Thursday, July 31, 2008
Progress on JASPER
This past week was an excellent one for my writing. I wish every week could be like this! I worked several hours each day on the JASPER story and the quality of the work was very gratifying. I managed a level of objectivity which is so helpful yet so hard to achieve, and even harder to maintain. I think it is a sign of growth that I was able to manage it. I hope I can hold onto it.
I browsed back over the past several posts and realized that I've been working on JASPER since late May, when I set aside the JACK & JILL story to give it more time to ferment. Somewhere along the way I lost track of time. On June 12th I described my current place in the JASPER story as the transition from Act II to Act III: it's where I'm still at! Yet so much has happened in the past couple of months. I have written, rewritten and edited so many times I've lost count. I have worked through several completely different versions of this sequence, trying out various possibilities, and worked through them all again. I simply stopped noticing how much work I was doing in the effort to get it right. I don't think I've ever worked this much on any particular sequence before, for any story.
At least I can now happily relate that I have finally tied it down. I have the version that works best, that is truly woven into the fabric of the story in the best way I can imagine. I got to it bit by bit through each of the earlier drafts which didn't work. Always some part of them did work, and by weaving these ideas and insights together, casting and recasting them, eventually I figured out just how to handle these events and move the story forward in a way that really holds one's attention, satisfies the story's needs, and comes across as genuine and authentic for the characters.
Through the rewrites, the length has grown to 60k, which was the original goal for the entire story -- I wanted this to be a shorter novel. This suggests a finished word count closer to 72k.
Although I have now settled on the final version of this current sequence, I haven't finished writing it. There are two more chapters to go before I'm done. The first one is already written but needs substantial shortening. The second is yet to be written. That chapter will bring all the previous chapters together and propel the Reader into Act III. I'm working on them even now.
Best wishes for your own clarity and progress,