Saturday, Jan. 30
Before work: the middle muddle just broke through into sunshine. I figured it out by thinking about what Don Maass wrote about my own book, The Virgin of Small Plains, in his book Fire in Fiction. It’s not the size of the storm–weather or otherwise– it’s the breadth & depth of its impact. It’s funny when you learn from somebody else’s analysis of your own work.
Sunday, Jan. 31
Day off. Sneaked away to do one of my favorite things–see a matinee movie alone, just me and my diet coke and my slightly buttered popcorn. A movie is one of the few things that can get me out of my own head when my mind is deep in a book.
Tuesday, Feb. 2
Before work: Back into it for realz today. It’s going so eerily fast that I’ve promised my editor half of it by the end of March. Everything between now and then will consist of polishing and filling in the first 50,000 words. I don’t dare think how unusual it is for me to be this far along this soon. Mumbling to self: Printed out 150 pp., got my post-its ready to go, starting thinking about all the things I need to check for, already have some ideas about how to tighten a couple of scenes, expand others. I may go hide in a private room in my library to do this intense work. I suspect I’ll emerge with around… 200 pp. which I’ll turn over to my editor while I start rough draft scenes for next 200.
Wednesday, Feb. 3
Before work: At library, itchin’ to edit.
After work: Sixty-two pages later. . .Geez, I wonder who slipped all of those clunky sentences into my manuscript? The same one who left out the conflict in two pivotal scenes, I suspect. If I ever find out who did it, she’s in big trouble!
Thursday, Feb. 4
Before work: There’s a romantic scene I loved writing. Now, I’m distressed to find it’s boring. Lacks dramatic tension. I need to tear it open (ala Maass’ Fire in Fiction) and find the tension. As I write this I suddenly realize exactly where it is. *He* says something that my original version has *her* accepting too easily. She should feel surprised and uneasy.
After work. Well, the first 62 pages are now 59 pages. Not a bad net loss, really. I’m pleased. Didn’t get to the romantic scene today. Oh, boy, they’re in for it tomorrow.
Friday, Feb. 5
Snow, but not enough of it to use as an excuse for anything.
After work: Deleted about a thousand words, substituted about a thousand better ones. So much of writing a novel feels like running on a treadmill moving backward, just trying to stay standing and not fall behind too much. This is not a complaint, believe it, or not, it’s just life in the novel lane. I’ll be on this backward moving treadmill for a while before it reverses direction and shoots me forward again.