Sunday, April 20, 2008

Old journal entries--September 13, 2007—Revision troubles

Before I started posting to this blog, I kept some journal entries on paper--logs without the web. Some of those original pieces were never posted, and occasionally I circle back to post some of interest.

“After you and perhaps others have turned critical eyes on your poor, naked piece of fiction and it’s been run through the mill of my Macro Revision Checklist, what comes next? You may have a pile of notes and a marked copy or two of your first draft. Looking over the accumulated evidence of your doubts and your readers’ complaints, you may be tempted to just give up. At this stage it often seems easier to start another short story or another novel than to deal with themes one has turned out to be. A new idea may start glowing in the back of your mind, the proverbial grass that is always greener. Take a deep breath, and know that all fiction and great writers have passed this way before.”

--Jesse Lee Kercheval

I’m in trouble, man. Stuck and discouraged and in just the state that Kercheval describes. On some days I’m preoccupied with ideas for the next novel and the pleasures of sitting on my porch in summer and drafting. Drafting is so much more fun!

And on some days I’m preoccupied with my regular employment. Even though I have the mornings blocked out for working on the novel, I wake up thinking about the errands I need to do for my job, and I end up frittering the mornings away on that stuff.

I keep hoping that I’ll understand the story well enough that I can just set about writing the fixes, much in the mode of when I was drafting. But I can’t seem to get to that point.

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