Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Getting There

It's a weird thing.

I've been banging away at this second draft of my novel for what feels like forever. I knew my first draft was a complete mess (as it should be), that I didn't know my characters well enough yet, there wasn't enough tension, and all the motivations didn't work well.

And, to me, knowing that is half the battle. I know where the problems are, and fixing them, while keeping the same skeleton, can be a problem. What makes these characters--which were originally just chess pieces--do what they do? What is coming off as false in the novel? What rings hollow?

And this book, well, this book has been a bitch.

Characters didn't feel realistic. Motivations felt like they'd been done before and some were way to complicated. In my head, the set-up was really simple. On paper, it was like I vomited ideas.

And, so, I started to bang away at the revisions. I started cutting, like I was pulling trees out at their roots. Characters became different, but better. More real.

But it felt mucky. I threw every trick in the book at the novel. Combining characters, cutting whole characters, eliminating ideas, outlining my revisions. But each day I tried to get closer to the ending. It's been hard. Blood from a stone hard.

But today I looked up and I was... at the biggest plot twist in the book. I was at the start of the 3rd act. I was... getting there.

And that felt really good.

I'm not done yet. Not yet.

But I'm getting there.


Ben said...

I know that destructive feeling, Dave. I can only be encouraged that it only seems to be a normal phase in the process.

Steve Weddle said...

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

Thomas Pluck said...

Like the mouse in the bucket of cream... keep kicking until it churns to butter and climb out.
Just don't eat that butter, it has mouse turds in it.

I know how you feel. I'm on draft two (and there will be a third) and it's less of a struggle now that I know the characters, but making them collide in just the right ways takes a lot of brainwork...

Joelle Charbonneau said...

I love cutting stuff. It always makes me feel self-righteous - like I'm smart enough not to be married to something just because I wrote it. (Then I worry I cut too much - but that's a different problem.)

I agree with Steve. Just keep swimming!