Monday, November 26, 2007

Land of the lost

Feeling discouraged, though I know intellectually that what I'm doing counts as progress.

Worked about two hours today. I didn't really add much or fix much but just kind of wandered around thinking about the problems in this chapter. This is after several days off so I'm especially feeling like the work is progressing too slowly. Thanksgiving was last week and before that on Wednesday I had one of the rare days that come sometimes where I sit down to work and just can't get my head in the game and the day is wasted.

Still feeling somewhat like that but I persevered today mostly. The issue is that this chapter is just starting out a lot less developed and needs some hard thinking before I can make good progress. I've known it since I first wrote it--that it's among the weakest points in my first draft--and just haven't faced up to it. It has a key scene in it and nothing else in it is really key. It's all just scenario--color and detail that I thought would be interesting when I was drafting it and that don't really develop the characters at all or the plot much.

Today I just plain cut out some of the stuff--the biggest cuts I've made yet, but not really enough to solve the chapter's problems. I tweaked some scenes to steer them closer to a narrative structure that's starting to come to me. But overall I have a sense that I don't know what the chapter is for, what it's doing and how I should progress. I figure it out a little bit more each day, and I know that's important and part of what needs to happen, but the journey is too long and uncertain for my tastes.

And without pleasure. I guess that's what I'm really feeling. Work without pleasure. And that reminds me of the cycles and phases of the first draft--how in each chapter I would have a few days working in the doldrums and then a breakthrough when I figured what I was doing and the book seemed brilliant and I couldn't wait to get to the next morning so I could dash off the rest of the book. I had that feeling a couple days between the rewrite of Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. I should have faith it will come again after some more work (more than I want) on this chapter.

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