Saturday, January 7, 2012

Saturday, Novel Progess: Which Draft is it Anyway?

Saturday is as good as any other day to talk about novel progress or the lack thereof. Lucky for me, the progress hasn't been so bad. This week itself, only found me a couple of good novel writing days. But I have added lots of new words, new chapters, and structure.

What the hell is it with structure? It's so important but as hard as finding a great title.

I started this novel, working title, Shades of Blood, back in January of 2010. And the main reason was for the year long novel class I was enrolled in. I needed to have something to go into the class with. Over that year, I wrote nearly 3/4 of the novel. In my head, I wrote the whole thing. Just didn't have the actual words down on paper.

A lot of things happened that year to stall me, to make me rethink where I was going with it.

The first one, I lost my flashdrive and everything I had written. Not just the novel, every little snippet and piece of drivel, every short story up to that point. 8 years worth of work. Gave me a new perspective. And I found a better way to save stuff. But losing the novel progress was a bit of a blessing.

I gathered  back as much as I could from the pieces that had been reviewed in class and kept on going. Found my stride and wrote back to where I had been, with a new focus in mind.

As much as I loved the support of the class, it had it's drawbacks. In that, everytime the class didn't think something was working, or a character was emerging as much more interesting than the original protagonist, I started to believe I had to look at it more closely. This caused me to rewrite so many times, too many, trying it from different points of view to find what worked the best. And it confused me.

I don't blame the class. It's totally me, and my sometimes neurotic personality and deluded need to please everyone. I know I can't please everyone, but that doesn't help the neuroses.

So I let the novel sit, nearly all of last year. Looked at it periodically, added a bit here and there, but couldn't get into that ever so important groove. I stewed. I considered. I talked with unbiased writers and friends.

And then in November really started looking at it again. But December I really found focus. And started working on it. Hard.

The one thing that was holding me back...a story line that needed to be there, but I couldn't figure out how to do it so it didn't take over the story. It was all backstory and in a forward moving story, it stalled the progress.

I considered a series of letters, scattered throughout. I considered sections for each character. I considered way too damn much and wrote too damn little.

And finally, I found it. As overdone as it may be, it's the only way I comfortably can see to get that story line in there, in a way that doesn't distract from the rest of the story.

Excerpts of journal entries. Thank you, Dean Koontz.

And my main character has changed, thanks to the feedback of the class, but the story will work.

So I have written a good chunk of journal entries. Inserted some of them into the main manuscript and there we go. A novel in progress.

Just to reiterate. This novel is mostly done. The stuff I am working on has been in the story for over a year, but is being rewritten yet again. And will come out far better in the end. The only thing I really have to do, as time goes on, push through to the end.

It's so close I can taste it. And I am frustrated to be rewriting, but no matter what order it's done in, it would have to be rewritten anyway. So which draft am I really on?

I don't know. Feels about the fifth or more. But since I haven't actually completed to the end, even though I know the end, it's really only the first.

Until next Saturday...

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