Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fear and intention

I did not get a good start today or ultimately have a very satisfying session, but I guess I should take pride in the fact that I have the discipline to power through it anyway.

I picked another chapter that I presumed and hoped doesn't need a lot of development work so I could concentrate on line editing. (Wrong again.) When I read the first line, I had a very strong sense of being really sick and tired of this book. I allowed myself a few minutes to daydream about giving up on it and starting another book. Yikes.

Back from the brink, though. I put in about an hour of line editing until I got to a point where I couldn't ignore any more that this chapter is a mess structurally. Lots of starting and stopping, no momentum, no sense of urgency. Places where the narrative acts as of something important has transpired but doesn't show it. And this is about 3/4 of the way through the book. The foot should start pushing on the gas pedal a little more by this time.

I didn't tackle trying to fix all that, but I made some notes on possibilities to consider and to get me started fresh tomorrow. The notes had to do with what Susan Bell in The Artful Edit calls intention--"the goal you set yourself for a single aspect of your work . . . It is your mind's highway that runs clear and wide from the first to the last page."

Very basically, I need to figure out what the intention of this chapter is. (I probably have to do the same with most other chapters. And for the book as a whole.) With that more clearly held in mind, I hope to be able to trim and tighten, which should resolve the stuff that was getting me discouraged about this chapter.

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