It’s time once again for a update on "What am I doing?"
Short answer: my novel. Long answer: I’m editing my novel.
Really long answer:
In February, I had what one would call a slump. It wasn’t depression, actually, nor the blues. I lost my cell phone, and then a couple of celebrities who were part of my childhood world died: Whitney Houston and Davey Jones. I had fallen behind on the Month of Letters activity, and each day that passed accused me that I wasn’t using all that fancy paper and stamps I bought. and finally, I found myself deep in revisions in a short story that I had sworn I wouldn’t go back to and feeling glum that I hadn’t learned a thing at Viable Paradise, because here I was, six months later, going back over revisions and repeating the process of rewriting an entire story from scratch, grumpy because I had put Willow aside again, to finish this short story…
I was reworking a pivotal scene in my short story, angry, tired, and just full of grump, when a part of me split off and said, why are you rewriting this?
Because it needs to be rewritten, I said.
Because it needs to be stronger.
You thought it was stronger when you rewrote the last time, did you not?
Well, yeah, but that was then. Look at all these weak sentences and–
What did you learn at Viable Paradise?
What. Did. You. Learn?
Well, I learned how to trust my words and–
Then stop trying to revise every fricken sentence and send it out.
But let me just finish rewriting this ending–
I should at least change this sentence–
But what about–
Trust. Your. Words.
And suddenly, it clicked.
I ran spell check, tidied up the story, and sent it out. That was the middle of March.
Then I turned to Willow, and suddenly, I knew how to fix it. After all these years, I knew what I needed to do. Cut. Cut. Cut. And the more I cut, the clearer the story became , with what needed to stay, what needed to be clarified, and what needed to go. I’m learning to look at my scenes with a critical eye, to see if they’re needed to advance the story. I’m even learning when not to rewrite. If what I needed to convey works well for that scene, I don’t need to rewrite a whole new scenario to make it better. I just tidy it up and move on to the next scene.
As of this writing, I’m now up to Chapter 11. My goal had been to work exclusively on Willow until Worldcon, but I might not be done by then. That’s okay, though. I have a synopsis, and I have a pitch. And finally, I can honestly say that the first three chapters are good enough that, if I need to, I can send them out. I won’t make a decision on that though until after Worldcon.
But I got something, and that feels good.