sat down to work, I decided I HAD to get moving. I was going to work Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, all in a row. The blessed spouse took care of several things that would have taken me away - he is the most supportive and generous of companions. And so what did I do?

I had to get reacquainted with the book - approximately 225 pages at present.

#1 - I started again at the beginning. Re-re-worked the new opening to include a couple of possible character "expansions" for my narrator Portier, who is actually the least fleshed out of my three agentes confide. One of the ideas is going to work. The other might be too much of a secret in a story where everyone has secrets. We'll see. I just laid the groundwork that can be easily removed later.

#2 - Spent a whole day with my "Conspiracy File". The biggest problem with a long layoff is losing the plethora of detail and "continuity information" in my head. Usually I maintain this store of info throughout the development of a book. But never have I had this kind of interruption [all good stuff, by the way, except for a few weeks where my mom was sick - thanks to those who were worried!]

What I did with the conspiracy file was to methodically go through my current list of clues, the current evidence against each suspect, the current progress in the revelation of the world's magic, and the current developments in the arc of one particular character of central importance. As I went through these things, I found myself referring more and more to the manuscript. Rewriting bits. Adding in a few bits that I had put in my conspiracy file, but had never gotten into the actual text.

#3 - Picked up a stack of critiqued pages from my writers group. I had not sat down to incorporate [or not] my critiquers' comments in the spring when I was trying very hard to forge ahead in the story to lay down as much as I could before the life disruption. But I felt this was the time, because it took me back into these earlier chapters while looking through alternate eyes. This is the great value of critique partners - forcing yourself to look at your writing through different eyes.

By this morning, I had gotten through all the comments and was sitting in the middle of Chapter 14 - the last full chapter I wrote. And all of a sudden, I found myself jotting down a list of "things that need to happen next" and writing an entirely new paragraph that opens the next scene. My head is full. My fingers are poised. I am anxious to find out what happens next. Hooray!!!


Sarah said...

So nice to read this sparkling post ^__^ It makes me want to write myself.
I haven't been writing since February - family stuff as well... and not happy (such a relife to read that yours was!), so while I was reading I kept thinking: I should do this as well!
Have a grand time writing! I'll try to follow your example.

Kas said...

Finding a way back in is awesome. Glad to hear the draft is moving along again. Family obligations and events certainly take time.

You inspire me to get back to work, especially now that I've more or less settled in after moving.


sex scenes at starbucks said...

I find summer is my toughest time to write. I like to draft in summer because revisions just don't hold my interest against fun family stuff and time in the sun. And what am I doing all this summer? Revising! It's for a good cause, but I'm dragging...

I envy you your WIP. Hope to get back to mine soon.