Sunday, September 23, 2007

What next?: Preparing for the rewrite

I had lunch recently with my friend Tim Parrish, (He has an excellent book of short stories called Red Stick Men from University Press of Mississippi.) His first advice was to take some time off from it before starting the rewrite. No way! I want to make this baby actually say what I intended.

Here’s a little to do list I have for myself over the next week:

  • Umm, figure out how I’m going to support myself. That’s kind of a big one.
  • Catch up with the typing. I have about four chapters I need to type in.
  • Re-read “A Novel of Your Own (II)” in Jane Smiley’s book Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Novel.
  • Re-read all my early notes to see what thematic aspirations I had that have fallen through the cracks.
  • Re-read all the commentary Tim Parrish made on my other creative work when I took his class a few years ago and translate that advice to the current work. Use it as a kind of guiding spirit.
  • Re-read some books that have useful to me in sentence level editing in the past, including Style: Ten Lesson in Clarity in Grace by Joseph Williams.
  • Shape up my outline so I can keep track of the cutting and pasting.
  • Shape up the editing notes I made when I reviewed Part I before moving on to Part II.
  • Draw several items to help me track of continuity errors in the draft: a timeline; a map of the town; a map of the house; a family tree.
  • Continue on a regular dosage of reading poetry. I think that will be very helpful when I start trying to shape it at the stylistic level. I’ve mostly avoided reading poetry during the first draft because I could feel that it did get into my head and influence the style. That was a distraction before and could be helpful now. I recently started reading Winter Numbers by Marilyn Hacker (W.W. Norton) and I’ve been thumbing through my old Norton anthologies from college.

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