October 9th, 2013
I seem to have gotten away from posts about my personal writing process on this blog. I would love for the reason there to be that I am so much more comfortable and used to my own process now, after two books, that there doesn’t seem to be much more to say.
Though it wasn’t a conscious decision, I’m pretty sure not talking about the writing process has to do with my fear that I will never ever finish this book, or if I do it will be unpublishable and no one will ever read it–by talking about it, I’m just making people I’m aware that I’m trying to do something that later, when no book is forthcoming, be an obvious failure.
There, I said it. Whoo.
But whatever–I now know the first part of my fear, at least, isn’t true. I’ve completed a draft. It may be pretty far from a *final* draft, and who knows if it’s publishable, but it’s a complete set of all the stories (I think) the book needs to make sense. Right now, I’m reading quickly through each story for consistency issues (a few characters seem to switch around minor details like age) and obvious big problems. Then, and this is the best part, I put the good-as-I-can-make it story in the “Full Draft” document. So as I go, I get to accumulate word/page count (currently at 30 000/102, and counting). I’m also reading at a pace much faster than I normally do when I’m editing, and reading the stories as they were (I think) meant to go, one after another, as opposed to total immersion for months, followed by not thinking about or touching the story for months or even years. Some of this stuff I’d semi-forgotten.
It’s nice–not that I think the work is necessarily amazing or even good–it’s just nice to feel I did what I set out to do and wrote the book (or at least a version of the book) I meant to write. I’m going on 3 years on this project now, and this is the first time I felt like there was a real milestone.
What happens next? Someone smart and honest who loves me will read it and then gently tell me what needs to happen to make the book accessible to anyone who lives outside of my brain (full disclosure: I am married to this person). And then I will do those things, I hope. And then I’ll see what happens when someone who doesn’t love me reads it.
It’s a long long road, writing books, and at the end of the road might just be a field of lima beans. But along the way you get smarter, and the view is pretty nice.