Saturday, April 29, 2006

Rereading, Reflecting, Getting Back to the Writing

I reworked the outline and have spent the past few days rereading the earlier chapters, which I haven't read for several weeks, looking for any issues I set up with the intention of resolving them in the later chapters. I've also taken more time to reflect on the ending and these final chapters.

I'm now turning the corner, entering into the last part of the story. This is now the farthest that I've gotten with a novel and it feels like I'm stepping onto sacred ground or something. I'm thrilled to have gotten this far and look forward to the moment when the complete draft is finished, sometime within May.

Thanks to those who have posted comments recently! I really appreciate them. Your words of support, encouragement and guidance help keep me on track, and help me keep up the motivation to finish what has turned out to be an enormous undertaking.

I want to answer the question posed about my "writing career" but the complete answer it a little long for now. Let me just say that I am not a published writer but an aspiring writer who has been trying for over a decade to write a novel. During that time I've actually worked on several different novels. I've put in a lot of effort, written hundreds of thousands of words, at least a half a million (my current novel will entail at least a quarter million additional words, likely more, before it is finished, including drafts and notes). However, I kept running into a dead end and never managed to finish any of the novels. I figured out the problem was with plotting, and with managing the process of writing. I developed a new approach over the past year and put it into action with my current novel, THE REFLECTING STONE. See my earlier postings for details on how that work has progressed. Suffice it to say I am now succeeding where I failed before, and if I continue as I have been working since October, this novel will be finished by summer and I will start shopping it around then! I'll also set to work immediately on my next novel, and then the next one, and then the next one.... I've got a list of fourteen additional novels to write after I complete THE REFLECTING STONE, novels I've worked on to varying degrees over the past decade plus. One thing is certain: I have found my voice as a writer, and a vision of what my work should embody. I've just been needing to figure out how to finish a novel, and that seems to have finally happened!

I guess I just needed to let it all soak in, and now it's finally making sense! It reminds me of the way I learned to type. When I took a class in typing I was not very good at it (24 wpm max). Over the next few years, by osmosis, typing a page or two here or there, it all sank in, and one day I discovered I was typing 86 wpm! Now I type over 100 wpm effortlessly, with peaks of 115 wpm and higher. Learning to write a novel is far more complicated, so it took longer, and I certainly worked hard at it, reading dozens of books, scores of articles on writing, taking writing courses, participating in writing groups, but now it's all coming together and I'm very pleased with my progress these past seven months.

I wanted to share a sample, a short story, so people can see what my prose looks like, so I came up with the idea of "THE 12-STEP CHALLENGE" -- write a short story in 12 steps using exactly 1200 words! Click on the link in the sidebar to read my story, and learn more about the challenge! I'll consider posting a few excerpts from the novel, but it's hard to choose from the 82,000 pages already written.

The remainder of this weekend I'm finishing up my planning then diving into the writing. I'll tweak Chapter 7 slightly to draw out the main character's goal (it's already there, just want to tie it all together more closely and make it a little more explicit), rewrite Chapter 8 to better dramatize and also take out some of the action I had put in there, then write Chapter 9 to complete that action and bring Act II B to a close. I plan to spend a LOT of time writing this weekend to catch up after my vacation!


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