Drafting – A milestone, of sorts
I’ve been making good progress on the novel since restarting again, and I’m closing in on a milestone that will close a nearly ten year loop. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. I had about 100 pages when I finished grad school in 1997, and at the time, I felt like the stuff I had was good, but not good enough. I felt like going forward from that point would mean building the rest of the novel on a shaky foundation. At the time, I had a debate with my thesis chair, Pam Painter, about whether I should go forward or go back and write through the material I had to improve it. Her advice was to go forward, that if I tried to go back I’d never get through it. I now see her point.I do this with short stories, too. Write a page or two, then go back and write the first four pages, then go back and write through the next six. After about the fourth pass through, I have the set-up of the story to where I feel it has real legs, and I’m able to write through the end of it in one or two tries. I’m cautiously optimistic, and desperately hoping, this turns out to be the case with the novel as well. I actually double-looped through the beginning of the novel in the intervening years, going back a second time to change Annabel’s job. I’m glad that I did the redraft, especially because I ended up writing a prologue that may well be the strongest part of the book so far, and also because I do now feel confident that the book has legs and is ready to go somewhere. I have two more chapters to redraft, but they are two that I am mostly happy with, so I’m sure they’ll go quickly. I expect to fully close the loop by the end of June at the latest.As far as the length of time it is taking to complete the loop, suffice it to say that these years have not been conducive to focused writing. I’ve been busy getting a family and a career started, which for me were well worth taking the time to do. I’m not a person who–despite my advice to the contrary–has put writing above these other things and carved out time consistently in the past few years. Things do seem to be settling down some, though, to the point where I ought to be able to give the writing more time and attention. I’m hoping it won’t take another nine years to write the rest of the book.
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