Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Slow careful work

Continued working on Chapter 1 today. Probably about 1:45. I've stopped tracking the word count. I know that the whole chapter is 39 full pages now and when I opened the document a couple weeks ago it was . . . 18 pages!?!? Damn. Not that another 19 pages is so much to write in two plus weeks of work, but it all just got add a little at a time without really being deliberate or aggressive about it.

Actually figure about three pages of that was cut and paste from another section of the book that I decided worked here. But still, it's in the neighborhood of doubling the chapter without really adding any episodes, just putting a lot of meat on the episodes that are there.

Today's work was a good example of what's typically happening--going through an episode with some awareness of how it should function in the book and how it's failing to do that and as I read it line by line looking for ways to bring more detail and meaning and life to it. I end up layering on more and more metaphor, more exposition, more backstory, more internal monologue especially.

In the end, most of those layers will need to get shucked off. Presumably adding them all now is necessary in order to discover what I'm really trying to do in each of these scenes. The honest truth is there is a whole lot of really basic stuff about my story that I'm still trying to figure out.

I'm as close as ever though. I ended today but just writing the one sentence summary of the book--the jacket copy--as best I could. And as I did that, it illuminated some of the dark corners of Chapter 1 that don't connect to that summary. Either they don't yet because I still haven't developed them or they are stuff that will have to get cut out.

As a result, I have a clear plan for my work tomorrow, which is always a good strategy for ending the day. My only regret is how long it is taking.

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