Friday, July 10, 2009

Really tough week, but ending on a high note

It's hard to explain the uncertainty and inelegant process of this week. Suffice it to say that there was a lot of gnashing of teeth and rending of cloth.

I had the hardest time figuring out what was wrong with the two chapters I was working on (9 and 11) and how to fix them. Without going in to it too much, in the case of Ch. 11, one question was how much I could wander away from my main character for the sake of subplot. I felt I was too far afield and struggled to find a solution that brought us back to him but also snuck in what was important about the subplot. I spent two days writing a whole new episode and trying to work over the seams between it and the existing material, and then after my wife read that and I had a lot of defensive reaction to her reaction, I decided I had to start over yet again.

Today I wrote yet another new episode and worked that in, but instead of trying to tack back toward my main character I came to the view that it would be OK to digress. My wife persuaded me that the thematic resonances with the main plot were so strong that the reader isn't feeling like they are getting sidetracked. It reads like a complication, not a distraction in her generous reading.

So my new material written today addressed another problem in the chapter--too much flashback, not enough present action--but I felt free to follow the secondary character out of frame as he leaves the main character. Here's hoping my wife or some other reader thinks that works.

Meanwhile, all kinds of problems in Ch. 9, which is a complementary piece to 11 thematically, and I've been gnawing at those like a rat.

I think I'm done with these, ultimately one day behind schedule. Next is Ch. 12, the last chapter of Part I of the book, approximately the 2/3 mark in the original plan. (57% mark now, but that will creep up as Part II is reduced by the edits still to come.)

Page counts--I've lost track of what the last tally was, but with all the cutting and adding and cutting and adding in Ch. 9 and 11, I think I reduced the two of them by 3 pp. total. Right now the total is minus 50 pp. through Ch. 11, and I stand at 343 pp. in typescript.

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