Well, now. THIS is what a week is supposed to be like. I finally kicked the cold/allergy/alien infection or whatever it was that kept me down for the last couple of weeks and got back to work. Since then work has been divided into two distinct categories: revision and maybe.
The revision is pretty straight forward, though very slow going. After I finished the second draft of Prodigal back in May, I printed out a copy, put it in a three-ring binder and let it rest for a couple of months. This week I pulled it off the shelf and began reading it just as I would any other book, but with a pen in hand. I covered about half the book, spending quite a bit of time making notes as vague as “put more stuff here” and as specific as changing language and rewriting entire pages. I think I’ll call this the hard copy phase of my revision process.
I realize it would be way more efficient to pull up the document and do all this revising on the computer, but I seem to work better off a hard copy. For one thing, it helps me turn on editor brain. I’ve trained myself to have writer brain in front of a blank page on the computer screen and I don’t want to confuse the two. Also, I find it’s better to let my proposed revisions marinate before making them permanent. I’ve learned this one the hard way, but that’s another story for another time.
The other thing I’ve been dealing with is the approach of NaNoWriMo. I’m doing it for the third year and possibly against my better judgment. Unfortunately, I’ve been wrestling with which idea to work on in the allotted month. There are two contenders: both contemporary YA pieces. One has been floating around in my head for about a year now and exists in snippets of freewriting here and there in my notebooks. The other appeared within the last few months and has no plot to speak of and several significant characters are missing names. I’m not even sure of what it’s about, though I am exploring that in my morning pages.
Anyway, all this thinking means that when wasn’t revising this week, was in the land of maybe. The land of maybe (apologies to Russell T. Davies) is that happy place where the ideas are flowing, but have not yet wilted by having to commit them to paper. It’s a lovely place to be because it means you can zone out in front of the back window with an apple slice at your lips until your husband comes along and asks what exactly you’ve been doing, staring into space for the last ten minutes, and then you get to say, “writing.” In the land of maybe, anything is possible. Your hero can be a magician or a ninja. Or both! Your characters are alive and real and not marred by the inconsistencies between chapter 2 and 12. And you are the Best Writer Ever. As I said, great place to be, but you can’t live there and I’ve only got another week before I have to start making some very real decisions, starting with which idea to work on.
So that’s what a semi-productive week looks like around here. Now for the obligatory media consumption:
The Astonishing X-Men Omnibus by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday
X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont
(Yeah, there’s a theme. When I get hooked on a topic, I get hooked bad. Playing in a different genre sandbox than what I’m currently writing in is also a little helpful.)